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Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania

Employment Litigation


Litigation Services

Leeson & Leeson handles all aspects of civil trial and appellate practice. As the Lehigh Valley's premier litigation attorney, Joseph F. Leeson, III represents both Plaintiffs and Defendants in Pennsylvania state and federal courts. From the initiation of a lawsuit through all stages of appellate procedure, Leeson & Leeson is prepared to litigate your case to its conclusion. Below are some primary areas of litigation that Leeson and Leeson is prepared to handle:


Employment Litigation

Employment litigation encompasses the area of law governing employer-employee disputes. Labor and Employment law is governed by a complex network of federal, state, and local laws. As a result, each matter requires a separate analysis. Employment litigation is also unique because it can involve sensitive personal information and can occur during an ongoing employment relationship. Achieving good outcomes requires technical, legal, and interpersonal skills. Legal counsel is necessary to establish the optimal legal strategy when an investigation or lawsuit becomes inevitable.

The majority of states in the U.S. operate under "at-will" employment laws. This concept permits employers to terminate an employee's service without necessitating the provision of a "just cause" or advance notice, provided that the grounds for dismissal are not unlawful. However, certain regulatory measures exist to restrict this privilege to some extent.

  1. Employment Contract - The employment agreement should clearly specify the conditions of employment, including the circumstances under which the employer can dismiss the employee. A breach of this agreement by the employer could potentially provide the employee with a valid basis for legal action.

  2. Anti-Discrimination Laws - Legislation ensures that employers cannot dismiss individuals based on their ethnicity, gender, faith, or any other safeguarded characteristics.

  3. Whistleblower Protections - Employers are prohibited from dismissing an employee as a punitive response for reporting unlawful behavior.

  4. Public Policy. - There are specific public policies in place that protect employees from being unjustly dismissed. For instance, in the majority of regions, an employer is not allowed to terminate an employee's contract simply because the employee declined to engage in illegal activities.


Reimbursements for an unjust dismissal usually include terms for job restitution, retroactive wages, and compensation for lost employee perks. Additionally, if the terminated individual has experienced emotional suffering due to the unfair dismissal, he or she may be eligible to claim further financial compensation.

There are federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination in employment based on certain protected characteristics, including the following:

  • Race Discrimination
    Discrimination based on race is unequivocally prohibited in the workplace. Employers are disallowed from taking adverse employment decisions based on an employee's racial background. The protection against such discrimination extends to all racial groups.

  • Sex Discrimination
    Employers are prohibited from initiating discriminatory actions on the grounds of sex. This includes discrimination relating to pregnancy-related circumstances. This prohibition also encompasses any expectations for individuals to adhere to gender-related stereotypes, such as their manner of dress. Protection against sex discrimination extends to all genders.

  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
    The 2020 Bostock v. Clayton County case marked a significant milestone in U.S. employment litigation. The Supreme Court's ruling established that Title VII — a federal civil rights law established to combat discrimination — encompasses protection for both sexual orientation and gender identity. While this form of protection already existed in several states, the ruling expanded its coverage to a national scale.

  • Disability
    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enacts safeguards for employees and potential employees against prejudiced treatment due to certain physical or mental impairments. This statute against disability-based discrimination extends its protection to individuals who are closely associated with a person living with a disability, such as a spouse. This prohibition is enforced at all stages of employment, from interviews and training to the job tenure itself. For instance, accommodations may need to be made for workers with visual impairments, such as tailored training resources, to ensure they derive the same advantages from training programs.

  • Age
    Various laws outlaw age discrimination. Only workers over age 40 are protected under Federal law. As such, discriminating against an individual for being too young is not illegal. However, many states have laws that apply to workers of all ages, even those under the age of 40.
    Laws against age discrimination do not mandate employers to select the applicant with the most experience. There are numerous factors that employers can take into account like possessing more current training or skills, which may give an edge to younger applicants. Just as with other kinds of discrimination, there are instances where the job necessitates a younger individual. For example, if a film producer is casting for a 12-year-old girl's character in a movie, they are not in violation of employment discrimination laws if they exclude 40-year-old actors from consideration.

  • Other Protected Characteristics
    Federal law also protects other characteristics, including:

    • Genetic information

    • Nation of origin

    • State laws often offer broader protections than their federal counterparts. Many states consider the following characteristics as protected:

      • Marital status

      • Military service

      • Political opinion

      • Religion

Disparate Impact Discrimination Lawsuits

A discrimination claim does not need to be solely based on a singular act of intentional discrimination. Some employers may have regulations and policies that, on a surface level, appear neutral. However, when enforced, many of these regulations and policies violate anti-discrimination laws by disproportionately impacting certain groups of workers. It is important to note that an employer's policy that creates a disparate impact is not illegal if the requirement is reasonably job-related and consistent with business necessity. Some common examples of discriminatory employer policies are the following:

  •  Discriminatory Dress Code and Grooming Policies;

  • Forced Retirements;

  • Employees Compelled to Participate in Religious Observances and Holidays;

  • Policies That Pregnant Workers Will Be Terminated; and

  • Policies of Only Hiring U.S. Citizens. 


Whistleblowers & Retaliation Lawsuits
Whistleblowers are protected from employer retaliation by numerous laws that exist on both the state and federal levels. Most illegal conduct is brought to light by brave whistleblowers. These individuals expose illegal activity by reporting wrongful conduct to government agencies or the media. Unsurprisingly, many businesses retaliate against these whistleblowers through demotions or terminating their employment.

As a result, there is a network of state and federal laws established to protect whistleblowers. States’ whistleblower laws can vary from each other, with some protecting more whistleblowing activity than others. In order to fully understand your writes as a whistleblower, it is important to meet with a Leeson & Leeson attorney to review your rights.

Over fifty years ago the Leeson law practice was built on three fundamental pillars that continue to guide the law firm today: the deliberate commitment to the growth and development of others, an unwavering dedication to integrity, and a dedication to strong work ethic. Clients who seek legal services from Leeson & Leeson will be provided with legal services that meet, or exceed, the levels of proficiency that the Leeson family has maintained for the last fifty years.

Leeson & Leeson represents people throughout all of Eastern Pennsylvania, including those in Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks, Schuylkill, Carbon, and Monroe counties. Leeson & Leeson's law office is conveniently located in the heart of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. If you are in need of an experienced litigation lawyer, be sure to contact the legal team at Leeson & Lesson today.

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