Can an employer dismiss an employee on wrongful terms and also intiate investigations without informing an employee?

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Can an employer dismiss an employee on wrongful terms and also intiate investigations without informing an employee?

Can the investigation be ongoing without any results or information provided to that ex-employee?

Asked on March 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) If you did not have an employment contract, you were an employee at will. An employee at will may be terminated at any time, for any reason, so in  sense, there is no  "wrongful termination" of an employee at will.

2)  The exception to the above is that an employer may not terminate an employee at will--

a) For one of the types of discrmination specifically made illegal by the law; the main types (illegal under federal law) are discrimination on the basis of race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability. (This does not mean, for example, than an older or minority employee cannot be fired--just that he or she cannot be fired because he or she is older or a minority).

b) For using a protected benefit, like FMLA leave.

c) For bringing a protected claim or complaint, such as for overtime or that the employee suffered illegal discrimination.

d) For bringing certain safety or legal violations to light.

Other than this, though, an employee at will could be terminated for any reason.

3) Generally, an employer may investigate an employee and does not need to tell him/her it is doing that, and does not need to share the results with the employee.


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