In the case of Copney v. Yale New Haven Hospital, a hospital filed a motion to strike the second count of an employee’s action, whom sued for negligence in the hospital’s failure to investigate her sexual harassment claims, and the fourth count, which was for retaliatory discharge. According to Connecticut law, it shall be discriminatory practice for any person, employer, labor organization or employment agency to discharge, expel or otherwise discriminate against any person because he has opposed any discriminatory employment practice or because he has filed a complaint or testified or assisted in any proceeding before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
The employee complained about racial and sexual discrimination problems at the hospital. She was discharged. The employee brought suit for failure to end her sexual harassment, failure to follow the hospital’s harassment policy, retaliatory discharge, and common law wrongful discharge. The hospital filed a motion to strike. The court granted the motion. The employee’s claim based on a breach of policy was in negligence; however, the only possible claim was for breach of contract. Because the employee had not brought a breach of contract action, that part of the complaint failed to state a claim for which relief was available. Despite her assertions to the contrary, the employee had relied upon the same public policy grounds for both her retaliatory discharge and wrongful discharge claims. Her assertion that different public policies were violated in the two claims was unpersuasive because she failed to state with specificity what those public policies were. Because a claim for common law wrongful discharge only existed in absence of a statutory remedy and a remedy for retaliatory discharge existed under Connecticut law, the common law claim was struck.
The court granted the hospital’s motion to strike two counts of the employee’s complaint. “The [employee], however, fails to plead with any specificity the public policy that has been violated” said the court. “Therefore, it is necessary for the [employee] to allege that the discharge violated a specific statutory or constitutional provision or contravened a judicially conceived notion of public policy.”
This case was not handled by our firm. However, if you have any questions regarding this case, or any employment matter, please contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.
If you feel you have been mistreated by your employer or in your place of employment and would like to explore your employment law options, contact the experienced employment law attorneys today at 203-221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.
Source: Copney v. Yale New Haven Hosp., 1997 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3396 (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 22, 1997)
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