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Elements necessary to pursue wrongful termination lawsuit against employer

Pittsburgh, PA |

I have a question about what my options are on filing a case against a company that i feel has given me a total wrongful termination. I was fired from a company that I have been with for over 3 years now, and have seen people passed from dept to dept for gross policy violations, while when I walked in, I went from a cart collecter to cashier and then to front end manager in 2 years. There is someone in my postion who has had 4 work violations within a 2 week period and she was given her "final final". I was given 1 violation and was told they were seriously debating letting me go. that was back in aug. in sept i was told that i needed to improve my performance. that was sept 7th. on dec 16th i was asked up to the offfice and told i was on a performance obvservation and i was being fired for lack of improvement. i was never told i was on a performance observation or given any action plan at all. even if i was on one, i should have recieved a weekly action plan. i actually did an experiment and did the same thing the other front end manager did all day, and not to my suprise, i got in trouble for everything she does when i did it. but shes never been even talked about it. i want to mention that im the only male in the postion and gay. i don't know if that has anything to do with anything but, i wouldn't be suprised. a side note that in a case of a pip(performance observation) if saw unfit, i should have been let go within the 90 days, not a week and a half after. any advise, anything that can help me?

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Attorney answers 2


Pennsylvania is an at will state. That means that unless you have an express employment contract (or are part of a collective bargaining unit), you can be terminated at any time for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. Unless the termination is in violation of public policy (which generally means an enactment of the Pennsylvania legislature or U.S. Congress) , there is no cause of action.

If you believe you have been treated differently than others because of a protected classification (i.e. your race, age, sex, disability, etc.), then you may have a claim of employment discrimination. Gender affinity is only protected in some municipalities (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, etc.) but not under state or federal law.

Otherwise, the circumstances you describe do not appear to outline a viable claim for 'wrongful termination' in Pennsylvania.

Personality conflicts such as what you appear to describe, are not actionable at law.


As an at will employee you may be fired for a reason, no good reason or no reason at all other than illegal discrimination. Discrimination against you based on age, gender, race, religious beliefs etc.... may give rise to a different answer. If you do not have an employment contract or union to represent you, your recourse is limited.

You might find my Legal Guide helpful "Workplace Discrimination: A Basis for Wrongful Termination Claims"

You might find my Legal Guide helpful " What Do I Tell My Lawyer"

If you have a discrimination theory about retaliatory discharge or hostile workplace conditions you'll need a lawyer.

Check with a lawyer in your locale to discuss more of the details.

Good luck to you.

God bless.

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