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March 13, 2014

Retaliatory Discharge for Whistleblowing

CaseCharles Haynes v. Formac Stables, Inc.

Issue: Does a plaintiff state a cause of action for whistleblower retaliatory discharge where he or she only reported the illegal activity to the owner of the company, who was the one engaging in the allegedly illegal activity?

Facts: Employee filed retaliatory discharge claim against Employer after being fired for reporting allegedly illegal activity to Employer’s owner, who was also allegedly involved in the illegal activity. The trial court dismissed the complaint pursuant to case law providing that, in order to bring such a claim, illegal activity must be reported to some entity other than those persons who were engaged in the activity.

Appellate Decision: The intermediate court affirmed dismissal of the complaint, and rejected the Employee’s argument that an earlier case offered an exception to the standard rule when the owner of the company is the person engaging in illegal activity.

Review Granted: March 5, 2014.

Prediction:  Ben thinks the supreme court will affirm the dismissal of the complaint for the reasons offered by the trial court, and resolve any ambiguity created by earlier cases.