Kansas City Star | Diane Stafford
A Missouri Court of Appeals this week issued an opinion that may make employers wary of firing employees who were “acting in a manner public policy would encourage.”
The case centered on a lawsuit filed by Phyllis Delaney, who was fired by Signature Health Care Foundation after she informed the organization that she would miss work for four weeks because she was donating a kidney to her brother who was in kidney failure.
The St Louis foundation let her go because it said it could not hold her position open for that length of time.
Delaney filed a wrongful discharge petition, which was dismissed by the trial court.
Upon her appeal, the St. Louis-based appellate court ruled that “because the public policy of Missouri encourages organ donation,” Delaney’s firing was a “submissible wrongful discharge claim.”
The court cited a public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine that allows employers to fire employees “with or without cause.”
It remanded the case to the trial court.
“This is a remarkable decision, and I’m not aware of any precedent for it, either in Missouri or elsewhere,” said Michael Blumenthal, an employment law attorney in Kansas City.
Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/25/3627447/appeals-court-sides-with-fired.html