mistreated and misjudged

is it legal for an employer to set up a video camera and not only tape the video,but also the audio without your permission? also, i was terminated because the father of my daughter did not want to pay child support so he filed a petition with the court for emergency custody stating various mistruths about me, but in approx. 2 wks., the court returned her to me, but my employer said the things must be true or they could not have taken my daughter in the first place. she also refuses to give me my last check. can she legally do all of these things? p.s. i am under no contract and can not afford a lawyer. thank you so very much

1 answer  |  asked Mar 27, 2005 01:33 AM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
You may have a claim.

Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, you may have a claim for a violation of Pennsylvania's Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance statute. Courts have held that although employers may use video surveillance, that they violate the Wiretapping statute if they secretly intercept or record oral communications. Damages can range from $1,000 on up.

You likely have no claim, however, for being terminated for what is stated in family court documents. In Pennsylvania, unless you have a contract, an employer may terminate you for any reason or no reason, at any time, without notice. While an employer may not discriminate based on your gender, age, race, religion, etc., employers do not have an obligation to be fair or to even use good business judgment. However, if your daughter's father or your employer publicized his allegations outside of the courthouse, you may have a claim for defamation. If he published those claims to your employer, and got you fired, you may have a claim for defamation against him, with the damages being the loss of your job.

Finally, an employer cannot generally refuse to pay you wages due. If the employer has a legitimate set-off, such refusal may be legal; however, such set-offs are rare. Without knowing more about your wage structure and the reasons for withholding your wages, I cannot answer more specifically.

You will find that many attorneys will handle defamation and unpaid wage claims on a contingent fee, and will not charge you an hourly rate for such work.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
401 City Line Avenue,
Suite 904
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Mar 28, 2005 10:57 AM [EST]

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