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Van Burn v. Grubb

August 5, 2020

Plaintiff filed claims against her employer under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and also under Virginia common law for wrongful discharge after being fired following repeated refusals of advances by a supervisor.  Plaintiff also sued her supervisor for wrongful discharge even though the supervisor was not Plaintiff’s actual employer.  Defendant supervisor argued that liability must end with the employer as only the employer can fire an employee.  The Supreme Court of Virginia disagreed, finding that the tortious act is not the discharge itself but the wrongful reasons behind the discharge.  The court concluded that supervisor liability best serves public policy, such that individual employees who are in a position of power are penalized when they engage in tortious conduct.