A case recently filed in the Pennsylvania court system is highlighting the fact that wrongful termination can happen in jobs in any industry within both the public and private sector. According to Philly.com, one of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane’s former aides has recently filed a lawsuit against her for wrongful termination. The aide claims in his complaint that he was unlawfully dismissed as retaliation for recommending that the attorney general’s newly appointed chief of staff be dismissed for sexually harassing females in the office.
The aide further alleges that Kane attempted to assist her chief of staff in secretly attempting to quash the sexual harassment allegations made by two separate female coworkers. Instead of handling the allegations as directed by law, the suit claims the attorney general instead tried to determine what it would take for the women to drop their claims.
Both the chief of staff and Kane’s spokesperson are also included in the suit. The spokesperson allegedly made a public statement about the aide’s departure from the office, stating that he was fired for cause despite having had recent high marks on all evaluations of his work.
In Pennsylvania, which is an “at will” state, employees can legally be fired for any reason that is not protected under the law. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if a worker is wrongfully terminated from their employment after engaging in a protected behavior, they may be able to seek legal assistance. Some protected behaviors include whistleblowing, refusing to engage in illegal activities, and asking for accommodations for disability, religion or family medical leave.