Wrongful Termination & Retaliation

10 05, 2018

Can You Be Fired “At-Will” in Pennsylvania?

By | 2018-05-10T18:21:49+00:00 May 10th, 2018|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

In most states, including Pennsylvania, employment is “at-will.” In general, an employer can fire an employee from his or her job at any time and for any reason without recourse by the employee. On the other end of the relationship, an employee can also quit his or her job at any time for any reason without recourse by the employer. There are a few important exceptions to the at-will doctrine. An employer cannot fire an employee for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. Employees are protected from such actions by employment discrimination statutes and other laws. Also, an employer cannot fire an employee if doing so violates the terms of an employment contract or other contract that sets the terms of the employment relationship. An employment contract can alter the at-will doctrine An employer and employee may enter into a contract that provides conditions of employment that supersede the at-will doctrine. For example, an employment contract can provide that the employee may only be fired for cause or specify the duration of employment. Another example of a contract that alters the at-will doctrine is a collective bargaining agreement that covers union employees and spells out the specific circumstances under which an employee [...]

19 04, 2018

Can You Be Fired For Talking About Your Job On Social Media?

By | 2018-04-24T16:35:39+00:00 April 19th, 2018|National Labor Relations Act Claims, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

Federal Law Protects Employees’ Right to Communicate The right of employees to communicate with other employees is protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA protects an employee’s right to engage in union activity or to join with one or more co-workers to attempt to improve working conditions. The law provides the right to discuss work issues and share information about pay, benefits, and working conditions with co-workers or with a union. The NLRA governs relationships between labor unions and employers and prohibits employers from interfering with labor organization rights. The NLRA also protects individual employees, whether or not those employees belong to a union. For example, if you believe that you aren’t being paid the same as other employees who are performing similar work, the NLRA provides the right to speak to your coworkers to determine if you have a valid complaint. The right of an employee to communicate with other employees to improve the terms and conditions of their employment is known as “protected concerted activity.” In general, protected concerted activity requires two or more employees working together to improve working conditions, pay, benefits, or other work-related issues. A single employee may engage in protected concerted [...]

3 04, 2018

Have You Been Retaliated Against For Asserting Your Rights At Work?

By | 2018-04-03T14:58:46+00:00 April 3rd, 2018|Workplace Discrimination, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

What is Retaliation? Retaliation takes place when an employee engages in "protected activity" and his or her employer takes “adverse action” against the employee because of that activity. An employee engages in protected activity when he or she objects to, or opposes, unlawful conduct such as employment discrimination. For example, if an employee complains that an employer denied a promotion based on the employee’s disability, that constitutes protected activity. If the employer transfers the employee to a less desirable job as a result of the complaint, that would constitute an adverse action and therefore, retaliation. Adverse actions include denial of promotion, failure to hire, denial or reduction of job benefits, demotion, providing lower performance evaluations, job transfers, changing schedules, and suspension or termination of employment. Verbal or physical abuse can also be adverse actions, as well as threats designed to deter participation in protected activity, such as threatening to report immigration status or to contact the police. Retaliation means any adverse action taken by an employer that might “deter a reasonable person from engaging in protected activity.” An employer is not only prohibited from taking action against the individual who complains about unlawful conduct or files a discrimination complaint. The [...]

23 02, 2018

Third Circuit Allows Subgroup Disparate-Impact Age Discrimination Claims

By | 2018-02-23T13:37:54+00:00 February 23rd, 2018|Workplace Discrimination, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

Is 50 the new 40 in age discrimination disparate-impact claims? It's been a little more than a year since the Third Circuit decided Karlo v. Pittsburgh Glass Works. In Karlo, a subgroup of employees age 50 or older alleged age discrimination in favor of younger employees who were age 40 or older – and thus also within the class of employees protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). What is a subgroup disparate-impact claim? In addition to prohibiting intentional discrimination against older workers ("disparate treatment"), the ADEA prohibits facially neutral practices that harm older workers more than younger workers ("disparate-impact"), unless the employer can show that the practice is based on “reasonable factors other than age.” A so-called “subgroup disparate-impact” claim alleges age discrimination against older workers, even though the majority of workers retained after a layoff are over 40. In other words, a “subgroup” of employees over the age of 50, within the protected class of workers over the age of 40, may claim that a reduction-in-force disproportionately impacted them due to their age. Why is the Karlo case important? In deciding Karlo, the Third Circuit allowed subgroup disparate-impact claims to proceed in the states under its [...]

2 06, 2017

How Employers May Attempt to Disguise Unlawful Retaliation

By | 2017-06-02T21:21:11+00:00 June 2nd, 2017|Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

Employers who try to “get back” at workers who complain may be violating the law Many workers don’t complain about potentially unlawful activity at work for one simple reason: they’re afraid of what will happen next. Will they get fired? Demoted? Will the boss start breathing down their necks? Will their coworkers alienate them? While these are all valid fears, it’s important to know that some kinds of retaliation are unlawful under federal law. That means there’s no need to suffer in silence, or to put up with dangerous or degrading behavior. If you’ve been scared to speak up about an upsetting and potentially unlawful situation at work, or if you already complained and are now experiencing negative consequences as a result, it’s important to know how the law addresses retaliation. What Does the Law Say About Retaliation? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is unlawful for employers to retaliate or “punish” employees or job applicants who have asserted their rights to be free from discrimination and harassment. Asserting your rights is considered a “protected activity.” After you have participated in a protected activity, federal law then generally offers protection from retaliation. You may assert your rights [...]

27 01, 2017

Can You be Fired for Backing a Coworkers’ Discrimination or Harassment Claim?

