Employee Awarded $100,000 In Wrongful Discharge Claim
In the case of Gaudio v. Griffin Health Servs. Corp, an employer appealed a decision of the Superior Court which ruled in favor of its employment for alleged claims of wrongful termination and harassment. The employer sought review of the claims, as well as the employee’s award for damages. There are two types of injury in law: (1) economic damages; and (2) noneconomic damages. Economic damages are compensation for monetary expenses related to an injury, such as medical costs and even lost wages. These damages are easily verified by medical bills, invoices, and employment records. Noneconomic damages compensate individuals for non-monetary losses, which are not readily quantifiable. Examples include pain-and-suffering, loss of future enjoyment, and loss of companionship. These damages are subjective, and determined by the jury or finder of fact.
The employer presented multiple issues for review, in its appeal from a judgment entered in favor of the employee, in a suit alleging wrongful discharge and defamation. The court affirmed the verdict, but revisited the subject of economic damages awarded. The court reasoned that the employer’s employee manual contained language from which the jury reasonably could have inferred the presence of an implied contract not to terminate the employee except for just cause, and that the testimony of other hospital employees confirmed this interpretation. The court found that the jury reasonably concluded that the employer committed a breach, and that the trial court correctly instructed the jury thereon. The court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that statements made by the employer in a letter terminating the employee’s employment were made maliciously, or for an improper motive. The court stated that employee’s noneconomic damages were compensable and were not excessive. However, the court remanded for a reconsideration of the economic damages awarded, as this aspect of the verdict did not reflect the requisite quantum of reasonable certainty.
The court affirmed the judgment in favor of employee, upon a finding that jury reasonably reached the conclusion that employee’s employment contract was an implied contract not to terminate except for just cause, and that the employer breached the contract. The court remanded for a review of the economic damages award, as the jury's award was without a substantial basis in the record. The noneconomic damages award of $100,000 was upheld, and found proper by the court.
If you feel you have been mistreated by your employer or in your place of employment and would like to explore your employment law options, contact the experienced employment law attorneys today at 203-221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com. We have the experience and knowledge you need at this critical juncture. We serve clients in both New York and Connecticut including New Canaan, Bridgeport, White Plains, and Darien.
Source: Gaudio v. Griffin Health Servs. Corp., 249 Conn. 523, 733 A.2d 197, 1999 Conn. LEXIS 246, 15 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 634 (Conn. 1999)
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