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05 01 2014 Wrongful discharge R I Will be successful if he she commences an action of wrongful discharge against Historically employment law was governed by the common law doctrine of employment at will where either employer or employee could terminate the relationship at any time for any reason Today employment law is heavily regulated by state and federal statutes and there are exceptions but employment at will is still a recognized legal doctrine The exceptions include contract union employment statutory discrimination whistleblower and public policy wrongful discharge Employment at will o employers can fire employees for any reason or at any time but there are three exceptions 1 Contract Occurs when an employer fires and employee while they are still under contract or in a union that protects their firing 2 Statutory occurs when an employee tells a supervisor or the press that the employer is engaged in some unsafe or illegal activity it is protected under federal and state law In regards to statutory whistleblowing occurs when an employee tells a supervisor or the press that the employer is engaged in some unsafe or illegal activity it is protected under federal and state law 3 Public Policy For public policy wrongful discharge was present in the Lins Case and is based on a 4 prong test Four prong test wrongful discharge claim against an employer must be able to answer yes to 1 2 and 4 and no to 3 To be successful an employee bringing a 1 Whether a clear public policy exists 2 Whether that policy will be jeopardized unless the activity in issue is protected 3 Whether the employer has an overriding justification of wanting to use the activity in issue as a factor affecting the decision to discharge 4 Whether the employee s activity is the substantial factor in the employer s decision to terminate Apply 4 prongs See if whistleblowing is part of it C If commences an action agaisnt he will be not be succesful I MAKE IT DIRECT to Single Tort Can Wal Mary be held liable for false imprisonment A Torts R A tort is a civil injury designed to provide compensation for injury to a legally protected tangible or intangible interest The person committing the tort the Tortfeasor or Defendant must intend to commit the act Intend means o Tortfeasor intended the consequences of her act or o She knew with substantial certainty that certain consequences would result can sue for A and B false imprisonment infliction of emotional distress defamation invasion of privacy and business torts Then define tort being used and its defense o Assault and Battery o Assault is an intentional and unexcused act It creates a reasonable apprehension or fear of immediate Battery is physical contact that is intentional harmful and harmful offensive contact Immediate harmful or offensive contact NO CONTACT NECESSARY o Battery is the completion of the assault unwelcomed o DEFENSE for Assault and Battery Consent Self Defense reasonable force Defense of Others reasonable force Defense of Property o False Imprisonment This is the intentional confinement or restraint of another person s activities without justification Defense Merchants may reasonably detain customers if there is probable cause Reasonable probable cause that person committed theft reasonable manner of restraint and reasonable time for restraint Merchants may detain persons suspected of shoplifting and hold them for the police o Intentional infliction of emotional distress This is an intentional extreme act that results in sever emotional distress in another Most courts require a physical symptom or illness as a result Howard Stern Case o Defamation Right to free speech is constrained by duty we owe each other to refrain from making false statements Orally breaching this duty is slander breaching it in print or media is libel This is the publication of a false statement that holds an individual up to hatred contempt or ridicule in the community Publication requires communication to a 3rd party Case 6 1 Orlando v Cole 2010 General Damages are presumed Plaintiff does not have to show actual General damages include compensation for disgrace dishonor humiliation injury to reputation and emotional distress Plaintiff must prove special damages actual economic loss for Slander Per Se No proof of damages is necessary if Loathsome disease Business improprieties serious crime Woman is o Damages for LIBEL injury o Damages for SLANDER Rule Exceptions slander concerns non chaste o Defenses to Defamation Invasion of privacy Truth is generally an absolute defense Privileged or Immune Speech Absolute Qualified o Public Figures Employee Evaluations judicial legislative proceedings Public figures exercise substantial governmental power or are otherwise in the public limelight To prevail they must show actual malice statement was made with either knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth Every person has a fundamental right to solitude freedom from public o Invasion of Privacy scrutiny Use of Person s Name or Likeness Intrusion on Individual s Affairs or Seclusion Publication of Information that Places a Person in False Light Public Disclosure of Private Facts o Appropriation Use of another s name likeness or other identifying characteristic for commercial proposes without the owner s consent o Fraudulent Misrepresentation Fraud is intentional deceit Elements Misrepresentation of material fact Intent to induce another to rely Justifiable reliance by innocent party Damages as a result of reliance Causal connection Fact vs Opinion Abusive or Frivolous Litigation o Business Torts o Wrongful Interference Tort that interferes with a contractual relationship Occurs when Defendant knows about contract between A and B Defendant benefits from breach Intentionally induces either A or B to breach the contract and o With a Business Relationship occurs when Established business relationship Tortfeasor using predatory methods causes relationship to end and Plaintiff suffers damages Bona fide competitive behavior is a defense to this tort o Cyber Torts Defamation Online Liability of ISP s Case 6 3 Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v Roomate com 2007 Piercing the Veil of Anonymity Spam Trespass to Personal Property Statutory Regulation of Spam A CAN always sue Apply all elements directly to facts o BE specific C Negligence I Is there an issue of negligence R Tortfeasor does not intend the consequences of the act or believes they will occur Actor s conduct merely

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SU LPP 255 - Wrongful discharge

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