No Wrongful Discharge Claim for Firing of Employee/Shareholder in Retaliation for Her Exercise of Her Statutory Inspection Rights

No Wrongful Discharge Claim for Firing of Employee/Shareholder in Retaliation for Her Exercise of Her Statutory Inspection Rights

 You probably know that North Carolina is an employment-at-will state.  That means that in the absence of any employment contract, you can be fired from your job at any time, for good reason, no reason at all, or even a bad reason.

There's a skinny exception to that rule: that an employee cannot be terminated for a purpose that contravenes public policy.  So here's a head-scratcher for you: can a company terminate an employee for exercising her statutory right as a shareholder to inspect the company's books and records?

That was an issue before the Business Court in Brady v. Van Vlaanderen, 2013 NCBC 37 [an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers], in which the Plaintiff, a minority shareholder and employee of a corporation called United Tool, said she was terminated in retaliation for attempting to exercise her shareholder rights to inspect the corporation's records.

Judge Gale dismissed her wrongful discharge claim in an Order last week, relying on two out-of- state cases. 

Read this article in its entirety on North Carolina Business Litigation Report, a blog for lawyers focusing on issues of North Carolina business law and the day-to-day practice of business litigation in North Carolina courts.