Donahue v. Fed. Express Corp.

2000 PA Super 146, 753 A.2d 238

 

RULE:

In an at-will employment relationship, the duty of good faith and fair dealing applies to those contractual terms that exist beyond the at-will employment relationship.

FACTS:

An employee called it's employer's attention to various improprieties. Thereafter, the employee's immediate supervisor, accused him of gross misconduct and terminated the employee. After failing to have his termination overturned by the employer's Guaranteed Fair Treatment Procedure (GFTP), the employee filed a wrongful termination suit against his employer. The court granted the employer's preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer. The order was challenged by the employee.

ISSUE:

Was the termination wrongful?

ANSWER:

No

CONCLUSION:

The court held that: (1) the employee could not as a matter of law maintain an action for breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, where the underlying claim was for termination of an at-will employment relationship; (2) the GFTP was not expressly incorporated into appellant's employment contract, and therefore imposed no separate contractual duties on the employer; (3) the employee failed to identify any relevant statutes or legal precedents indicating that termination for reporting unscrupulous practices violated public policy; and (4) the employee's general allegation of superior work performance was insufficient to establish additional consideration to overcome the at-will employment presumption.

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