Schumann v. Dianon Sys., Inc.Annotate this Case
Plaintiff G. Berry Schumann, a twelve year employee of Defendant, Dianon Systems, brought a complaint against Defendant alleging a violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-51q and common-law wrongful termination of employment for an adverse employment action Defendant took against Plaintiff in response to speech made during the course of Plaintiff's job duties. The trial court found in favor of Plaintiff. At issue on appeal was whether the rule in Garcetti v. Ceballos, which states that public employees who make statements pursuant to their official duties are not insulated from employer discipline for First Amendment purposes, is applicable in an action brought against a private employer pursuant to section 31-51q. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the rule in Garcetti applies to claims under section 31-51q grounded in the First Amendment that are brought against private employers; and (2) Plaintiff's speech was in the course of his employment duties for Defendant and, therefore, was not entitled to First Amendment protection under Garcetti. Remanded with direction to render judgment for Defendant on the claim under section 31-51q and for a new trial limited to Plaintiff's common-law wrongful termination claim.