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3.14-3  Wrongful Discharge

Revised to January 1, 2008

Under our law, contracts of employment for an indefinite term may be terminated by the employer at will or, in other words, at any time for any reason.  However, there is an exception to this rule where the employee is terminated in violation of an important public policy.  Such a termination is known as a wrongful discharge.

The plaintiff has alleged that (he/she) was wrongfully discharged from (his/her) employment.  In order to prevail on (his/her) claim for wrongful discharge, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant's conduct surrounding the termination of the plaintiff's employment violated an important public policy.  The court has determined that <state the policy allegedly violated> is an important public policy.


Thibodeau v. Design Group One Architects, LLC, 260 Conn. 691, 699 (2002); Fenner v. Hartford Courant Co., 77 Conn. App. 185, 194 (2003); Carnemolla v. Walsh, 75 Conn. App. 319, 323 n.5, cert. denied, 263 Conn. 913 (2003).  It is for the court to determine whether an important public policy is at issue in the case.


Where an employee has a statutory remedy, i.e. an action under 31-51m, (he/she) cannot bring a common-law wrongful discharge action.  See Burnham v. Karl & Gelb, P.C., 252 Conn. 153, 159-62 (2000); Pickering v. Aspen Dental Management, 100 Conn. App. 793 (2007); but see Fenner v. Hartford Courant Co., supra, 77 Conn. App. 185.


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