By | 2017-07-29T08:41:58+00:00 January 27th, 2017|Uncategorized, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

What all employees need to know about retaliation Many people are afraid to complain about potentially unlawful treatment for fear of losing their jobs. That same impulse may also keep people from speaking up on behalf of their coworkers. Under federal law, it’s generally unlawful for a company to retaliate against employees who oppose illegal activity. However, that’s not always enough to deter supervisors from trying to “get back” at employees who draw attention to problems. Let’s take a look at what all workers should know about unlawful retaliation. What is Retaliation? In simple terms, employers are generally prohibited from punishing job applicants or employees for asserting their rights under federal equal opportunity laws. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employees are generally protected from retaliation after: filing or participating in a discrimination charge, complaint, investigation, or lawsuit communicating with a supervisor or manager about employment discrimination, including harassment answering questions during an investigation of alleged harassment refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination resisting sexual advances, or intervening to protect others requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice asking managers or co-workers about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages. Different Forms [...]

22 12, 2016

Manager Forced Woman to Shake Hands with Harasser, Then Fired Her

By | 2017-07-29T08:41:58+00:00 December 22nd, 2016|Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

Woman wins $300K in retaliation lawsuit If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment at work, chances are that you deliberated for a while before you reported it. If so, you’re not alone. Many people worry that their jobs may be on the line, or that no one will believe them. Some people even fear that they’ll be accused of inciting the harassing behavior. While these things can and do happen sometimes, it’s important to realize that the law offers protection from retaliation after you’ve made a complaint about inappropriate behavior on the job. Let’s take a look at a recent case, in which a female worker fought back after being fired over her sexual harassment complaint. Late Night Propositions Over several years, Maria Gracia worked her way up through the ranks to assembly line supervisor at Sigmatron International, Inc. Gracia reported to Patrick Silverman. Things were peaceful and professional between Gracia and Silverman for several years. But then something changed. According to Gracia, Silverman began emailing her pornographic images. One of the images allegedly contained a superimposed photo of Gracia’s sister’s face. Even though the emails were upsetting to her, Gracia says that she was afraid to file a [...]

17 11, 2016

How Do I Sue My Employer? What Employees Need to Know About the Legal Process

By | 2017-07-29T08:41:58+00:00 November 17th, 2016|Americans with Disabilities Act Claims, Family and Medical Leave Act Claims, Hostile Work Environment, Pregnancy Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages, Workplace Discrimination, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

What you need to do and when Filing a lawsuit against your employer can be a daunting process, especially if you’ve never had to navigate the legal system before. If you’re like a lot of people, you’re probably going to spend some time doing Internet research before you pick up the phone to call an attorney. While being informed is a great impulse, it’s also important to realize that the sooner you speak to an attorney, the more likely your complaint is going to come out to a successful conclusion. You may thinking, “Well, sure … you’re attorneys so of course you’re going to say that.” But the truth of the matter is that if you’re even considering filing a lawsuit against your employer, everything you say and do from that moment on can potentially be included in the suit. Creating a consistent and legally sound narrative from the beginning can be a significant advantage when facing off against an employer – especially if that employer has deep pockets. Let’s talk about what steps you need to take if you believe that you’ve been subjected to unlawful behavior or practices.  While it’s important to acknowledge that every situation is unique, [...]

11 10, 2016

Boss Caught Groping Underage Staffer on Surveillance Camera

By | 2017-07-29T08:41:59+00:00 October 11th, 2016|Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

Restaurant manager had a long history of harassing young, pretty servers Imagine if your boss directed you to only hire women who are “screwable.” According to a recent lawsuit, that’s the order supervisors at one Texas Roadhouse restaurant were allegedly given. The restaurant manager’s affinity for young pretty servers was an open secret, according to a group of female servers who recently sued the company. They claim that women who complained about his lewd behavior suffered retaliation. However, in the end, the women achieved justice. Let’s take a look at what happened here and then discuss what you need to know about unlawful retaliation. Power Play In his position as a managing partner at an Ohio Texas Roadhouse, Eric Price enjoyed an impressive title and a comfortable salary. He also enjoyed the power that came with his position. Former employees of the restaurant claim that Price frequently propositioned young female servers. As they tell it, Price would imply that the women would lose their jobs if they didn’t comply with his requests. According to the lawsuit, Price directed supervisors to evaluate job candidates on whether or not they were “screwable” enough for Price to take back to his apartment. Several [...]

15 09, 2016

Woman Complained About Unequal Pay, so Company Sued Her

By | 2016-09-15T19:18:50+00:00 September 15th, 2016|Wrongful Termination & Retaliation|0 Comments

What employees need to know about unlawful retaliation It’s unfortunate but it’s true: Many employees simply put up with unlawful behavior from their employers out of fear. They’re afraid that if they complain they’ll be fired or their managers will make their lives miserable. That’s why it’s important to know that federal law provides protection from retaliation. Essentially, that means that if you make a complaint and wind up with the proverbial target on your back afterwards, you may have legal recourse. One recent case illustrates how retaliation can play out and what workers can do if it happens to them. Called Out Unequal Pay Tera Lopez was a project manager at Hobson Bearing International. She suspected that women were not being paid equally with men who were doing the same work, so she complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC investigated and then Lopez filed a lawsuit against the company. Not long after that, the company filed a counter-suit against Lopez. The charge: malicious prosecution. Lopez went back to the EEOC. This time, the agency sued Hobson on her behalf, claiming that the company retaliated against her because of her complaint. The company lost. In its [...]