When is a job termination deemed to be illegal?

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When is a job termination deemed to be illegal?

My husband was moved from his line at his workplace supposedly for “cross training” on another line. He has more seniority than the person he was forced to switch with. He has been on the line for about a month now and when he asks when he’ll be back on his line they just ignore him. They keep saying they don’t know if this is going to be temporary or permanent. We believe his area leader is moving him for personal reasons to irritate someone on my husband’s original line. Everyone in his job seems to know everything about why he was moved. Isn’t that violating his privacy? Is any of this legal?

Asked on October 5, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Was your husband an "at will" employee? This means he didn't have a union agreement or employment contract. If he did not have either of these, then absent a violation of company policy or some form of actionable discrimination, he has no claim here. While his treatment appears to have been unfair it does not appear to have been illegal. The fact is that in most instances an employer has a great deal of discretion in setting the terms and conditions of the workplace. This includes why an employee can be dismissed and how; basically an employee can be fired for no reason or any reason at all, with or without notice.


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