January 10, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Mike McQueary suing Penn State, claiming he was illegally fired
The vast majority of jobs in the United States operate on a principle called "at-will employment." Essentially, this means that, absent a contract stating something to the contrary, either the employer or the employee is free to end the employment relationship at any time and for any reason. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. For example, employers cannot terminate an employee for discriminatory reasons or for making a good-faith whistleblower claim.
A lawsuit stemming from the sex abuse scandal at Penn State is seeking to expand the boundaries of Pennsylvania's wrongful termination law. Former assistant football coach Mike McQueary is claiming that he was fired from his job at the university because he testified truthfully before a grand jury, providing evidence that was integral to Jerry Sandusky's conviction on 45 counts of child sex abuse. Current employment law does not recognize cooperation with law enforcement as a reason for wrongful termination, but McQueary and his attorneys are arguing that an expansion is in the interests of public policy.
McQuery claims that after he testified, Penn State took him off the field and wrongfully denied him bonus payments and use of his vehicle. He also claims that he was the only member of the football staff who was not allowed to interview for a position when new head coach Bill O'Brien took over. McQuery was placed on administrative leave after Sandusky was arrested and was officially fired from his job in July 2012.
Proving wrongful termination
McQueary's success will depend on a number of different factors. Most importantly, he must persuade a judge that Pennsylvania's wrongful termination law should be expanded. McQueary and his attorneys claim that allowing an employer to terminate an employee because the employee testified honestly after being subpoenaed would set a very damaging precedent. No one should be afraid of complying with a court order and telling the truth because they fear that they might lose their job.
Even if McQueary does convince the judge to make this exception, he will also have to prove that his testimony was the reason he was fired. Penn State will likely claim that it had legitimate reasons for terminating McQueary's employment, including possible shortcomings in his performance and a desire to let O'Brien select his own staff.
Pursuing Pennsylvania wrongful termination lawsuits
McQueary's case draws attention to a much larger issue: even though at-will employment is the norm in Pennsylvania, it is not uncommon for employers to fire employees for reasons that are prohibited by law. When this happens, the employee has a right to pursue a lawsuit for wrongful termination. The compensation available in these lawsuits can include lost income and other economic damages.
If you or a loved one has been fired and you think unlawful justifications may have played a role, talk to a Pennsylvania employment law attorney. The attorney can evaluate your case and help you understand your options for moving forward.
Article provided by Jared Jacobson Law, LLC
Visit us at http://www.jaredjacobsonlaw.com---
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