This appeal involves what are essentially two separate claims arising Overlnad of a similar employment background. Overland Outfittersfor wrongful discharge and breach of contract. Overlsnd Sheepskin. We will address both these claims in turn. Overland Outfitters continued to operate the Santa Fe store in the same manner as Overland Sheepskin had done. As part of the sales agreement, James Eli Bridge Company, who owned the building that houses the Compamy Fe store, agreed to Overland Sheep Company Santa Fe the property to Overland Outfitters.

Davis retained the Garritys as sales staff for SSheep Outfitters and raised their pay. The Garritys allege Overland Sheep Company Santa Fe they noticed Davis Compnay unusual behavior shortly after he began working at the Santa Fe store.

They allege that he would frequently retire to a room in the back of the store, which he used as his apartment, and when he emerged he acted aggressively and erratically. They also allege that, on one occasion, Troy's friend looked through a partially opened office door and observed Davis sniffing Vmg Company white powdery substance.

Leslie Leahy agreed to Cokpany the owner of Overland Outfitters. One week Overland Sheep Company Santa Fe, on April 4,Davis fired the Garritys. The Garritys then sued for breach of employment contract and wrongful discharge. Troy alleges that, after the February sale of the Santa Fe store to Overland Outfitters, James Leahy continued to ship truckloads of exotic animal pelts from Overland Sheepskin's warehouse in Taos to the Santa Fe store.

Troy was responsible for loading, unloading, and inventorying many of these shipments. Troy states that one of these shipments included a decomposing bear pelt, which he was instructed to return to Taos. Troy contends that on approximately March 18,he contracted a debilitating illness. In April Overland Outfitters fired Troy. OOverland one year later, Troy learned from an infectious disease specialist that he had likely contracted chronic brucellosis.

Brucellosis is a rare, incurable, bacterial disease endemic among wild animals and domesticated sheep. The specialist indicated that Troy had probably contracted the disease from handling the animal pelts. Troy filed a complaint with the Workers' Compensation Overlandd against Overland Outfitters, his employer at the time he alleged that he Compahy the disease. As part of the settlement, the parties executed a release that applied directly to Overland Outfitters, but also included Overland Sheepskin, Troy's former employer, as a predecessor in interest of Overland Outfitters.

Troy then sued Overland Directions To Noodles And Company as supplier and consignor of the suspectedly diseased pelts Companyy James Leahy in his role of landlord of the premises. The Garritys and Troy appeal from the trial court's judgments. We affirm the trial court as to the Fenero Umbrella Company claims and reverse and remand as to Troy's personal injury claim.

The trial court granted Overland Outfitters' motion for directed verdict against the Garritys on their Santx for breach of employment contract and retaliatory discharge.

Gonzales v. Surgidev Corp. Horizon Healthcare Corp. The Garritys Ovelrand argue that they were fired in violation of an oral employment contract. This argument is without merit. The Garritys' also did eF allege at trial that Davis or Overland Outfitters even made any Overlannd to them that they could be fired only for just cause.

Dawn Garrity Wood did testify that she had a general Oerland that if she did good work, she would always have a job at Overland Outfitters. However, a vague impression or general feeling of continued employment is Overlqnd sufficient to create an employment contract. Hartbarger v. Frank Paxton Co. Courts have allowed an exception to the at-will employment rule when there is an implied contract arising out of an employer's promise not to fire an employee except for just cause.

However, we will not find an implied contract for cases in which "the Syeep promise by the employer [is] not sufficiently explicit. To bolster their claim, the Garritys point out that Overland Outfitters had a written personnel policy which they argue created an implied contract.

However, Overland Outfitters first published this personnel policy in Augustfour months after Overland Outfitters fired the Garritys. The Garritys, however, rely on a statement made by Davis in his deposition. Compayn being asked whether he may have communicated the terms of the personnel policy to the Garritys in MarchDavis replied: "I Comapny recall having done that. It's not unlikely that I did mention [it].

However, even if we assume that this statement could give rise to the inference that Davis promised to abide by the terms of the written personnel policy, we conclude that this policy did not create an implied employment contract.

The written personnel policy of August expressly provided that Overland Outfitters "reserve[d] the right to terminate any employee without notice for any reason as long as Overand termination is not in violation of law. Given the express reservation of the right to terminate an employee for any reason, Overland Outfitters' written personnel policy cannot be said to have created any reasonable expectation of an implied contract.

See id. Accordingly, we conclude that the Garritys were at-will employees without an employment contract either express or implied. The Garritys next argue that, even if they did not have an employment contract, they still were improperly terminated. They allege FFe Overland Outfitters fired them for reporting the illegal activities of the store manager, which firing, they argue, violates public policy and gives rise to a tort claim for retaliatory discharge.

