If you need to consult with an attorney or would like more information on firing, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral & Information Service.
Pennsylvania is an “at-will” employment state. This means that, as a general rule, a person who is fired from his/her job will only be able to successfully sue their former employer in very limited circumstances. These limited circumstances would include situations where:
- an individual is fired in violation of a specific employment contract;
- an individual is fired for a reason which the law finds to be against "public policy." Examples of this would include being fired because you missed work as a result of jury duty, because you filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits or because you refused to commit a crime, or be part of criminal activity. Such circumstances are relatively rare; and/or
- an individual is fired for reasons that violate a federal, state, or local law. There are separate laws protecting employees from being discharged where race, age, sex, religion, national origin, disability/handicap form a part of the reason for the employer's action. Other laws make it unlawful to fire a worker because he or she has engaged in union activity, made complaints to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), or refused to take a lie detector test. Pursuing rights under any of these laws would require specific evidence of the reason which is being alleged. Time limits for filing such claims can be as short as six months and as long as several years, and an employee who believes he/she may have such a claim should promptly consult with an attorney knowledgeable in this area.
Information is current as of 2/2019.