November 10, 2012
Virginia Permits Public Policy Termination Claims Against Individuals
Legal Newsline reports on a recent Virginia Supreme Court decision (4-3), acting on a question certified by the Fourth Circuit, that allows an employee to sue an individual for a termination in violation of public policy, even when the individual is not the official employer. The key is that the individual must have had a participatory role in the termination, such as being a supervisor or manager.
In the case at issue, a nurse sued the doctor who owned her former employer. She alleged that he fired her for rejecting his many sexual advances--which included unwanted physical advances--and demands that she divorce her husband so she could be with him. The Court held that the purposes of the public policy tort are best served by holding individuals accountable. The dissent argued that the tort is limited to the employer-employee relationship.
Hat Tip: ALex Long
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