of Cause of Action F relating to the slander action in Section I of this Opinion.
An appropriate Order will be entered.
(Filed March 8, 1974.)
Before: WEIR and POPOVICH, JJ.
The individual defendant terminated plaintiff's employment as President of the South Campus of the Community College of Allegheny County, and the latter brought this action in mandamus. It seeks direct reinstatement, but the argument is also made that plaintiff is at least entitled to an administrative hearing by the board of the college. For disposition presently are preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer by defendants and a motion for summary judgment by plaintiff.
In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere for that matter, there has been no reversal of the common law principle that employment is at will and may be terminated by either party at any time with or without cause in the absence of a contract or a statute to the contrary. Hanna v. Radio Corporation of America, 336 F. Supp. 62 (1971), McKinney v. Armco Steel Corp., 270 F. Supp. 360 (1962). Public employment is no exception. Naef v. City of Allentown, 424 Pa. 597, 227 A.2d 888 (1967).
No contract of employment existed in the case at bar and the termination was effected as is customary by plaintiff's superior whose action is presumptively authorized and is affirmatively endorsed by the posture of the Board in this case.
If there exists a statutory protection for plaintiff in some form of tenure we would expect to find this in the Community College Act of 1963, as amended, 24 P.S. 520 et seq., but no such provision is contained therein. Also the tenure section, namely, Art. XI of the Public School Code of 1949, 24 P.S. § 11-1101 et seq., does not relate in any way to this problem. This is mentioned although there really is no contention here that plaintiff is the beneficiary of any statute except procedurally. It is argued that Community College of Allegheny County is a local agency within the definition of such in the Local Agency Law of December 2, 1968, P.S. 1113 et seq., and that this entitles plaintiff to bring his grievance before the Common Pleas Court of the judicial district within which the grievance arose in appropriate form which, in this instance, would be mandamus. This may be true, but there is no need to decide whether it is or is not, since clearly the mere fact that one chooses the correct writ and files it in the correct forum does not supply a substantive right to prevail where such right is completely lacking.
Therefore we shall deny plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and sustain defendant's preliminary objection in the nature of a demurrer.
LEROY W. deMARRAIS, Appellant v. COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY and JOHN B. HIRT, President, Appellees
IN THE COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
NO. 458 C.D. 1974
Now, November 19, 1974, the order of the lower court is affirmed on the opinion of Judge Weir, No. 2105 January Term, 1974, Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division.
A summary of the Causes of Action in deMarrais' Complaint is as follows:
Cause of Action A: Hirt, acting under color of state law and in violation of the agreement with deMarrais, announced the reorganization of the college to the detriment of plaintiff's reputation, denying deMarrais of his property (i.e., his good name and reputation.)
Cause of Action B: Hirt, in violation of the employment contract and without a prior hearing, dismissed deMarrais from his employment as of July 1, 1973.
Cause of Action C: The Trustees conspired with each other and with Hirt in acquiescing to deMarrais' termination and conspired to deprive deMarrais of his Constitutional rights, to-wit, his good name, his reputation, and his interest in the contract of employment, all without due process.
Cause of Action D: Hirt dismissed deMarrais because he exercised his First Amendment right to free speech even though his speaking out in no way interfered with his performance of his job.
Cause of Action E: Hirt, as authorized by the Board of Trustees, breached his contractual duties to deMarrais thereby causing damages.
Cause of Action F: Hirt made allegations that were slanderous per se about deMarrais thereby injuring deMarrais' professional reputation.