SW Legal studies in Business

Delaware Recognizes Action for Breach of Covenant of Good Faith in At-Will Employment
Description The Delaware high court held that in a case where a woman contended that the only reason she was fired was for failure to submit to sexual advances of her superior, she has a common law cause of action for a breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing in employment.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words At-Will; Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing; Sexual Harassment
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Schuster worked as an at-will employee for Derocili, the president of a company. She contended that during the 15 months she worked for Derocili, he made numerous sexual comments to her and touched her inappropriately, despite her repeated rejections. Despite good job evaluations and promotions, she was fired for unsatisfactory performance. Her complaint of sexual harassment, made to the Delaware Department of Labor, was rejected as unsubstantiated. She then sued Derocili for breach of contract in the employment relationship. The trial court dismissed the case. Schuster appealed.
Decision Reversed. Delaware recognizes a common law cause of action for a breach of a covenant of good faith and fair dealing implied in an at-will employment contract based upon a termination alleged to have resulted from a refusal to condone sexual advances. The alleged action is a violation of public policy that would not be condoned. Schuster had a responsibility to combat sexual harassment in her workplace, so the case may proceed.
Citation Schuster v. Derocili, - A.2d - (2001 WL 682105, Sup. Ct., Del., 2001)

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