Philadelphia Employment Law News

Philadelphia Union Coach Claims Breach of Contract in Firing

Piotr Nowak was one of the coaches of the 2008 U.S. Olympic soccer team. After coaching that team, he was hired as the team manager for the Philadelphia Union soccer team, according to Courthouse News Service.

Nowak signed a contract with the team to be the team manager from 2009 until December 2012, according to his complaint. In December 2011, he was promoted to manager and executive vice president of soccer operations. This promotion extended his contract to December 2015.

Now, Nowak claims that he was fired in breach of his contract extension.

Terms of employment are often covered by a contract between the employer and the employee. These contracts cover everything from the length of employment, to how paid time off is determined.

Employment contracts generally override the basic laws that govern employment (as long as the contracts are not illegal or provide less protection than the law). This means, for example, that even if you live in an “at-will” employment state, an employment contract can require employee or employer to take specific steps before employment can be terminated.

Generally, an employment contract that provides for a specific length of employment states that an employee can still be fired for “good cause.” Good cause includes things like low productivity, violating company rules, or threats of violence.

Here, Nowak claims that he received an ultimatum to either sign a separation agreement, or be fired “for cause.” Nowak also claims that the “causes” that the Union lists are either curable or false.

Usually, it is possible to cure any breach of a contract. Nowak claims that the contract provides for a breaching party to cure the breach before the contract becomes void and that the Union’s reasons for his termination are not made in good faith.

If Piotr Nowak is right, and the Union used false pretenses to fire him in breach of its contract with him, he might be able to get his job back, or at least receive his salary until 2015.

Be sure to read your employment contract if you have one. That way you’ll know if your termination is proper or if it is a breach of contract.

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