Mr. O'Shea told Plaintiff that if he passed the polygraph exam, Defendant would reinstate him with backpay. Mr. O'Shea and Defendant claim the deal also included a promise to drop the grievance if Plaintiff failed the test. Plaintiff denies ever hearing about this portion of the bargain.
Plaintiff initially refused to take the polygraph. After consulting with his wife, who told him he had nothing to lose, Plaintiff agreed to take the test. On June 23, 1982, Plaintiff went to a room in the Hilton Hotel, signed a release, and took the polygraph test. The examiner reported to Defendant that Plaintiff had failed the test. Subsequently, Plaintiff's grievance was dropped.
On February 17, 1983, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging wrongful discharge, defamation, assault and battery, and invasion of privacy in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. On Defendant's petition for removal, the case was removed to this Court on the basis of diversity of citizenship and the presence of a federal question, i.e., that Plaintiff's wrongful discharge claim is solely cognizable under section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act (the "LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185 (1978). Defendant now moves for summary judgment.
Under Fed.R.C.P. 56(c) summary judgment may be entered only "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." See also Sames v. Gable, 732 F.2d 49, 51 (3d Cir. 1984). The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has made it clear that any doubts as to the existence of genuine issues of fact are to be resolved against the moving parties. Continental Ins. Co. v. Bodie, 682 F.2d 436, 438 (3d Cir. 1982). Further, the facts and inferences to be drawn from the facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Continental Ins. Co. v. Bodie, 682 F.2d at 438; Betz Laboratories, Inc. v. Hines, 647 F.2d 402, 404 (3d Cir. 1981).
Under Rule 56(e), however, a party resisting a summary judgment motion may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading. Ness v. Marshall, 660 F.2d 517, 519 (3d Cir. 1981). In opposing the motion, his response "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. If he does not so respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against him." Id.
As a general rule, courts do not favor the summary disposition of cases on their merits. Nevertheless, in an appropriate case, an early disposition may save the parties needless and often considerable time and expense which otherwise would be incurred during trial. Thus, summary judgment is a useful tool when the record reflects that there is no genuine dispute over the critical facts. Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist. Council, 676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982).
While remaining cognizant of the above-noted standards, this Court will consider Defendant's motion for summary judgment in the context of each of the Counts alleged in Plaintiff's Complaint: Wrongful Discharge, Defamation, Assault and Battery, and Invasion of Privacy.
The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant is liable in tort for wrongful discharge based on the use of a polygraph in contravention of the public policy set forth in 18 PA. CONS. STAT. § 7321(a) (1983). While Pennsylvania recognizes a wrongful discharge tort where an employee is required to submit to a polygraph as a condition of employment or the continuation of employment, that tort, under Pennsylvania law, is designed solely for the protection of at-will employees. See Polsky v. Radio Shack, 666 F.2d 824, 826 (3d Cir. 1981); Perks v. Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., 611 F.2d 1363, 1365 (3d Cir. 1979). Indeed, the courts have refused to extend the wrongful discharge tort to Plaintiffs who either are not at-will employees, Hyman v. Dart and Kraft, Inc., No. 83-2324, slip op. at 16 (W.D. Pa. April 5, 1984); Harrison v. Fred S. James, P.A., Inc., 558 F. Supp. 438, 444 (E.D. Pa. 1983), or who have an alternative statutory remedy, Wolk v. Saks Fifth Avenue, Inc., 728 F.2d 221, 223 (3d Cir. 1984), reh'g denied (1984). The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania explained:
The cases which have established a tort or contract remedy for employees discharged for reasons violative of public policy have relied upon the fact that in the context of their case the employee was otherwise without remedy and that permitting the discharge to go unredressed would leave a valuable social policy to go unvindicated.