Ruling on Fired Workers’ Suits
Pared to essentials, the California Supreme Court decision in the Foley case (“Justices Limit Damages in Fired Workers’ Suits,” Part I, Dec. 30) says to fired employees:
1. You still can sue and collect punitive damages from an employer who fires you because you “whistle-blow,” won’t break a law or take some other action that benefits the public at large.
2. You don’t need a written contract to sue an ex-employer for failing to keep promises, whether they’re express or implied, but your damages will be limited to back pay or reinstatement.
Wrongful termination still lives in the law, even though the court has refused to protect employees from “bad faith” contract abuse. That’s reserved only for those who sue insurance companies.
WILLIAM F. DWYER II