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Third Circuit Rules in Favor of Employer in Wrongful Termination Case

A former maintenance mechanic for East Penn Manufacturing Co. filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that he was wrongfully terminated after allegedly damaging a laptop computer that belonged to the company. The employee attempted to establish a connection between his termination and a previous work-related injury, suggesting that he was discriminated against for the disabling injury. According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, there was insufficient evidence to establish a link between his termination and the injury.

After injuring his left knee in a work-related injury in 2012, the plaintiff underwent surgery to fix the problem. He was out of work and on disability leave for approximately eight months. He received Workers’ Compensation benefits during this time. He started to experience pain in the same knee in 2013, and submitted a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits, but his claim was denied. After undergoing a second surgery in 2014, he was out of work again for several months. When he recovered, he was able to return to his position and collect the same salary.

According to the plaintiff, when he returned to work, he was disciplined for taking too much time off after the second surgery. A personnel director at East Penn scheduled a disciplinary meeting and explained the company’s policy regarding sick days and absences. Several months later, he was accused of throwing an object, which damaged a company-owned laptop. A personnel director confronted him about the incident, but he denied it. He was suspended pending an investigation, and ultimately fired.

The District Court ruled that no reasonable jury would find a link between the plaintiff’s firing and his workplace injury. However, the plaintiff argued that he presented enough evidence to support the claim that he was fired because of his injury, and that the district court set too high a standard for proving a prima facie case.

Earlier this month, the Third Circuit affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment. According to the Third Circuit, East Penn had a legitimate reason for terminating the plaintiff, who failed to provide sufficient evidence to support his claim. The company had a written statement from another East Penn employee who witnessed the plaintiff throw the object that damaged the laptop computer. The Court ruled that summary judgment, based on the lack of causal link, was appropriate.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Represent Clients in Wrongful Termination Cases

If you have been wrongfully terminated, or your employee rights have been violated, contact the Philadelphia business lawyers at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. We will protect your rights and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, where we serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.