About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

21 N.C. Cent. L.J. 54 (1995)
Wrongful Discharge and the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act: The Localization of Federal Discrimination Law

handle is hein.journals/ncclj21 and id is 60 raw text is: WRONGFUL DISCHARGE AND THE
In 1989, when the North Carolina Supreme Court first explicitly
recognized the tort of wrongful discharge in Coman v. Thomas Manu-
facturing Co.,' Justice Meyer complained in his dissent that the ma-
jority has outraced even the California court in the development of
exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine.2 In the five years since
Coman, North Carolina has indeed sprinted ahead of other states in
increasing the availability of wrongful discharge remedies for employ-
ees claiming termination of their employment in violation of public
policy. What began as a narrow erosion of the employment-at-will
doctrine3 is on the verge of becoming part of virtually every lawsuit
arising out of termination of employment4 or refusal to hire.5
One of the principal vehicles responsible for the increased impor-
tance of the tort of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy has
been the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act [hereinaf-
ter EEPA],6 which declares it a public policy to protect and safeguard
the right and opportunity of all persons to seek, obtain and hold em-
ployment without discrimination or abridgement on account of race,
religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap.... 7 The EEPA,
* Andrew B. Cohen is an attorney practicing labor and employment law with Moore &
Van Allen in Durham, North Carolina. Mr. Cohen received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in
1985 and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1989.
1. 325 N.C. 172, 381 S.E.2d 445 (1989).
2. Id. at 186, 381 S.E.2d at 453 (Meyer, J., dissenting).
3. Burgess v. Your House of Raleigh, Inc., 326 N.C. 205, 210, 388 S.E.2d 134, 137 (1990)
(This doctrine has recently been narrowly eroded by statutory and public policy limitations on
its scope.).
4. See, e.g., Percell v. International Business Machines, Inc., 765 F. Supp. 297, 300
(E.D.N.C. 1991).
5. See, e.g., Bass v. City of Wilson, 835 F. Supp. 255 (E.D.N.C. 1993) (allowing a pendent
state claim to proceed under a theory of wrongful refusal to hire in violation of North Carolina's
public policy against age discrimination).
6. N.C. GEN. STAT. § 143-422.1 to 422.3 (1993).
7. Article 49A of the North Carolina General Statutes states in full:
§ 143-422.1. SHORT TrrLE.

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most