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8th Circuit rules on preemption

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in Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a state’s employment laws barring discharge for whistleblowing isn’t preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act.

Recent case: John worked as a flight paramedic for Air Methods. He claims that while employed he saw numerous Airline Deregulation Act violations, including a pilot making cell-phone videos in flight and other crew members texting during critical times.

When he told his employer, he claims, he was fired. He sued, alleging that his dis­­­­charge violated his state’s public policy exception to at-will employment. That is, he wanted the court to find that he had been fired in retaliation for whistleblowing.

The court concluded that the Air­line Deregulation Act, a federal law designed to regulate air travel, did not preempt a state law protecting employees. His case can go forward. (Watson v. Air Methods, 8th Cir., 2017)

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