You would probably consider Harrisburg, PA, a blue-collar town. It’s relatively small, especially when you look at comparable Pennsylvania cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. You will find many blue-collar jobs there and some white-collar ones as well.
If you work there, you might enjoy your job, or maybe you just do it because you need the paycheck. Either way, if your employer terminates you suddenly, you might wonder what you can do about it.
We’ll discuss that right now. You have rights following your termination, and Harrisburg residents should know all about them.
Pennsylvania Has At-Will Employment
First, you should know that Pennsylvania has at-will employment status. This means that, technically, an employer can terminate you for any reason. They don’t need a cause, such as you doing poorly at your job.
Despite being terminated, employees are entitled to certain rights. If you understand those rights, you can take some action after this unforeseen setback.
If you have at-will employment, though, your employee can’t fire you in some specific cases. For instance, maybe you have a contract with them. If you do, and their firing you violates that contract, then they can’t legally do it.
They also can’t legally fire you if you must take time off from work for public service. Jury duty would qualify. They can’t fire you for a discriminatory reason, like your sexuality, gender, race, religion, etc.
They also can’t fire you if they’re doing so in a retaliatory fashion. For instance, maybe you reported some unsafe work conditions. OSHA came and fined the company. Your boss finds out that you reported the issue and fires you.
In these instances, your boss can’t legally fire you, and if they try, you can bring legal action against them. Remember these exceptions if your boss fires you in Harrisburg.
You Must Prove Why Your Boss Fired You
You should understand, though, that if your boss fires you, and you suspect they did it for a reason we mentioned above, you must prove that in court if you sue them and expect some money in damages. For example, maybe you think your boss fired you because you had jury duty.
You would need some documentation proving that. Maybe you exchanged some text messages where your boss says abusive things because you attended jury duty. If they fired you for your religion, sexuality, or some similar reason, text messages that prove it might come into play.
If no text messages exist, you might also call witnesses who heard your boss say discriminatory things about you. That might win you your case.
If your boss fires you in Harrisburg unexpectedly, they must give you your last paycheck within a specific timeframe. They must give it to you by the next scheduled payday. Whether that’s in a week, two weeks, a month, or any other timeframe, they can’t withhold it any further.
If your boss terminates you unexpectedly, you can also get health insurance for some time after that through COBRA. Your former boss must pay those costs up to a certain dollar amount. You must still pay a particular sum as well, though, and COBRA isn’t cheap.
Sometimes, with a sudden termination, you can get unemployment benefits. You should collect those if you can since you’ll need that money during your job hunt.
A state insurance fund exists. You pay into it while you’re employed, and your employer does as well. You must apply, and the bureaucracy that runs it determines your eligibility. They also figure out how much you can get.
To receive that money, you must work for a certain number of weeks at your job before your boss terminates you. Your boss must also terminate you through no fault of your own. In other words, if your boss fired you for cause, you probably can’t get unemployment benefits.
Finally, to qualify, you must apply 30 days or less after losing your job. You must remember that timeframe because if you miss the deadline, you can’t get the money you need.
You now know the basic facts regarding Pennsylvania termination and at-will employment. Harrisburg workers who face a sudden termination might contact a qualified attorney if they feel uncertain about anything we’ve mentioned.
If you feel like you can’t get any money after your termination, you should still check and make sure. You need any payments you can get while you prepare for your next job hunt.