When my book on the subject, Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World, appeared in 1992, I was interviewed frequently by journalists on the subject of civility. At first I was surprised by how often they wanted to talk, not about the “big” incivilities of tribal and international hostilities, but about more mundane displays of anger: road rage on California freeways and rudeness in the aisles of supermarkets. But they were onto something. These less global manifestations of incivility have increasingly become preoccupations for all of us. Kids in middle-class schools are driven to the point of suicide because of bullying by their peers. Campus gossip sites spread salacious stories about students who are identified by name. Bloggers sit daily at their keyboards to spew forth hatred. “Experts” shout at each other on our 24/7 cable news channels.
Daily Archives: November 23, 2010
WI Supreme Court Upholds Decision in Favor of Employees Fired By Employers Looking to Avoid Benefit Payments
This Wisconsin State Bar article describes a recent WI Supreme Court case, US Bank, the outcome of which I think is very helpful for diverse employee benefits situations. The WI SC was split (the even # was due to Justice Annette Ziegler not participating), and the appellate decision in favor of the employee thus stands.
The upheld appellate holding: “an at will employee does not forfeit benefits [in this case, a vested sales-related bonus per a bonus plan] that have accrued during his or her employment even though the agreement governing those benefits conditions their receipt on the employee’s continued employment if the employer fires the employee solely to prevent the employee from getting the accrued benefits.”
The appellate court (full decision here) relatedly found:
While it is true, as U.S. Bank argues, that in the at-will-employee context there is no “duty to terminate in good faith,” Brockmeyer v. Dun & Bradstreet, 113 Wis. 2d 561, 564, 569, 335 N.W.2d 834, 836, 838 (1983) (at-will employee) (emphasis added), the requirement that parties act in “good faith” inheres in every contract and, therefore, an employer must comply in good faith with its “contractual obligations,” Hale v. Stoughton Hosp. Ass’n, Inc., 126 Wis. 2d 267, 274, 376 N.W.2d 89, 93 (Ct. App. 1985) (“Brockmeyer does not relieve an employer of contractual obligations it has undertaken.”).