Answering a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the Virginia Supreme Court held last week that “Virginia recognizes a common law tort claim of wrongful discharge in violation of established public policy against an individual who was not the plaintiff’s actual employer but who was the actor in violation of public policy and who participated in the wrongful firing of the plaintiff, such as a supervisor or manager.” VanBuren v. Grubb, No. 120348, slip op. at 11-12 (Va. Nov. 1, 2012). That decision, in line with similar decisions in the District of Columbia, Arizona, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is in conflict with the Fourth Circuit’s longstanding position that individual supervisors cannot be held personally liable for unlawful discharges under Title VII. See Lissau v. Southern Food Serv., Inc., 159 F.3d 177, 181 (4th Cir. 1998).
Continue Reading Virginia Joins Six Other States in Finding Supervisors Liable for Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy