On January 20, 2021, an expanded five-decide panel of the Massachusetts Appeals Court docket issued its opinion in Terence Meehan v. Professional medical Info Technology, Inc., No. 19-P-1412, and affirmed a lessen court selection granting the employer’s movement to dismiss the plaintiff’s wrongful discharge in violation of general public policy assert.
Crafting for a 3-judge vast majority of the expanded panel, Justice Meade tackled no matter whether the codified correct to rebut files in a staff file (and the outcomes of doing so) offered by M.G.L. Chapter 149, §52C generates a public plan that is “sufficiently properly defined and vital such that the exercising of that suitable provides an worker within the general public coverage exception to the normal rule that an at-will employee may be terminated with out trigger.” The Appeals Courtroom held that it was not, and refused to grow the procedure established forth in §52C into a public coverage defense from discharge.
The Appeals Court docket relied on perfectly-recognized Massachusetts law refusing to “protect at-will workforce who declare to be fired for their grievances about inner organization procedures or the violation of firm policies, even nevertheless the employees’ steps may be deemed acceptable or even ‘socially appealing.’” Although reiterating the common that “[t]o qualify as an exception to the normal rule, ‘[t]he public plan ought to be well described, critical, and ideally embodied in a textual law source,’” the Appeals Court docket refused to elevate every single legislation into a community policy “sufficiently critical and plainly defined” to justify invoking the community plan exception to at-will work. The the greater part identified that a diverse decision would open up the floodgates for wrongful termination promises, and compared with the dissent, it refused to authorize that final result.
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