Under Pennsylvania law, injured workers whose employment has been terminated for filing a workers’ compensation claim, may pursue a wrongful discharge suit against their employers. Shick v. Shirey, 552 Pa. 590, 716 A.2d 1231 (Pa. 1998).
Union represented employees, however, cannot pursue a wrongful discharge lawsuit if the collective bargaining agreement protects the employee from discharge without proper cause. Phillips v. Babcok and Wilcox, 349 Pa. Super 351, 503 A.2d 36 (1986), appeal denied, 514 Pa. 618, 521 A.2d 933 (1987); Harper v. American Red Cross Blood Services, 153 F.Supp.2d 719 (E.D. Pa. 2001).
The commonwealth or its political subdivisions are not subject to such a wrongful discharge claim because it does not fall within the exceptions to sovereign immunity outlined in 42 Pa. C. S. § 8522 (b). Similarly, local agencies are immune from such lawsuits under the Pennsylvania Political Sub-Division Tort Claims Act, which does not recognize a wrongful discharge lawsuit. 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8542. Kuzel v. Krause, 658 A.2d 856 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995); Haiden v. Greene County Career and Technology Center, 2009 Westlaw 2341922 (W.D. Pa. 2009).
For more information concerning actions against employers that are available to injured workers, click here. If you have been discharged for filing a workers' compensation claim, call The Boles Firm immediately.