Pittsburgh is a special place. Even though its steel industry is now mostly memories, the culture that built it remains. This blue-collar, hardworking philosophy has transformed the city into a thriving technological and educational economy.
Those in Pittsburgh know that we continue to take this approach of hard work to our workplace. We take pride in our work. And being terminated from a company invokes a gut-wrenching feeling.
All terminations are not fair. You may feel that your recent termination was wrongful. You could now be worrying about where your next job may come from.
The Lacy Employment Law Firm has its roots in Pittsburgh. We have experience with big companies like PNC, PPG, Dicks Sporting Goods, Highmark, and UPMC.
Even if your employer did not terminate you, we can also give you employment advice regarding your job situation. And whether your employer currently is violating employment law.
Let us show you how our experience will make all the difference in your case.
Employment law is a broad set of laws that cover employment situations and protect you against discrimination at work. These laws are made up of federal, state, and local statutory law.
Employment contracts, employment agreements, unpaid wages, and employee benefits are also a part of employment law.
If your employer fires you, you might have a suit for wrongful termination.
But if you are still employed an employment lawyer can still help you. An employment lawyer in Pittsburgh can help you:
There are certainly more ways in which an employment attorney can help you. But these are just a few ways in which an employment attorney can help you while still employed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In addition, employment lawyers handle aspects of labor law. Pittsburgh labor lawyers tend to focus on union lawsuits. Employment lawyers tend to work within two labor law statutes:
Under the FLSA you are entitled to certain wages like minimum wage and overtime pay for non-exempt employees. A Pittsburgh labor and employment attorney can help you secure those rights.
Further, you may need to seek medical leave or leave to care for a family member. That’s where the FMLA comes in. Sometimes employers interfere with your rights. Or they retaliate against you for taking leave.
We can help here too.
If your employer terminates you, we can help there too. This is known as wrongful termination.
The best employment representation for you.
Wrongful termination occurs when your employer fires you for an illegal reason. Under the law, your employers can fire you for any non-illegal reason.
This means that your employer can fire you because they do not like your personality. Or they cannot pay your salary anymore. These are non-illegal reasons.
This is not to say, however, that you might not have some legal recourse in these situations. But the general rule is that your employer can fire you whenever.
There are exceptions to the general rule. Your employer cannot fire you on the basis of:
Your employer also cannot fire you, if the firing violates Pennsylvania law. Some of these laws include:
As you can see, there are many exceptions to the general rule. If you believe that your employer wrongfully terminated your employment in Pittsburgh, you want to consult a Pittsburgh discrimination lawyer.
You can certainly sue for wrongful termination. Although employment is at will, employers cannot violate employment laws. There are certain procedural hurdles.
But you have the right to take your case to court if you believe that your employer fired you for an illegal reason.
The process generally entails:
Taking those three steps initiates a lawsuit for wrongful termination.
Although the case starts in Pittsburgh, it usually ends up in federal court. Most of your claims are federal claims and federal court is the place to bring them.
Pennsylvania wrongful termination lawyers start building your case in federal court at the administrative level. To do that, we must first bring the case before the right federal agency.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (“EEOC”) is a federal agency that handles and investigates employment discrimination charges. It investigates and protects employees and job applicants mostly from discrimination and sometimes concerning other employment violations
If you are a member of a protected class or category, you have the ability to file a complaint with the EEOC. You may also have the ability to file if you engage in protected conduct. Filing this complaint will start the legal process.
Filing a complaint alleging wrongful termination with the EEOC is known as a charge. In your charge, you will tell the EEOC how your employer wrongfully terminated you. Although you can file a charge by yourself, we recommend that you have an attorney help you.
When in doubt, it’s always best to contact an attorney.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Committee (“PHRC”) enforces your rights at the state level in Pittsburgh. Under Pennsylvania state law, you have similar protections that you would have under federal law.
The general exception is that state law gives you the right to seek more damages and have your case heard by a jury of your peers.
Although your case started in Pittsburgh, you still will likely end up in the Western District of Pennsylvania. We usually forgo filing the case in state court. In Pittsburgh, the state court is the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas.
To preserve your state claims, we will dual file your complaint. This is a technical legal term. It means essentially that we will file both your federal and state charges at the same time.
You do have the option of pursuing your case under the PHRC in Allegheny County. But there’s a few reasons that we generally file in the Western District. First, federal court is faster and more efficient.
Second, we have tremendous experience in federal court — where employment law cases are typically brought. Lastly, the big one,you have no right to a jury trial under statutory employment laws in Pennsylvania.
You have this right in federal court. And the right to a jury trial is incredibly important.
If you do not have a jury, a judge will decide your case. And judges less favorable for plaintiffs (you).
Your employer in Pittsburgh has just terminated you. Now what? You should immediately contact an employment lawyer. You only have so long to file a claim with the EEOC. A wrongful termination lawyer, also known as an employment attorney, can help you out.
Most lawyers, including us, operate on a contingency fee. So, if cost is a concern, we will charge you no fee unless we win.
After the EEOC investigation, you will likely have the option to sue in federal court. Hiring a lawyer even before the EEOC investigation has benefits. A lawyer can tell you which claims you have. As noted, there are numerous exceptions to the general rule that employment is at will.
If the case does not settle during the EEOC process and you pursue your case in federal court, you can expect your case to settle sometime before trial. The great majority of employment cases settle before trial.
During your wrongful termination case, your attorney may:
You should know that, sometimes an early settlement is good. This means more money sooner. And sometimes employers offer more money to avoid the expense of litigation.
Other times a case may require your attorney to do more on the case. This puts pressure on the employer to settle because they understand that a good attorney may beat them at trial.
To get the best outcome for your case, hire an attorney early. And make sure that attorney is ready to take your case to the end, if necessary