of the PHRA, alleging discriminatory termination of at-will employment."
Even viewing the allegations of the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, I find that Count III fails to state a claim for wrongful discharge. A cause of action for wrongful discharge may lie where such discharge violates a clear mandate of public policy. See Geary v. United States Steel Corp., 456 Pa. 171, 319 A.2d 174 (1974). Plaintiff argues that "one need look no further than the Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act . . . to know that Kelly's drug and alcohol therapy was very much favored by the public policy of this Commonwealth." However, as the defendant correctly points out, a wrongful discharge claim based on a public policy against handicap discrimination is not recognized in Pennsylvania. Bruffett v. Warner Communications, Inc., 692 F.2d 910, 918-19 (3d Cir. 1982) (the narrow public policy exception announced in Geary applies only where no statutory remedy is available).
Plaintiff has also alleged, in Count III of his complaint, that defendant's discharge of plaintiff was a breach of contract. However, Clay noted that "as a general rule, there is no common law cause of action against an employer for termination of an at-will employment relationship." Under Pennsylvania law, a plaintiff alleging breach of an employment contract must rebut the presumption of employment at-will. At-will employees may be discharged at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. Geary, 456 Pa. at 174, 319 A.2d at 176. To overcome this presumption a plaintiff must plead and prove the existence of definite and specific contract terms concerning the length of employment or otherwise restricting the employer's right to terminate the employment relationship. See Murray v. Commercial Union Ins. Co., 782 F.2d 432, 435 (3d Cir. 1986); Engstrom v. John Nuveen & Co., 668 F. Supp. 953, 975 (E.D.Pa. 1987).
Plaintiff has merely alleged that defendant demanded, and he agreed, to follow the advice of his doctors and counselors. Plaintiff argues that the defendant made this therapy a condition of plaintiff's continued employment and that defendant is precluded from terminating him simply because he was making telephone calls to his therapy group. I must disagree. There is no allegation that the parties negotiated any agreement to restrict Amtrak's right to terminate plaintiff. Accordingly, the Court finds that plaintiff's claims of wrongful discharge and breach of contract do not qualify as exceptions to the general rule that there is no common law cause of action against an employer for termination of an at-will employment relationship. Plaintiff's claims for the tort of wrongful discharge and breach of contract must therefore be dismissed.
B. Count IV: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
Under Pennsylvania law, in order for a plaintiff to properly plead a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff must show that the challenged conduct is so "extreme and outrageous" such "as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and [is] to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community." Jones v. Nissenbaum, Rudolph, & Seidner, 244 Pa.Super. 377, 383, 368 A.2d 770, 773 (1976). In Cox v. Keystone Carbon Co., 861 F.2d 390, 395 (3d Cir. 1988), the Third Circuit held that "while loss of employment is unfortunate and unquestionably causes hardship, often severe, it is a common event and cannot provide a basis for recovery for intentional infliction of emotional distress." Id. at 395. After careful consideration of the allegations of plaintiff's complaint, I do not find that the circumstances of plaintiff's dismissal as pleaded are sufficient to withstand defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Accordingly, I shall, and hereby do, dismiss Count IV of plaintiff's complaint.
An appropriate Order follows.
AND NOW, this 10th day of January, 1990, upon consideration of defendants' Motion to Dismiss Counts III and IV of Plaintiff's Complaint, and the response thereto, it is hereby ORDERED that defendant's motion is GRANTED. Consistent with the foregoing Memorandum of Law, Counts III and IV of Plaintiff's Complaint shall be, and hereby are, DISMISSED.
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.
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