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Employment Cases in the News

Employment Cases in the News


     The Statesman Journal (Oregon) recently reported that a government employee filed a claim for public policy discharge against her employer. In Michigan a discharge against public policy is an exception to the employment at will rule. Generally, an employee, not in a union, or not protected by a written contract has no protection against non-discriminatory discharges.


     However, in Michigan even such an at-will employee may not be terminated for the employer’s violation of a public policy. For an example, an employee may not be fired for refusing to violate the law. Such a case was Trombetta v. Detroit, T&IR, Co., 81 Mich App 489 (1979). In fact, it expressly affirmed the following principal:


“Such a cause of action has been found to be implied where the alleged reason for the discharge of the employee was failure or refusal to violate a law in the course of employment. Thus, in [citation omitted], the Court said that it would be impermissible to discharge an employee for refusing to falsify pollution control reports that were required to be filed with the state.”


“This court has recognized exceptions to the well established rule that at-will employment contracts are terminable at any time for any reason by either party. These exceptions were created to present individuals from contravening the public policy of this state. It is without question that the public policy of this state does not condone attempts to violate its duly enacted laws.”


     If you or a loved one have been fired for refusing to follow an illegal order at work, call Guy Vining.


Guy Vining has practiced law throughout the state of Michigan. His office is located in the downriver city of Taylor where he primarily serves the Metro-Detroit area. He has represented employers and employees in employment litigation in the trial court and the appellate courts in the following areas: whistleblower, breach of contract, public policy, discrimination, wage and hour violation, covenants not to compete, Americans with disabilities action and retaliation