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$2.4 M Settlement in Wrongful Termination Suit: Harrisburg School District Superintendent

An employment law attorney can provide legal representation if you have been fired or laid off and you think the terms of dismissal may be illegal. Pennsylvania employment lawyer, Sidney L. Gold, was in the news recently for just such a case as co-counsel on a wrongful termination case brought against the Harrisburg School District by ousted Superintendent Gerald Kohn and Deputy Superintendent Julie Botel.  Mr. Gold and his co-counsel successfully negotiated a $2.4 million settlement for their clients.

In the lawsuit, Mr. Kohn claimed that three years ago, the Harrisburg School District board wrongfully terminated his contract. The school board took action without notice or a hearing, violating due process which Kohn and his staff were entitled to. In most states, as is the case in Pennsylvania, and employer can terminate an employee without having to give an explanation.  This is commonly referred to as “at will” employment. A common exception to this is a relationship bound by a contract, as was the basis for the wrongful termination suit filed by Kohn who had sixteen months left on his contractual agreement.

Prior to the rescission of Superintendent Gerald Kohn’s contract and the filing of the wrongful termination action, the newly appointed mayor Linda Thompson had been elected with the platform of ridding the underperforming school district of Mr. Kohn, and shortly after she was elected Mr. Kohn was let go. At the time of his ousting, Mr. Kohn was drawing a salary of $235,000 a year. After being unable to secure employment after his termination, Gerald Kohn subsequently retired. Sidney L. Gold and co-counsel successfully negotiated a $2.4 million settlement which included dismissal of all claims between the parties.

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