HB 0561 Relating to Certain Employment Rights
Sponsor:BRAY Handling House Bill:
Committee:LOGO LR Number:L1312.01I
Last Action:02/13/95 - Referred H Labor Committee
Effective Date:
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Current Bill Summary

HB0561 Bray, Joan


HB 561 -- Employment Rights

This bill establishes a cause of action for wrongful discharge. Employees may sue for wrongful discharge: if they are fired for refusing to violate public policy or for reporting the employer's violation of public policy; if the employer violated its own written personnel policy; or the employer deviates from a customary practice used for dismissal of employees.

An employee may be fired at will during a probationary period, which may not exceed 12 months. An employee does not have to have actual knowledge of the employer's written personnel policy to claim a violation of that policy. An employer may amend or revoke its personnel policy, but must give reasonable prior notice. Employees who have detrimentally relied upon a policy will continue to be protected by that policy.

Damages available for an employee when the employer violates its own personnel policy or customary practices regarding dismissal, include back wages and benefits, plus interest, and up to one year of future wages and benefits. The employee has a duty to attempt to mitigate damages by seeking other employment with reasonable diligence. The court may award attorneys' fees, court costs, and relocation expenses. Punitive damages are available when the employer engages in fraud or exhibits malice or recklessly disregards the rights of an employee. When an employee is fired for refusing to violate public policy or for reporting such activity, the employee may also be awarded damages for emotional pain and suffering.

Employers subject to the bill include those employing 15 or more people at least 20 weeks per year, and all employees of the state and its political subdivisions. The bill excludes federal employees, all employees working under a collective bargaining agreement, and all employees in their probationary period. Public employees must exhaust all possible administrative remedies before seeking relief pursuant to the bill. A complaint must be filed within one year of the date of discharge. The complainant may demand a jury trial.