Even Legal Off-Duty Marijuana Use Can Get You Fired

Marijuana legalization is a hot topic in the United States these days and has presented some interesting new questions in the workplace. Increasingly, states are legalizing or decriminalizing private use of marijuana while the federal government continues to prohibit its use and sale under the Controlled Substances Act. At the intersection of federalism and employment law is a novel question in search of an answer: Can an employer in a state that has legalized marijuana terminate an employee in that …
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Emotional Distress Damages Allowed in Wrongful Discharge Suit

While North Carolina follows the employment at will doctrine, North Carolina courts recognize specific exceptions to that doctrine based upon a violation of public policy. If an employer terminates an employee for reasons that violate a specific expression of state public policy, the plaintiff may pursue a wrongful discharge claim to remedy the personal injury suffered. Very recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals analyzed the kinds of damages that a jury may award in a successful wrongful discharge action. …
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Wrongful Discharge Claims Under North Carolina Law Must Plead a Specific Public Policy Basis to Avoid a Motion to Dismiss

In the recent case of Horne v. Cumberland County Hosp. Sys., 2013 N.C. App. LEXIS 720 (2013), the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that when a plaintiff alleges wrongful termination in violation of the state’s public policy, the complaint must allege “specific conduct by a defendant that violated a specific expression of North Carolina public policy.” (quoting Considine v. Compass Grp. USA, Inc., 145 N.C. App. 314, 321-22, 551 S.E.2d 179, 184 (emphasis added), aff’d per curiam, 354 N.C. 568, 557 S.E.2d 528 (2001)).  The court further explained that …
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