Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nebraska Supreme Court rules that whistleblowers' retaliatory discharge claims are subject to the general four year statute of limitations and not the 300 day limitations for fair employment practices claims; court allows mental suffering damages without proof of accompanying medical diagnoses because the whistleblower's cause of action is an intentio Wendeln v. Beatrice Manor, 271 Neb. 373 Filed April 7, 2006. No. S-05-188. We agree that a public policy-based retaliatory discharge claim is based in tort. Accordingly, such a claim is governed by the general 4-year statute of limitations period found in § 25-207. Wendeln's claim is not barred by the applicable statute of limitations. a public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine applies to allow a cause of action for retaliatory discharge when an employee is fired for making a report of abuse as mandated by the APSA. Having made such a determination, we examine Beatrice Manor's remaining assignments of error regarding "good faith" and noneconomic damages.nal tort As in the tort of battery considered in Kant v. Altayar, supra, and unlike the torts of negligent or intentional emotional distress, severe emotional distress is not an element of the tort of retaliatory discharge in contravention of public policy. Accordingly, there is no threshold limitation based upon the degree of severity of the mental suffering, nor is it necessary to show that the plaintiff sought medical treatment or counseling for the mental suffering in order for it to be recoverable as past and present damages. We find that mental suffering is simply an aspect of providing full recovery for the wrong, where present, and there is no rational reason to confine such full recovery to those former employees whose mental suffering has been severe.

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