Philadelphia Employment Law News

PA Turnpike Supervisor Fired; Turnpike Takes Its Toll

Everyone's been on the Pennsylvania turnpike and had to stop for the toll. There's always a curse under your breath at the toll taker, even though it's not their fault that you don't have cash and you used all the change in your car for the toll yesterday. Even with all the cursing, you probably wouldn't wish for the toll attendant's turnpike supervisor to be fired.

However, that's exactly what happened. Samuel Giombolini, of Dickson City, was recently fired from his position as the turnpike's district manager for District 5 in Northeastern Pennsylvania, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Giombolini oversaw fare-collection operations. Turnpike officials allege that he skipped work to attend to personal business during work hours. Giombolini denies these allegations, stating that his wife has a business, but he has no connection with it.

If Giombolini is right, he may have a chance to win a wrongful termination suit.

Wrongful termination is when an employer fires you for an illegal reason. Generally, illegal reasons are related to discrimination based on age, race, or gender. However, if you have a contract for employment, you can be wrongfully terminated if your employer breaches that contract.

The reason that, excepting discrimination, an employer doesn't need good cause to fire you is because most states have "at will" employment. "At will" means that you or your employer could end your employment at any time. But if you have a contract, that is what governs the terms of your employment.

Here, it is likely that this state employee has an employment contract. The question to ask after is whether that contract requires good cause to terminate someone and what type of proof is needed to support that good cause.

This is where it gets tricky for Giombolini. Since it has been alleged that he was leaving work for another business, he would have to prove instead that either he wasn't leaving work, or that he was leaving for an allowed purpose, such as for a doctor's visit.

Samuel Giombolini has his work cut out for him if he decides to pursue a wrongful termination suit. It would sure help him if he found some evidence that he was forced out for a discriminatory or other illegal purpose.

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