Employment Law Cause of Action

Date: March 4, 2010
Posted In: DLP Law

Paul and his family lived in Harrisburg. Paul worked for the Reliable Car Company and had become one of their best salesmen. Paul\’s family had a second home in Wayne County, and he always felt it would be nice to move up to that area on a full-time basis.

As fortune would have it, Paul was contacted by a local Wayne County car dealer and was offered a five-year guaranteed contract to come sell cars in the Poconos. After a lengthy discussion, Paul decided to take the offer and his family moved up on a permanent basis to the area.

At first Paul did very well but because of the down turn in the economy, his sales fell off sharply. Paul was notified by the owner of the company that he was going to be laid off for economic reasons.

Issue: Does Paul have any course of action against his new employer?

Answer: Yes. While Pennsylvania is an Employment-At-Will state, which means that the employment relationship is presumed to be terminable by either party at any time with or without notice and with or without cause, there are exceptions. One is where there is an express contract. In this case, Paul was guaranteed five years of employment at a base salary. Should the employer insist on Paul\’s termination, they will have to pay him for the full five years what his base salary would have been had he continued working.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.