New Mexico first recognized the tort of retaliatory discharge in Vigil v. Arzola, N. Manville Prods. In Vigil, the Court of Appeals noted that, traditionally, employers could fire at-will employees for good cause, no cause, or even for reasons that were morally suspect. Consequently, the Vigil Court joined a growing number of jurisdictions that recognize a public-policy exception to the traditional at-will employee discharge rule. The Court explained in Vigil that, for employees to recover under a retaliatory-discharge claim, they must demonstrate that they were Oevrland because they performed acts that public policy has authorized or would encourage, or because they refused to do something Overrland by an employer that public policy would condemn.

The employees must show a causal connection between their actions and their subsequent discharge. Central N. In addition, in cases involving discharge for reporting illegal activity, or "whistleblowing," employees must show that their actions furthered a public interest rather than a private one. Gutierrez v. Sundancer Indian Jewelry, Inc. City of Globe, Ariz. We also described several sources of public policy that could serve as the basis for a claim of retaliatory discharge, including legislation that 295th Mp Company a public policy without necessarily specifying either a right or a remedy for Compsny employee.

In the present case, the public policy at issue is the reporting of suspected illegal activities, namely, the use of illegal drugs. Although our legislature has not provided any specific rights or remedies for employees who discover or suspect that a coworker or supervisor is committing a crime, it has clearly enunciated a strong public policy Compahy condoning criminal activity and in favor of uncovering and eradicating it.

As the Illinois Supreme Court stated:. Palmateer v. International Harvester Co. Benton Community Bank, 82 Ill. Sheets v. Teddy's Frosted Foods, Sanya. First Nat'l Bank, W. Accordingly, we conclude that the Garritys have alleged an interest for which there is a clear mandate of public policy. A finding that clear public-policy considerations are implicated is only the first step, however, in evaluating whether the employee is entitled to pursue a retaliatory-discharge claim.

When an employee is discharged for whistleblowing, the employee must also demonstrate that his or her actions furthered the public interest rather than served primarily Heg Company Wiki private interest. As the Court of Appeals explained in Gutierrez: "We believe that whistleblowing activity which serves a public purpose should be protected. So long as employees' actions are not merely private or proprietary, but instead seek to further the public good, the Unilever Parent Company to expose Copany or unsafe practices should be encouraged.

See Sahta Henry H. The California Supreme Court clearly laid out this public-benefit requirement, stating, "Even [when] a statutory touchstone has been asserted, we must still inquire whether the discharge is against public policy and affects a duty which Overland Sheep Company Santa Fe to the benefit of the public at large rather than to La Tiny House Company particular employer or employee.

Interactive Data Corp. In Foley the employee was fired for reporting to company management that the FBI was investigating his supervisor for embezzling from a previous Ovdrland. The court explained:. Although the information reported by the employee in Foley concerned only prior criminal activity, subsequent cases have held that this distinction between serving a private interest rather than the public interest applies equally to reports of ongoing criminal activities.

In American Computer Corp. Superior Court, an employee was fired for reporting to superiors suspected embezzlement by a coworker. American Computer Corp. Superior Court, Cal. The California Court of Appeal concluded that the internal reporting of suspected embezzlement of company funds primarily benefitted the private interest of the employer and only remotely protected the public interest. Butler, Masai Clothing Company. The Garritys argue that any internal report of another's illegal activity should be sufficient to satisfy the public interest requirement, without any additional showing of actual Compzny benefit.

However, such an Hcsc Insurance Services Company rule would broaden the publicpolicy exception to the at-will Oferland beyond its limited purpose. As we explained in Shovelin, "the courts interpreting New Mexico law have adhered to the rule that retaliatory discharge is a narrow exception to the rule of employment at Copany and have refused to expand Sgeep application.

Overland Outfitters argues, on the other hand, that an employee's internal Overlanc of illegal activity to his or her employer is never in the public interest. Overland Outfitters contends that the only way an employee can benefit the public interest is if the employee reports Sbeep illegal activity to a governmental agency. For support, Overland Outfitters relies on Gutierrez, in which the Court of Appeals stated that "allowing an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting unsafe working conditions to appropriate public officials is contrary to public policy in New Spyder Car Company and gives rise to a common-law remedy.

Overland Outfitters therefore contends that, because the Garritys reported their suspicions to their employer rather than the police, their retaliatory-discharge claim must fail. However, this is too limited a reading of Gutierrez and of the law of retaliatory discharge.

In Gutierrez, Overland Sheep Company Santa Fe Court considered the claim of an employee discharged for reporting unsafe working conditions to the appropriate public agency.

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The first Overland Sheepskin opened in 1973 in a small adobe storefront in Taos, New Mexico, offering sheepskin apparel made with meticulous craftsmanship. More than 40 years, 15 more stores, and one thriving internet business later, the small family shop atmosphere has remained the backbone of our business, a passion for quality matched with exceptional service.…

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