When my current employer hired me, I was required to sign a contract with a non-competition clause. I want to leave and work for a competitor in a different part of the country. Can my employer prevent me from doing that?

Non competition agreements will sometimes be enforced in a Pennsylvania court, but if you are moving across the country, the non-compete agreement may not be enforced in your situation. Whether or not your employer will be able to enforce the agreement depends on your situation.

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What employee rights are available to those working an at-will job in Pennsylvania?

Although Pennsylvania is an ‘at will’ employment state, an employee that is fired in Pennsylvania does have legal rights, especially if he or she was wrongfully terminated. Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired for an illegal or improper reason, including discrimination, being asked to do something illegal, asking for accommodations for disability or religion, requesting leave, and/or whistleblower actions.

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Pennsylvania Unemployment Insurance Eligibility

Unless an employee deliberately acted in a way the he knew would result in termination of his employment, a fired employee can collect Pennsylvania unemployment benefits. In order to prevent an employee from receiving those benefits, an employer must prove the employee was guilty of ‘willful misconduct’. This means that if you are fired because of unintentional deficiencies in your work or because your supervisor dislikes you, you will receive unemployment payments unless your employer can prove you did something wrong on purpose.

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My employer requires me to work more than forty hours per week, but says I’m not entitled to overtime. Is this legal in Pennsylvania?

As a general matter, a salaried employee is exempt from overtime in Pennsylvania. However, a salaried employee may be entitled to overtime if the employment contract includes provisions for it. Further, just because your employer labels you as ‘salaried’ or exempt doesn’t mean that is actually a correct classification. If your lawyer has classified you improperly, then you could also be considered eligible for overtime payments.

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Does Pennsylvania law protect “whistleblowers?”

‘Whistleblower’ generally refers to an employee who reports some illegal or dangerous activity of the employer and is fired or otherwise disciplined as a result, but under Pennsylvania law’s whistleblower act, it applies only to employees of public sector employers.

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