Business Climate, Capitol Connection, Workforce Readiness|

We will be watching this employment-based argument and providing a summarized report next week on how employers and employees are impacted.

As part of the Montana Chamber of Commerce’s mission to be your eyes and ears on business issues. Beginning at 9:30 AM this Friday, September 23rd, there is a rare oral argument in the Montana Supreme Court on our unique Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act (WDEA).

The WDEA governs how employers end the employment relationship, sets limitations on damages employees can seek, and allows for probationary periods for the hiring of new employees.

In the case of Smith v. Charter Communications, Inc., the Court will be looking at a specific question of whether an employer can introduce reasons for ending someone’s employment in a WDEA court case if those reasons were not specifically mentioned in a termination letter. A previous case in 1995 said no, but the Montana Chamber helped amend the WDEA law in 1999 to eliminate the requirement for a “full” statement and specifically stating the letter does not limit an employer from presenting a “full defense” in any WDEA action.

We will be watching this argument on Friday of this week and reporting back to you on what kinds of questions are asked by the justices with our own analysis. A ruling on the question may not come out for several months. The Montana Chamber of Commerce is your advocate for all branches of government around the clock.

Link to live stream the argument:

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