South-Western Legal Studies in Business

No Public Policy Exception for Retaliatory Failure to Hire

Appeals court held that under Kentucky law there is no public policy exception to employment-at-will when an employer refuses to hire a person in retaliation for previous employment litigation.

Topic Employment Law
Key Words

Employment-at-will; Termination; Retaliation; Public Policy

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

Baker was fired by the Campbell County Board of Education for allegedly inducing school bus drivers to join him in refusing to work. He sued, contending that his rights for a post-termination hearing were violated. He won the suit and was awarded $60,000. He applied for a job as a part-time teacher. One school was ready to hire him when the superintendent said no. Baker sued, contending he was not hired in retaliation for having filed the previous suit. The trial court dismissed the suit. Baker appealed.


Affirmed. Employment in Kentucky is, generally, at-will, meaning that ordinarily an employer may discharge an employee for good cause, for no cause, or for a cause that some might view as morally indefensible. No cause of action exists for retaliatory failure to hire under the public policy of Kentucky for purposes of the public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine.


Baker v. Campbell County Board of Education, ---S.W.3d--- (2005 WL 2807170, Ct. App., Ky., 2005)

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