Can My Boss Fire Me Because She Doesn’t Like Me?
What Pennsylvania law says about why you can and can’t be fired
You get the feeling that your new supervisor doesn’t like you. Her body language and her tone of voice change when she speaks to you … for some reason she just seems nicer to everyone else.
Maybe you can just “suck it up” and do your job anyway. But you can’t help but wonder if this personality conflict could jeopardize your job. And if so, would it be legal for the boss to fire you simply because she doesn’t like you?
Let’s take a look at what Pennsylvania says about this.
Does Unlikeable Equal Unemployed?
The first thing you should know is that Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state.
What that means is that employers generally have the right to terminate workers at any time, for any reason. Yes, even for no reason at all.
On the flipside, workers are legally allowed to resign at any time, with or without notice, for any reason or for no reason.
While there are some exceptions to at-will employment, most Pennsylvania workers are subject to at-will employment. (Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, civil service workers, or people working under specific employment contracts may generally be excepted from at-will employment.)
Discrimination in Disguise
Now let’s revisit the original question: Can you legally be fired because your boss doesn’t like you?
If it’s a matter of a personality conflict, then generally yes, you could be legally terminated.
However, if you suspect your boss doesn’t like you because of your race, age, religion, or another similar reason, then we’ve moved into a different territory.
Federal laws against discrimination protect employees from being fired for reasons related to certain protected characteristics. In addition to the above, that can include gender, national origin, or disability.
Employees are also protected from being retaliated against after requesting family or medical leave, filing a workers’ compensation claim, or complaining about unpaid wages or unlawful conduct.
So the question to ask is this: WHY doesn’t your boss like you? If you can trace it back to one of the reasons we’ve just outlined, at-will employment may not be enough of a justification.
What You Can Do
If you’ve suspect that you’ve been unlawfully terminated, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (267) 273-1054 for a free consultation.