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Termination — Pennsylvania

The termination of an employee almost always carries some risk of potential liability for an employer. In order to reduce that risk as much as possible, employers should implement procedures that require employee terminations be handled in a consistent, objective, fair and professional manner. Avoidance of a lawsuit is not the only factor, however. Almost everyone understands that involuntary employment terminations are necessary, but in the absence of fair procedures, terminations can lead to lowered morale, reduced productivity and an increased potential for union organizing.

As a general rule, Pennsylvania follows the employment at-will doctrine, which means that either the employer or employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, and with or without cause. There are, however, some circumstances in which the employment at-will doctrine may be superseded by federal or state law, employment contracts, or collective bargaining agreements. Therefore, it is important for employers to keep these exceptions in mind and maintain consistent documentation to support the termination should a former employee later challenge the termination.

Terminations at-will

Throughout the United States there are several exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine, many of which are discussed...

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