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Unformatted text preview: ed plaintiff's private e-mail messages made in October 1994.
Complaint at ¶ 12. On January 17, 1995, defendant notified plaintiff that it was
terminating his employment effective February 1, 1995, for transmitting what it deemed
to be inappropriate and unprofessional comments [FN1] over defendant's e-mail *99
system in October, 1994. Complaint at ¶¶ 13, 14.
FN1. Defendant alleges in its motion to dismiss that the e-mails concerned sales
management and contained threats to "kill the backstabbing bastards" and referred to the
planned Holiday party as the "Jim Jones Koolaid affair."
 As a general rule, Pennsylvania law does not provide a common law cause of
action for the wrongful discharge of an at-will employee such as plaintiff. Borse v. Piece
Goods Shop, Inc., 963 F.2d 611, 614 (3d Cir.1992); Paul v. Lankenau Hospital, 524 Pa.
90, 93, 569 A.2d 346, 348 (1990); Geary v. United States Steel Corp., 456 Pa. 171, 319
A.2d 174 (1974). Pennsylvania is an employment at-will jurisdiction and an employer
"may discharge an employee with or without cause, at pleasure, unless restrained by
some contract." Henry v. Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Co., 139 Pa. 289, 297, 21 A.
157, 157 (1891). See also, Johnson v. Resources for Human Development, Inc., 843
F.Supp. 974, 979 (E.D.Pa.1994); Brown v. Hammond, 810 F.Supp. 644, 645
(E.D.Pa.1993) (An employer's right to terminate an at-will employee is "virtually
absolute".); Yetter v. Ward Trucking Corp., 401 Pa.Super. 467, 585 A.2d 1022 (1991).
 However, in the most limited of circumstances, exceptions have been recognized
where discharge of an at-will employee threatens or violates a clear mandate of public
policy. Borse, 963 F.2d at 614; Clay v. Advanced Computer Applications, 522 Pa. 86, 88,
559 A.2d 917, 918 (1989) (If discharge of at-will employee threatens clear mandates of
public policy, there is a cause of action against the employer.); Geary, supra. A "clear
mandate" of public policy must be of a type that "strikes...
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2012 for the course ENC 102 taught by Professor Deria during the Spring '08 term at FIU.
- Spring '08