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Public Policy Exception to At-Will Employment Applies Despite Specific Notification Term in Employment Contract
Description South Carolina high court held that the public policy exception to at-will employment applies in instances in which an employment contract specifies that either party may terminate the relationship with 30-days written notice "for any reason."
Topic Employment Law
Key Words At-Will Employment; Public Policy Exception
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Stiles worked for AGLIC and signed an agreement that allowed either party to terminate employment "for any reason" with 30-days written notice. Stiles was fired with the required notice after he reported what he contended to be illegal practices by his employer. He sued for breach of contract, contending that the public policy exception to employment-at-will prevents his dismissal. The district court certified a question to the high court of South Carolina to ask if the public policy exception to at-will employment applies in such an instance.
Decision "To hold that because an at-will employee is employed under a termination notice provision, the employee is not entitled to bring an action for retaliatory discharge in violation of public policy violates the spirit of the public policy exception. Accordingly, the public policy exception is extended to at-will employees under notice provisions."
Citation Stiles v. American General Life Insurance Co., Slip Copy (1999 WL 326185, Sup. Ct., S.C.)

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