Rulon-Miller v. IBM Corp.
Court of Appeal of California
208 Cal. Rptr. 524 (Cal. Ct. App. 1984)
Virginia Rulon-Miller (plaintiff) was a low-level manager responsible for selling typewriters and office equipment for International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) (defendant). Rulon-Miller was in a relationship with Matt Blum, a former IBM account manager who had left to work for an IBM competitor. The fact that Rulon-Miller and Blum were dating was well known throughout the IBM organization. Rulon-Miller performed well at her job and was given a merit-based raise in 1979. One week after the raise, Rulon-Miller’s manager, Phillip Callahan, inquired about her relationship with Blum. Rulon-Miller asserted her right to privacy based on IBM’s employment policies. An IBM memorandum that had been circulated to IBM managers stated that IBM was only concerned with an employee’s off-the-job behavior if the behavior interfered with the employee’s ability to perform or seriously affected the reputation of IBM. IBM also had policies governing conflicts of interest. These policies regulated employees’ moonlighting activities and employees’ associations where the activities or associations affected the employees’ ability to exercise good judgment. IBM did not have any policies specifically regulating romantic relationships with the employees of its competitors. Callahan asserted that Rulon-Miller’s relationship with Blum was a conflict of interest and consequently terminated Rulon-Miller’s employment. Rulon-Miller sued for wrongful discharge and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury in trial court found in favor of Rulon-Miller. IBM appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rushing, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 174,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.