This article concentrates on wrongful termination claims and settlements in Pennsylvania. It is actually unusual for good cases to go to court, because they typically settle out of the courtroom. Nevertheless when they don’t settle, there’s always a lawsuit, in which only one party will prevail.
Almost all of these litigation cases contain mixed settlements, implying that they involved one particular, or perhaps several claims of wrongful termination attributable to sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity discrimination, workplace retaliation, gender discrimination, whistleblower, firing in violation of public policy or disability.
The data directly below exhibits an overview of the different types of cases filed as well as their specific volumes in PA in 2017.
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Wrongful discharge and discrimination cases & settlements in Pennsylvania
Gerald Kohn v Harrisburg School District
Gerald Kohn was the Superintendent of the Harrisburg School District earning $235K per year.
He, and his deputy superintendents, were fired in 2009 by the newly elected mayor, Linda Thomson. The mayor blamed Kohn for the problems at the school district, and fired him and his deputies more than a year before their employment contracts would expire.
The ousted superintendent alleged that they were entitled to notice and hearing before termination. Since they didn’t receive it, they were wrongfully terminated. Kohn was unable to find a job afterwards.
After years of litigation, the school district chose to settle the case. The fired employees received a total settlement of $2.4 million. Source
EEOC v Saint Vincent Health Center
Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie, PA, required it’s employees to get annual flu shots unless they were exempted for medical or religious reasons.
During the 2013 flue season, 6 employees requested exemptions due to religious beliefs, but the hospital denied their requests and fired them for not getting vaccinated. At the same time 14 medical exemption requests were granted, while all religious exemption requests were refused.
This wrongful discharge due to religious discrimination in violation of Title VII, which states that sincerely held religious beliefs must be accommodated for, if they don’t cause undue hardship to the employer.
The EEOC sued the hospital on behalf of the victims. The case was settled through a consent decree. The fired employees were given their jobs back, and they also received a settlement of $300,000. Source
George Moore v Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
George Moore worked as a human resources officer for Kathleen Kane, the attorney general of Pennsylvania.
He was fired from his job after he recommended that one of Kathreen Kane’s top aids, Jonathan Duecker, be fired for sexual harassment allegations brought forth by two women working for the state. Moore alleged that his discharge was due to retaliation for his recommendation.
The Attorney General’s Office chose to quickly settle the wrongful termination case and paid Moore and his attorney $136,000. Source
EEOC v Verizon
Lissa Hannan was a senior field clerk working for Verizon in Pennsylvania.
She was assigned to work for a male contractor who worked in the neighboring office. The man started harassing her sexually, so she made a complaint about it to her second-level supervisor. She was reassigned to another location pending investigation. After 10 days, her employment was terminated.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts states that sex discrimination is illegal, as is terminating an employee in retaliation for reporting it.
The EEOC sued Verizon on her behalf. The case was settled through a consent decree, Hannan received a settlement of $37k. Source
EEOC v dELiA*s Inc
dELiA*s is a fashion retail store in Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall, PA. The EEOC filed a lawsuit against the company after receiving 2 reports from women who were discriminated against because of their pregnancies.
After they told the manager that they were pregnant, they became the subject of harassment, repeatedly being asked whether they can do their jobs properly. Nicole Young was discharged after complaining about this and Mallory Martin was forced to take early maternity leave.
Discriminating against pregnant workers and retaliating against them violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.
The case was settled through a consent decree, the women received $75,000. Source
Ralph Bailets v Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Ralph Bailets worked for Pennsylvania Turnpike for 10 years. When he was fired in 2008, his role was the manager of financial systems and reporting.
For the last 3 years of his employment with the Commission, he made several internal complaints about a company called Ciber Inc, one of the Commission’s biggest contractors. The contractor had political ties, and Bailets was eventually fired.
He filed a lawsuit under the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law stating that he was fired in retaliation for reporting on Ciber Inc. The state court awarded him $1.6 million in past and future earnings, and a further $1.4 million for non-economic damages. The supreme court upheld the verdict.
It’s interesting to note that a few years later, Ciber Inc was sued by the state for $45 million for over-billing and other charges. Source
EEOC v Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc.
Glenn O. Hawbaker is a large construction company operating in Pennsylvania.
Christopher Woomer applied for an equipment operator job at the company’s State College facility. He had the relevant experience and demonstrated that he could operate the backhoe during his interview.
He was offered the job pending medical examinations. During the physical, the company learned that Hawbaker had insulin dependent diabetes. His job offer was rescinded.
Employment discrimination laws protect job applicants, as well as existing employees. In violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the company discriminated against Hawbaker due to his perceived disability, even though he wold have been capable of performing his job.
The EEOC sued the company on his behalf. The case was settled through a consent decree, Hawbaker received a $200,000 settlement. Source
EEOC v Matrix LLC.
Matrix is a large cleaning company operating in Pennsylvania. The EEOC filed a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the firm for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Barbara Palermi was a supervisor responsible for a client’s site in Concordville. She is white. She was contacted by management and told not to hire any more black workers for the site. She refused, and hired more black workers. In retaliation for not obeying management’s instructions, she was wrongfully terminated.
The company went on to fire every black worker at the site, and replaced them with white workers.
The case was settled through a consent decree. The class of employees filing the claim received a settlement of $450,000. Source
As you look through this listing of unlawful firing verdicts from Pennsylvania, keep in mind that the large amounts of money are because of punitive damages, which are handed out to dissuade organizations from taking part in the same kind of unjust conduct. Punitive damages are especially uncommon. Most cases will settle for anywhere from forty thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars.
This report on unlawful termination verdicts in PA is intended for informative purposes. Although you may feel resemblance to any of these claims, remember that each and every single case is different.
The average wrongful discharge settlements in Pennsylvania
It’s understandable that you would like to find out the amount of money you can expect to be given for your unlawful discharge case. If you reach settlement, the amount of money you are given is mostly based on these factors: mental anguish, lost earnings, lost benefits, reason of termination, the costs of finding a new job and medical costs. Punitive damages can also be awarded in rare cases, in the event the workplace acted egregiously.
As you will observe from the example lawsuits described above, giving an average settlement for wrongful discharge cases in PA is actually challenging because each and every case is unique.
The average wrongful termination settlement in Pennsylvania is between $5,000 – $80,000.
Legal professionals continue to be beneficial while negotiating a larger settlement.
The average jury awards are usually higher, between $110,000 and $450,000. This is certainly a primary reason organizations like to accept a settlement before going to court.
Filing a wrongful discharge or discrimination claim in Pennsylvania
If you feel you had been fired for an unlawful reason, here are tips on what to do.
At the outset, you’ll need to consult with a wrongful termination attorney in Pennsylvania to find out if there is a claim worth going after.
Do not delay, since there may be cutoff dates to submitting unlawful discharge claims in Pennsylvania.
2nd, you will most likely need to submit a timely claim with the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office.
These are the steps you need to take to file a wrongful discharge lawsuit.
Even though employment-at-will is the prevailing form of employment in the USA, there are laws to protect employees against unjust discrimination and harassment.
WrongfulTerminationSettlements.com was created as a compass for people who feel they have been terminated wrongfully, or discriminated against at their workplace.