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Supreme Court of Virginia: Individual Employees Can be Sued for Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy

This report relates to 1 case(s)

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    VanBuren v. Grubb, 2012 Va. LEXIS 193 (Va. 2012) (0 other reports)

Author: Michael C. Jacobson, XpertHR Legal Editor

The Supreme Court of Virginia created a new cause of action for plaintiffs in employment litigation by ruling that colleagues or supervisors of potential plaintiffs can be sued individually, in addition to causes of action against "employers" in the traditional sense. In VanBuren v. Grubb, +2012 Va. LEXIS 193 (Va. 2012), the court ruled that individual employees in a position of power may be held personally responsible for their conduct if it violates Virginia public policy.

This is an expansion of available claims for plaintiffs in Virginia, though they are still limited by what the Supreme Court of Virginia called a very "narrow" public policy exception to its employment at-will doctrine. Specifically, plaintiffs who claim wrongful termination in violation of public policy still must demonstrate that the conduct in question violated a specific public policy, derived from a statute, or that they were terminated for refusing to break the law.