Employment At Will Defined

May 15, 2007

Pennsylvania is a strong at will employment  state, but what does that really mean? Employment at will is only a contract term. It creates a rebuttable presumption that all employment contracts can be terminated by the employer or the employee at any time, for any reason. However, the "reason" cannot violate discrimination laws, government regulations, or public policy. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has been very conservative in recognizing public policy exceptions to the at will employment presumption limiting them to the following circumstances:

  • Supervisor fired for refusing to dissuade employee from seeking W/C benefits
  • Employee fired for filing a worker’s compensation claim
  • Employee fired for filing unemployment claim
  • Employee fired for refusing to take polygraph test.

Don’t think that you don’t need a "reason" to terminate an employee in Pennsylvania.  And make sure its not an illegal one.


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