Judge rules that Sioux Falls man shouldn't have been fired for testifying at the Legislature
Arthur J. Gallagher Co. fired executive who testified in favor of transparency for taxpayers
A lawsuit filed by a Sioux Falls insurance executive who was fired after he testified in favor of a bill in the South Dakota Legislature will move forward after a judge refused to throw it out.
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. had asked for a summary judgement in the lawsuit filed by Tim Donohue. The company argued that it could discharge Donohue because South Dakota is an at-will employment state, meaning employment in which there is not a contract setting out a specific term can be terminated by either party.
But U.S. District Court Judge Karen Schreier noted that the South Dakota Supreme Court has set out exceptions to at-will employment that make employers liable if they fire an employee for reasons set out in the exceptions. Employees can’t be fired for refusing to break the law, filing a work compensation claim or for whistleblowing. The South Dakota Supreme Court has also recognized a “public policy principle” that protects workers from discharge.