Gov’t employers must offer pre-termination hearing

Public employees can’t be terminated without a pre-dismissal hearing of some sort, to give the employee an opportunity to learn why she’s being fired and a chance to speak up. The hearing doesn’t have to be formal, but simply firing the worker without explanation isn’t an option.

Recent case: Patricia was a housing inspector for the city of Scranton. During a mayoral election, she supported a candidate who wound up not winning the office. She was fired shortly after with no explanation or opportunity to contest her discharge.

She sued, alleging violation of her right to some form of pre-dismissal hearing. The city could not explain why it fired her and the judge said the case could go to trial. (Jennings-Fowler v. Scranton, et al., No. 3-14-0969, MD PA, 2014)