(CN) – A Missouri temp worker can sue his former employer for allegedly firing him for refusing to bribe a supervisor who remarked that a flat-screen TV “would look nice on his wall,” the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled.
In his wrongful termination lawsuit against Bodine Aluminum, Schneider Hughes said that his supervisor, Anthony Dismuke, fired him for refusing to bribe Dismuke and other supervisors.
At a Super Bowl party at Dismuke’s house, Dismuke allegedly asked Hughes if he wanted to become a permanent employee.
“Dismuke then commented that a flat-screen television would look nice on his wall,” the ruling states.
Several months later, Dismuke allegedly asked him, “What about that TV?”
When Hughes refused to buy the TV or a 12-pack of beer for another supervisor, he was fired, ostensibly for his “unsatisfactory work performance.” He filed an internal complaint that day.
Dismuke was fired after a company investigation revealed that he had been “involved in soliciting and receiving favors from temporaries in exchange for improved employment stability.”
The trial court dismissed Hughes’ wrongful discharge lawsuit, but the appeals court reversed, saying “the facts alleged by Hughes violate a strong mandate of public policy against bribery.”
“Hughes presented evidence sufficient to create a material issue of disputed fact that his refusal to engage in a violation of public policy was a contributing factor in the discharge,” the court concluded.