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Key Issues in Wrongful Termination-Public Policy Exception

If you believe you have a cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, ask yourself the following questions:

Did any of the following occur:
  • Were you terminated?
  • Were you terminated shortly after your opposition of your employer’s illegal conduct?
  • Was the reason your employer provided for your termination false?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, you may have a wrongful termination case under the public policy exception. Public policy terminations arise out of employer retaliation. Even if you weren't fired, you may still have a case if there was negative action taken against you, like a demotion, pay cut or denial of promotion, and should contact a Connecticut wrongful termination lawyer.


Wrongful Termination For Opposing Illegal Activity

Most companies want honest, lawful employees. However, if a employer acts in violation of the law, and one of those good employees feels the moral duty to report them or even just speak up about their employer’s illegal conduct, the employer may retaliate by firing the person.

As an "at-will" employment state, Connecticut law allows employers to fire employees for any reason or for no reason at all. However, there are exceptions to terminations that are in violation of public policy that have been carved out by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Termination for Opposing Illegal Employer Actions in Connecticut

If you've been fired or let go for reporting your company breaking the law or as retaliation for a legally protected activity, you may have recourse under the law. The Hartford wrongful termination lawyers at Hayber Law Firm will fight for your rights. Contact us today using our online form, so we can review the details of your possible wrongful termination case.

At Hayber Law Firm, our Hartford-based firm represents clients who have been fired in violation of public policy throughout Connecticut, including in Milford, Stamford, New Haven, and Bridgeport.

Connecticut Public Policy Wrongful Termination Information Center

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Historic Case Law on Public Policy Wrongful Termination Policy in Connecticut

Connecticut first recognized this lawsuit in the case of Sheets v. Teddy's Frosted Foods. Sheets was director of quality control at a frozen foods manufacturer. He noticed that his employer was mislabeling food in violation of the Connecticut Uniform Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. He brought to his employer's attention that they were in violation of the law. He was soon after fired, allegedly for performance issues, and sued. Teddy's Frosted Foods argued that Sheets did not have a contract and was an “at-will” employee.  Accordingly, the employer argued, they were free to fire him.

The Connecticut Supreme Court disagreed.  They held that Sheets should not be fired for opposing his employer's illegal conduct, in that case, its violation of Connecticut’s food labeling laws.  This case broke new ground and created the public policy exception to Connecticut's at-will employment law. The Court said the food labeling law was intended to protect the public health and welfare, and Sheets, who was in charge of quality control, should not be put in the position of choosing between breaking the law and keeping his job.

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When Public Policy Exception Applies Under Connecticut Law

The exception in the Sheets case applies when a worker makes internal complaints to his or her employer about his or her belief that the employer is breaking the law, and the worker is terminated due to his or her complaints.

Often, like in Sheets, the employer will fabricate a "reason" for the termination, like slipping performance. The burden is on the employee to show that the complaints were the real reason. Termination immediately following a string of complaints is highly suspicious, however. Your Hartford wrongful termination lawyer may be able to show that, more likely than not, the complaints were the reason behind the firing.

For example, Meghan works at a chemical plant in Norwich, where she is in charge of the disposal of wastes. She realizes one of the pipes leads into the Yantic River, where it is releasing a pollutant. She knows this is a violation of the Connecticut Clean Water Act. She complains to the plant manager, who says the issue would be too expensive to fix.

Meghan replies that she cannot ignore the problem, as she is responsible for the safe disposal of chemicals, and she will have to report the matter to corporate headquarters. Before she can go through with her complaint, the plant manager informs her she is being fired, saying she had failed to meet a goal. Meghan may have a case for wrongful termination under the public policy exception.

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Hayber Law Firm | Hartford Wrongful Termination Lawyer

If you've submitted complaints about a possible violation of the law to your employer and were then fired, you may have a case for wrongful termination. Our Hartford wrongful termination lawyers at Hayber Law Firm can represent you. Fill out our online form today so that we can review the details of your case.

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