Wrongful termination without warning/possible defamation and intimidation in workplace
The alleged reason for termination is for a violation of a company policy, however no warning of termination was given and nothing in writing stating the reason for termination.
There was an alleged "investigation" by Asset Protection in our company via video surveillance, in which myself and other employees supposedly violated company policy. I was called to the office on Tues. by our head of AP and intimidated/defamed and was told there would be a report sent to HR. I do not believe I have violated their policy as stated in our handbook, nor did 3 other employees who were also fired. Do we have any recourse?
1 attorney answer
Pennsylvania is an at-will state in which you can be fired at any time for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. You cannot be terminated in violation of 'public policy.' Pennsylvania courts define 'public policy' as the legislative enactments of the Pennsylvania legislature or the U.S. Congress.
If an employer believes an employee is stealing, they can terminate that employee even if after a full investigation they determine that the former employee *wasn't* stealing. The bottom line is that courts do not get involved in what are simply human resources decisions, regardless of how stupid, poor, or ill-advised such decisions are.
The only possible basis for a claim is if you are in a protected classification (age, sex, religion, race, national origin, or disability) and others *not* in that protected classification are not also terminated for the same thing. By the sound of your question, four employees were terminated after surveillance, and that probably includes more than one demographic group, so it's unlikely that this action would be deemed 'employment discxrimination.'
Note also that if they can prove that it was 'wilful misconduct,' you might have a difficult time collecting unemployment compensation.
Thus, unless your treatment at the hands of your employer was different than others