Fitzgerald v. Salsbury Chemical, Inc.
Iowa Supreme Court
613 N.W.2d 275 (2000)
Tom Fitzgerald (plaintiff) worked for Salsbury Chemical, Incorporated (Salsbury) (defendant) as a production foreman. Fitzgerald supervised Richard Koresh, a production worker. On August 15, 1995, Koresh provided deposition testimony for a wrongful-death action brought by the estate of a former Salsbury employee, John Kelly, who died due to an explosion at the plant. Koresh’s testimony was adverse to Salsbury. After the deposition, Koresh felt shunned by management and was told by a foreman that Salsbury was going to find a way to fire him. On August 30, Koresh was involved in an incident that created a potentially dangerous condition. Koresh was suspended on September 4 and subsequently terminated on September 19. The plant operations manager had discussed the matter of Koresh’s discipline with Fitzgerald on the day of Koresh’s termination. Fitzgerald expressed that he thought it was unfair to fire Koresh for his one mistake taking into consideration his many years of service to the company. The manager told Fitzgerald to figure out which side he was on because the matter would potentially result in a lawsuit. Salsbury terminated Fitzgerald several hours after this conversation. Fitzgerald filed an action for wrongful discharge, alleging Salsbury had terminated him in violation of public policy because he opposed the unlawful termination of Koresh and intended to provide truthful testimony in potential court proceedings. The trial court dismissed Fitzgerald’s claim. Fitzgerald appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Cady, J.)
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