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Borse v. Piece Goods Shop, Inc. - 963 F.2d 611 (3d Cir. 1992)

Rule:

As a general rule, there is no common law cause of action against an employer for termination of an at-will employment relationship. Exceptions to this rule are recognized only in the most limited of circumstances, where discharges of at-will employees would threaten clear mandates of public policy.

Facts:

Plaintiff employee filed a wrongful discharge action alleging that her dismissal by defendant violated public policy. She had worked for defendant employer for nearly 15 years, and when defendant instituted a new drug policy requiring its employees to submit to urinalysis testing and personal property searches, she refused to give consent for the testing and searches. Defendant discharged her. The lower court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss, and plaintiff appealed.

Issue:

Does a company policy that requires employees to undergo urinalysis testing and personal property searches violate public policy?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court held that defendant employer's dismissal of plaintiff for refusing to consent to urinalysis testing and personal property searches would violate public policy if the testing tortiously invaded her privacy. The court held that neither the federal constitution nor the state constitution could be used as sources of public policy in a case that did not involve state action. The court also ruled that plaintiff had stated a cause of action for discharge in violation of a public policy arising out of state common law.

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