Chipman v. Northwest Healthcare Corp.Annotate this Case
In the 1990s, Defendants (Employers) created a sick-leave policy allowing employees to bank their sick leave in a continued illness bank (CIB). In 2002, Employers modified the terms of the CIB to create the CIB pay-out benefit, which allowed a capped amount of unused CIB hours to be paid to departing employees who completed twenty-five years or more of service. In 2008, Employers terminated the CIB pay-out benefit, and only employees who had reached twenty-five years of employment with Employers were entitled to their earned but unused CIB hours upon termination. Plaintiffs in this case represented employees who had not reached twenty-five years of service before the benefit ended. Plaintiffs brought a class action complaint against Employers. The district court granted summary judgment for Employers. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in determining that (1) Employers’ policies did not constitute a standardized group employment contract; (2) the CIB pay-out benefit was not deferred compensation or wages under the Montana Wage and Wage Protection Act; and (3) the covenant of good faith and fair dealing did not apply to Plaintiffs’ claims.