In Franco v. Lipposcience, Inc., the North Carolina Supreme Court affirmed per curiam an NC Court of Appeals decision regarding employment at will. The COA had issued a split-decision earlier this year, with Judge Wynn writing for the majority and Judge Erwin dissenting. The plaintiff, who had been the VP of Marketing, was terminated and sought to bring a breach of contract claim. At issue was whether he had a partial employment contract, or whether he was an ordinary at-will employee.
Most employees are employed at will, which means they can be fired for almost any reason and without regard to the quality of their performance. There are three general exceptions: (1) the employee has a contract with the employer, either individually or through a labor union; (2) federal and state statutes have created exceptions prohibiting employers from discharging employees based on impermissible considerations such as the employee’s age, race, sex, religion, national origin, or disability, or in retaliation for filing certain claims against the employer; and (3) the state courts have created a public-policy exception to the employment-at-will rule.
Categories: Judicial Decisions