Emplyment Law

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GREEN V. RALEE ENGINEERING COMPANY 78 Cal. Rptr.2d 16 (Cal.1998) Richard Green worked for Ralee Engineering as a quality control inspector for 23 years. Ralee supplied airplane assembly companies with airplane parts. Green noticed that Ralee Engineering was shipping parts to airline companies that his inspection team failed during inspection. For two years Richard Green complained to his managers and even brought this problem to the attention of the company president. In 1991 Ralee dismissed Green due to a lack of business, after 23 years of employment.

Green was an at-will employee, meaning that the employer has the right to terminate the employee at any time with out reason, but may not terminate an employee based on race, gender, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Green felt that he was terminated in retaliation from Ralee because of Green's complaints about the safety violations. Green felt that this discharge fell within the exception of at-will employment and that tort damages were provided because he was discharged for a reason that violated public policy.

Green felt that he had a public policy case because his termination fell into one of the four categories of public policy: (4) a statutory violation for the publics benefit. He used the argument of the public safety was in danger if these faulty parts were to be installed on airlines. Green also felt that there were a lot of inspectors that were retained, that were a lot less experienced than Green, so he filed a wrongful discharge suit based on this claim.

This case was decided by the California Supreme Court. The court needed to decide if airline parts fall within the public policy objectives. In the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 Congress declared the public interest in commercial air safety. The court felt that the...