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Defending against wrongful termination

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2023 | Employer Law (Employer)

Losing a job can be a painful experience for anyone, whether they are fairly new to the company or a seasoned employee with decades of experience. Many terminated employees quickly move onto other opportunities, but some may have a more difficult time letting go. Some employees may even be angry about their termination and claim that their termination was unlawful. If your company has been accused of wrongful termination, an employment law attorney in your area can help defend against the allegation.

Defending against wrongful termination

If your company is facing a wrongful termination suit, your defense will likely involve proving that there were legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for the termination. Generally, a wrongful termination suit is based on the idea that the employee was terminated for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. A former employee may claim that they were terminated based on their gender or claim that their employer terminated them for filing a harassment complaint with human resources.

One way to disprove the claim that an employee was terminated unlawfully is to establish that there were legal reasons for your company to terminate their employment. As an at-will state, Pennsylvania employers are allowed to terminate an employee position at any time for any legal reason. Legal reasons for termination may include poor attendance, failure to meet performance standards or insubordination.

Evidence to support your defense

The key to defending your company is presenting evidence and testimony that can confirm your legal reasons for the termination. You may consider presenting:

  • Past performance reviews and performance improvement plans to indicate the employee’s performance was subpar.
  • Emails and other correspondence with the employee to establish that there was a history of issues with their performance or behavior.
  • Company policies establishing the company’s procedures for dealing with certain issues (e.g., the protocol for handling employee harassment complaints).
  • Testimony from employees and supervisors who can speak with the terminated employee’s past performance and behavior.
  • Evidence to show that other similarly situated employees were treated the same as the terminated employee (e.g., male employees with similar performance ratings were terminated along with the female employee).

A disgruntled employee may attempt to get back at the company that terminated them by suing for wrongful termination. An attorney specializing in employment law can help protect your company’s reputation as well as your right to terminate employees lawfully.