Sunday, December 24, 2006

Braxton v. Domino's Pizza, LLC (Maryland U.S.D.C.)(not approved for publication)

Decided December 21, 2006--Opinion by Judge Richard D. Bennett (not approved for publication)

Employment discrimination case alleging, inter alia, numerous violations of 42 U.S.C. §§2000e, et seq. and 42 U.S.C. §1981, as well as breach of contract and tort claims based on the law of the State of Maryland. Among the claims were a count asserting a cause of action for negligent supervision and a count claiming wrongful discharge, i.e., that the plaintiff's discharge violated Maryland public policy. The Court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss as to these claims.
  1. In order to prove a cause of action for either negligent hiring, supervision or retention, a plaintiff must establish that her injury was caused by the tortious conduct of a coworker, that the employer knew or should have known by the exercise of diligence and reasonable care that the coworker was capable of inflicting harm of some type, that the employer failed to use proper care in selecting, supervising or retaining that employee, and that the employer's breach of its duty was the proximate cause of the Plaintiff's injuries. Because negligent supervision claims "existed at common law" in Maryland, such claims therefore "may only be predicated on common law causes of action." Claims for racial discrimination under 42 U.S.C. §1981 did not exist at common law. Thus, the plaintiff's claim for negligent supervision must fail.

  2. To sustain a claim for wrongful discharge, the employee must show that (1) he was discharged; (2) the basis for his discharge violates some clear mandate of public policy; and (3) there is a nexus between the employee’s conduct and the employer's decision to fire the employee. See Wholey v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 803 A.2d 482, 489 (Md. 2002). Whether public policy considerations constitute a clear mandate of public policy is a
    question of law. Id. at 487 (citations omitted). Plaintiff's contention that she was improperly terminated for complaining that her supervisor failed to adequately address security concerns in connection with the conduct of a former employee does not jeopardize a clear mandate of public policy.

The full opinion is available in PDF.

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