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Virginia Supreme Court Applies Favorable Causation Standard to Wrongful Discharge Claims

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In a common law wrongful discharge action in which plaintiffs allege that they were terminated for disclosing their supervisor’s unprovoked attacks on Iraqui civilians, the Virginia Supreme Court held that the trial judge erred in instructing the jury that the plaintiff must prove that their former employer’s illegal motive for terminating them was the sole cause of the termination decision.  Instead, plaintiffs can prevail by demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that the termination occurred because of factors that violate Virginia’s public policy. 

The Order in Schmidt, et al. v. Triple Canopy, Inc., No. 072556, (Va., December 12, 2008) is available here.  For information on The Employment Law Group® law firm’s Wrongful Termination practice, click here.

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