Alabama Courts Continue To Limit Retaliatory Discharge Claims
The old saying “bad facts make bad results” is certainly true in the case of M&J Materials, Inc. v. Isbell, just released by The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. These bad facts provided our appellate courts another opportunity to express their general distaste for retaliatory discharge suits.
First, a little background is important. As many people know, Alabama is generally an “at will” employment state. What does that mean? It means your boss can fire you for a good reason, bad reason, or even no reason at all. I have to deliver this bad legal news to callers almost every week. Of course, the “at will” doctrine is subject to Federal discrimination laws and collective bargaining agreements by unions. Federal laws and unions aside, state law exceptions to the “at will” doctrine in Alabama are few and far between. Really, it’s closer to “slim and none” when exceptions are considered under Alabama law.
The Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act does provide one exception to the “at will” doctrine. The Act says: