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GARY F. PARSONS
vs.
SIKORSKY AIRCRAFT DIVISION UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION
 
Case:
No. 280394
 
Location:
SUPERIOR COURT OF CONNECTICUT JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF FAIRFIELD
 
Date:
February 28, 1996 Decided
 
Author:
The Hon. Justice Bruce L. Levin
 

The issue before Court on the defendants' motion to strike is whether the plaintiff an instructor in aircraft maintenance employed by Sikorsky Aircraft and a member of the project team that built a nonmilitary helicopter for the Crowned Prince of Bahrain may though an at-will employee maintain an action for wrongful discharge intentional infliction of emotional distress or negligent infliction of emotional distress for being fired and given a security escort out of the building after refusing to travel to Bahrain to instruct the Bahrain flight crew on repair and maintenance of the aircraft during the 1990 Middle East "Desert Shield" military buildup to the 1991 Gulf War. This court holds that the plaintiff may not maintain such an action. The motion to strike is granted as to all three counts.

The plaintiff Gary F. Parsons brings this action to recover for the alleged wrongful termination of his employment by his former employer the defendant Sikorsky Aircraft Division United Technologies Corporation (Sikorsky). Also named as a defendant is Robert Osborn the plaintiff's former supervisor. Sikorsky it is alleged is in the business of manufacturing distributing and servicing helicopters and other related products. The plaintiff an at will employee was employed by Sikorsky as an aircraft maintenance instructor from August 29, 1986 until September 18, 1990.

In the seventh revised amended complaint the plaintiff alleges that in September 1990 he was a member of a project team that built a non-military helicopter for the Crowned Prince of Bahrain. On September 11 1990 the plaintiff's supervisor Osborn assigned the plaintiff to instruct members of the Bahrainian helicopter crew regarding the proper maintenance and repair of the helicopter. The plaintiff alleges that the Bahrainians were supposed to come to the United States to receive their instructions from the plaintiff.

The plaintiff claims that on September 12, 1990 he was told that he would be required to travel to a military base located in Bahrain in order to instruct the Bahrainian flight crew. At or about this time the United States of America and certain allied nations including Bahrain were involved in a joint military action taken in response to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq known as "Operation Desert Shield." The plaintiff alleges that the military base was the headquarters for the Bahrain Defense Force as well as a "staging area" for "Allied" warplanes.

The plaintiff alleges that on September 13, 1990 he became aware of a "travel advisory" warning issued by the United States Department of State which provided in pertinent part: "Due to the Iraqi military invasion of Kuwait and continuing unstable conditions in the region the Department of State advises all Americans to defer all non-essential travel to the eastern province of Saudi Arabia and to Qatar Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The Department is permitting dependents of U.S. government officials to depart the area on a voluntary basis. The Department of State advises other American citizens in the area to consider doing the same. . . ."

On September 18, 1990 the plaintiff informed Sikorsky that he refused to travel to Bahrain due to the increased terrorist activities in the area and the travel warning issued by the State Department. As a result Sikorsky immediately terminated the plaintiff's employment.

In the first count of the seventh revised amended complaint the plaintiff asserts a wrongful termination claim based on allegations that his termination violated Connecticut's public policy requiring an employer to exercise reasonable care to provide its employees with a reasonably safe place to work. The plaintiff alleges that this public policy is primarily evidenced by the language of General Statutes SEC. 31-370 as well as by other statutes which regulate the work environment. In the second count the plaintiff asserts a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. In the third count the plaintiff asserts a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The defendants have filed a motion to strike the plaintiff's seventh revised amended complaint. The defendants move to strike the plaintiff's claim for wrongful discharge of an at-will employee in violation of public policy asserted in the first count on the grounds that: (1) the statutes cited by the plaintiff as giving rise to public policy only provide public policy within Connecticut; (2) the statutes cited by the plaintiff as giving rise to public policy do not provide a basis for an independent action for wrongful discharge; and (3) the first count of the seventh revised amended complaint is virtually the same as the count that was stricken when Court (Ford J.) granted the defendants' motion to strike the plaintiff's fifth revised amended complaint. The defendants move to strike the second count in which the plaintiff asserts a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress on the ground that this claim as alleged in the seventh revised amended complaint is substantially similar to the claim which was stricken when Court (Ford J.) granted the defendants' motion to strike the plaintiff's fifth amended complaint. The defendants move to strike the third count in which the plaintiff asserts a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress on the ground that the plaintiff fails to allege a factual basis or some special circumstances upon which the defendants should have anticipated that the plaintiff would suffer emotional distress because of the lawful termination of his employment.

"The purpose of a motion to strike is to contest . . . the legal sufficiency of the allegations of any complaint . . . to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Novametrix Medical Systems Inc. v. BOC Group Inc. 224 Conn. 210 214 618 A.2d 25 (1992). In ruling on a motion to strike the court is limited to the facts alleged in the pleading; Rowe v. Godou 209 Conn. 273 278 550 A.2d 1073 (1988); which must be construed in the light most favorable to the pleader. RK Constructors Inc. v. Fusco Corp. 231 Conn. 381 384 650 A.2d 153 (1994). "If facts provable under the allegations would support a defense or cause of action the motion to strike must be denied." Ibid.

I

The defendants move to strike the plaintiff's claim for wrongful discharge of an at-will employee in violation of public policy asserted in the first count on the grounds that: (1) the statutes cited by the plaintiff as giving rise to public policy only provide public policy within Connecticut; (2) the statutes cited by the plaintiff as giving rise to public policy do not provide a basis for an independent action for wrongful discharge; and (3) the first count of the seventh revised amended complaint is virtually the same as the count that was stricken when Court (Ford J.) granted the defendants' motion to strike the plaintiff's fifth revised amended complaint.

In response the plaintiff argues that his claim for wrongful termination is legally sufficient because he alleges that the termination was in violation of the public policy which requires employers to furnish their employees with a safe place to work. The plaintiff further contends that the public policy which requires employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees extends beyond the borders of Connecticut.

A

This court will first address the defendants' argument that the first count of the complaint now before Court is substantially similar to that which was previously stricken by Court. When a motion to strike is granted the losing party may take one of two courses of action. He may amend his pleading or he may stand on his original pleading allow judgment to be rendered against him and appeal the granting of the motion to strike. The choices are mutually exclusive. The filing of an amended pleading operates as a waiver of the right to claim that there was error in the granting of the motion to strike. Royce v. Westport 183 Conn. 177 178-179 439 A.2d 298 (1981). If the amended pleading is the same in substance as the pleading which was stricken then the amended pleading may be expunged on a request to revise pursuant to Practice Book SEC. 147(2). Id. 180-181. In fact after their earlier motion to strike had been granted and the plaintiff had filed an amended complaint the defendants did file a request to revise requesting as did the defendant in Royce that the plaintiff delete the first count of the amended pleading in its entirety because it was substantially similar to the complaint that was stricken. Court (S. Freedman J.) sustained the plaintiff's objection stating that the request was "too broad and in the nature of a motion to strike." This court however is not bound by that ruling. Breen v. Phelps 186 Conn. 86 99-100 439 A.2d 1066 (1982).

In paragraph six of his fifth amended revised complaint the plaintiff alleged that he was told by the defendant Osborn that he "would be required to travel to Bahrain on or about September 20, 1990 in order to implement the repair and maintenance program to the Bahrain crew rather than in the United States as previously stated." In repleading his wrongful termination claim in the seventh revised amended complaint the plaintiff alleges that: "Gary F. Parsons was told by Osborn that Mr. Parsons would instead be required to travel to the 'Headquarters Bahrain Defense Force ' a military installation located near the capital city; and the main staging area for Allied warplanes on the island of Bahrain. . . . Mr. Parsons was to give instruction sleep and eat all his meals at this one installation. . . . He was at all times acting within the scope of his employment both during his transportation to and from the airbase and while teaching and residing at the airbase facility. . . ."

Whether the complaint before Court is the same in substance as that which was stricken by Court must be determined in the context of Court's decision holding the first count of the fifth revised amended complaint to be legally insufficient. In striking the first count of the plaintiff's fifth revised amended complaint the court (Ford J.) ruled that: "The plaintiff fails to allege that Sikorsky owned operated or managed a 'workplace' or 'place of employment' in Bahrain. Rather the plaintiff alleges that Sikorsky required him to travel to Bahrain. . . . The plaintiff does not allege that the 'workplace' or 'place of employment' in Bahrain was unreasonably unsafe or suffered from some hazardous condition. The plaintiff alleges that [the entire nation] of Bahrain . . . was unsafe . . . . Expanding the definition of work place or place of employment to include a whole country is beyond the contemplation of the statutes. . . ." The plaintiff's seventh amended revised complaint does not cure this legal insufficiency. Although the seventh revised amended complaint does identify the place in Bahrain to which the plaintiff was told to travel -- "the 'Headquarters Bahrain Defense Force ' a military installation located near the capital city; and the main staging area for Allied warplanes on the island of Bahrain" -- it does not allege that Sikorsky owned managed or operated that facility in Bahrain nor that that place was more dangerous in September 1990 than any other in Bahrain. *fn1

B

Even were Court to reach the merits of the first count the plaintiff could not prevail. *fn2 Generally employment contracts which are for an indefinite term or duration are terminable at the will of either party. Torosyan v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. 234 Conn. 1 14 662 A.2d 89 (1995); Coelho v. Posi-Seal International 208 Conn. 106 118 544 A.2d 170 (1980). Connecticut like some other states has recognized "a narrow public policy exception to the general rules governing the termination of an at will employment relationship." Carbone v. Atlantic Richfield Co. 204 Conn. 460 467 528 A.2d 1137 (1987). "[A] common law cause of action in tort for the discharge of an at will employee [exists] 'if the former employee can prove a demonstrably improper reason for dismissal a reason whose impropriety is derived from some important violation of public policy.'" (Emphasis in original.) Id. 466-67 quoting Sheets v. Teddy's Frosted Foods Inc. 179 Conn. 471 475 427 A.2d 385 (1980).

"This public policy exception to the employment at will rule carved out in [Sheets v. Teddy's Frosted Foods Inc. supra ] attempts to balance the competing interests of employer and employee. Under the exception the employee has the burden of pleading and proving that his dismissal occurred for a reason violating public policy. The employer is allowed in ordinary circumstances to make personnel decisions without fear of incurring civil liability. Employee job security however is protected against employer actions that contravene public policy." Morris v. Hartford Courant Co. 200 Conn. 676 679 513 A.2d 66 (1986). "The issue then becomes the familiar common law problem of deciding where and how to draw the line between claims that genuinely involve the mandates of public policy and are actionable and ordinary disputes between employee and employer that are not. We are mindful that courts should not lightly intervene to impair the exercise of managerial discretion or to foment unwarranted litigation." Sheets v. Teddy's Frosted Foods Inc. supra 179 Conn. 477.

"Given the inherent vagueness of the concept of public policy it is often difficult to define precisely the contours of the exception." Morris v. Hartford Courant Co. supra 200 Conn. 680. However the Supreme Court repeatedly has "refused to enlarge the circumstances under which an employee at will may successfully challenge his dismissal beyond the situation where the reason for his discharge involves impropriety derived from some important violation of a public policy." (Emphasis added.) Carbone v. Atlantic Richfield Co. supra 204 Conn. 469-470 quoting Morris v. Hartford Courant Co. supra 200 Conn. 679 n. 2 citing Magnan v. Anaconda Industries Inc. 193 Conn. 558 572 479 A.2d 781 (1984). Also in the context of avoiding an arbitration award on the basis of public policy the Supreme Court has stated that the public policy exception "is limited to situations where the [collective bargaining agreement] as interpreted would violate 'some explicit public policy' that is 'well defined and dominant and is to be ascertained 'by reference to the laws and legal precedents and not from general considerations of supposed public interests.'" (Emphasis added.) New Haven v. AFSCME Council 15 Local 530 208 Conn. 411 417 544 A.2d 186 (1988). *fn3

The plaintiff alleges that the termination of his employment by the defendants "was demonstrably improper and in violation of the State of Connecticut's public policy requiring an employer to exercise reasonable care to provide employees with a reasonably safe place to work. This public policy the plaintiff claims, is demonstrated . . . by Connecticut General Statutes SEC.31-370 . . . and by SEC. 31-49. . . ." *fn4 The plaintiff further alleges that his expressed desire not to enter the Persian Gulf region during Operation Desert Shield was an attempt to further the public policy which requires an employer to exercise reasonable care to provide employees with a reasonably safe place to work.

General Statutes SEC. 31-370 provides in pertinent part: "(a) Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees. . . ." Section 31-369 provides in pertinent part that: "(a) This chapter applies to all employers employees and places of employment in this state except the following: (1) Employees of the United States government; and (2) working conditions of employees over which federal agencies other than the United States Department of Labor exercise statutory authority to prescribe or enforce standards or regulations affecting occupational safety and health." (Emphasis added.) In Wendland v. Ridgefield Construction Services Inc. 184 Conn. 173 439 A.2d 954 (1981) Court held that "where an employer is in control of an area and responsible for its maintenance . . . a violation occurs if any employee working on the project has access to the hazard. Brennan v. Underhill [513 F.2d 1032 1037-38 (2d Cir.1975)]. See General Statutes SEC. 31-370(c); Beatty Equipment Leasing v. Secretary of Labor 577 F.2d 534 536-37 (9th Cir.1978)." Id. 177.

General Statutes SEC. 31-49 provides in pertinent part that: "It shall be the duty of the master to exercise reasonable care to provide for his servant a reasonably safe place in which to work reasonably safe appliances and instrumentality's for his work and fit and competent person as his co-laborers and to exercise reasonable care in the appointment or designation of a vice-principal. . . ." "[Section] 31-49 is expressly included among those employment regulation statutes that the labor commissioner has a statutory duty to enforce 'by giving proper orders or notices to the persons or corporations owning operating or managing the factories or buildings inspected by him and shall make complaint to the state's Counsels of any violation of said provisions.' General Statutes SEC. 31-50." Perille v. Raybestos-Manhattan-Europe Inc. 196 Conn. 529 545 494 A.2d 555 (1985) (Shea J. concurring).

The various statutes cited by the plaintiff for purposes of establishing a public policy including General Statutes SEC. 31-370 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Chapter 571 of the General Statutes) and General Statutes SEC.31-49 apply only to a place of employment or workplace which is located within Connecticut and owned controlled or maintained by the employer. Assuming that these statutes create a clear mandate of public policy *fn5 that policy would require an employer who owns controls or maintains a workplace within Connecticut to abate certain safety violations and hazardous conditions and provide a reasonably safe "Connecticut workplace" for its employees.

The plaintiff alleges that he was "required to travel to the 'Headquarters Bahrain Defense Force ' a military installation" which was "the main staging area for Allied warplanes on the island of Bahrain." The plaintiff further alleges that "he was at all times acting within the scope of his employment both during his transportation to and from the airbase and while teaching and residing at the airbase facility."

Reading the allegations of the complaint in the light most favorable to the pleader the plaintiff fails to allege that Sikorsky owned controlled or maintained a workplace in Bahrain. Even assuming arguendo that Sikorsky did so the statutes cited by the plaintiff do not express a public policy which would prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to travel to a foreign country where there may be some type of instability or military threat.

The plaintiff relies on D'Angelo v. Gardner 107 Nev. 704 819 P.2d 206 (1991) to support his argument that it is violative of public policy for an employer to discharge an employee for refusing to work under conditions which are unreasonably dangerous to the employee. In D'Angelo the discharged employee Jones a heavy equipment operator declined to work a temporary assignment in the employer's "cyanide leach pit" because at the time he was assigned to work in the pit he had an open surgical wound. Id. 213. Evidence presented during trial established that the employer had a safety policy that prohibited employees with open wounds from being exposed to cyanide because of the increased danger that the cyanide would be absorbed into the body. Ibid. Court held that Jones' refusal was justified because of the danger presented to him by the cyanide leach pit and because such a work assignment when given to an employee with an open wound was in violation of the employer's safety policy; id. 214; as well as in violation of Nevada's public policy. Id. 216.

D'Angelo is factually and legally distinguishable from the present case for several reasons. In D'Angelo the discharged employee had a physical injury or condition that made his work assignment in the cyanide pit a clear and palpable danger to his health. The discharged employee also established that the employer violated its own safety policy by assigning him to work in the cyanide pit. The plaintiff here has not made such allegations.

Moreover in D'Angelo the discharged employee identified state statutes which established a clear policy against forcing employees to work under unreasonably dangerous conditions. Id. 216. Court held that the pertinent statute: "requires that all employers adopt practices which insure safe employment and that employers do everything reasonably necessary to protect the lives safety and health of their employees. [The statute] expressly prohibits employers from requiring employees 'to go or be in any . . . place of employment which is not safe and healthful' . . . ." Id. The Nevada statutes use language which is much broader in scope than the language used in the Connecticut statutory provisions cited by the plaintiff. *fn6

As an at will employee the plaintiff was entitled to refuse his employer's order to travel to Bahrain during the military buildup in the Persian Gulf. However because the plaintiff was an at will employee the defendants were entitled to terminate his employment for that very reason. The plaintiff has failed to identify any impropriety in his termination by the defendants derived from some important violation of a public policy. Carbone v. Atlantic Richfield Co. supra 204 Conn. 470. A claim for wrongful termination will not lie where the termination of an employee at will does not violate a clear mandate of public policy. Accordingly Court grants the defendants' motion to strike the first count of the plaintiff's seventh revised amended complaint. *fn7

II

The defendants move to strike the second count in which the plaintiff asserts a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress based on the same facts alleged in the first count. The defendants contend that this claim as alleged in the seventh revised amended complaint is substantially similar to the claim which was stricken when Court (Ford J.) granted the defendants' motion to strike the plaintiff's fifth revised amended complaint. Court agrees but as with the first count Court will again address the merits of the parties' claims. See note 2 supra.

The plaintiff argues that he has sufficiently pleaded the elements necessary to set forth a legally sufficient claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. In Morris v. Hartford Courant Co. supra 200 Conn. 682 n. 4 the Supreme Court held that "the employment at will rule does not [necessarily] prohibit an action for infliction of emotional distress. . . ." However to be actionable there must be extreme and outrageous conduct; "termination of employment ordinarily does not create a tortious cause of action." Sheets v. Knight 308 Ore. 220 230-231 779 P.2d 1000 (1989). In order for a plaintiff to state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress 'it must be shown: (1) that the actor intended to inflict emotional distress; or that he knew or should have known that emotional distress was a likely result of his conduct; (2) that the conduct was extreme and outrageous; (3) that the defendant's conduct was the cause of the plaintiff's distress; and (4) that the emotional distress sustained by the plaintiff was severe. Hiers v. Cohen,31 Conn. Supp.305, 329 A.2d 609 (1973); 1 Restatement (Second), Torts SEC. 46.' Petyan v. Ellis, [200 Conn. 243, 253, 510 A.2d 1337 (1986)], quoting Murray v. Bridgeport Hospital, 40 Conn. Supp.56, 62, 480 A.2d 610 (1984). (Internal quotation marks omitted.) DeLaurentis v. New Haven 220 Conn. 225 266-67 597 A.2d 807 (1991). "Whether the defendant's conduct and the plaintiff's resulting distress are sufficient to satisfy either of these elements is a question in the first instance for [the] court. Only where reasonable minds can differ does it become an issue for the jury. Reed v. Signode Corporation 652 F. Supp.129 137 (D. Conn. 1986); 1 Restatement (Second) Torts SEC. 46 comment (h) (on the issue of extreme and outrageous conduct) and comment (j) (on the issue of severe emotional distress). Since the defendant raises these issues by a motion to strike Court is limited to the facts alleged in the complaint. King v. Board of Education 195 Conn. 90 93 486 A.2d 1111 (1985)." Mellaly v. Eastman Kodak Co. 42 Conn. Supp.17 19-20 597 A.2d 846 (1991) (Berdon J.).

"The mere act of firing an employee even if wrongfully motivated does not transgress the bounds of socially tolerable behavior." Madani v. Kendall Ford Inc. 312 Ore. 198 818 P.2d 930 934 (1991). Termination of employment is a relatively commonplace event. It is likely that a person whose employment is terminated will suffer some degree of stress and anxiety regardless of whether the termination was lawful and proper or wrongful and tortious in nature. Intentional like "negligent infliction of emotional distress in the employment context arises only where it is 'based upon . . . conduct of the defendant in the termination process.' Morris v. Hartford Courant Co. 200 Conn. 676 681-82 513 A.2d 66." (Emphasis added.) Lund v. Stern & Company Inc. 1995 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1030 Superior Court judicial district of Hartford-New Britain at New Britain Docket No. 463413 (1995). Thus to state a legally sufficient claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of an allegedly wrongful termination of employment there must be allegations that the employer otherwise engaged in some extreme and outrageous conduct exceeding all bounds usually tolerated by decent society ; Petyan v. Ellis supra 200 Conn. 254 n.5 quoting Prosser & Keeton Torts (5th Ed.) SEC. 12 p.60; not because of the fact of termination or the reasons advanced there for but because of acts committed in the termination process. The firing of an at will employee not actionable as a wrongful discharge does not become actionable simply because the label of the tort is changed. See e.g. Morris v. Hartford Courant Co. supra 200 Conn. 684 (employee falsely accused of theft and terminated based on those false accusations failed to state a legally sufficient claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress). To hold otherwise would subvert the general rule that an employer may discharge an at will employee for any reason or no reason.

The plaintiff alleges only that he suffered emotional distress because he was discharged for refusing to accept a potentially risky work assignment which involved travel to Bahrain during "Operation Desert Shield." No extreme or outrageous conduct is alleged to have been committed in the termination process. The allegations of the plaintiff's complaint are insufficient to demonstrate extreme and outrageous conduct on the part of the defendants. See generally Annotation Liability of Employer, Supervisor or Manager for Intentionally or Recklessly Causing Employee Emotional Distress, 52 ALR4th 855 SEC. 3(b). Accordingly the defendants' motion to strike is granted as to the second count of the plaintiff's seventh revised amended complaint.

III

The defendants final claim is that the plaintiff's cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress is legally insufficient because the plaintiff has failed to allege that there was some factual basis or special circumstances upon which the defendants should have anticipated that the plaintiff would suffer emotional distress as a result of the lawful termination of his employment. In response the plaintiff argues that he has sufficiently pleaded the elements necessary to set forth a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

"In Montinieri v. Southern New England Telephone Co. 175 Conn. 337 345 398 A.2d 1180 (1978) [the Connecticut Supreme Court] first recognized a cause of action for 'unintentionally-caused emotional distress' and held that recovery did not 'depend on proof of either an ensuing physical injury or a risk of harm from physical impact.' [Court] concluded however that the plaintiff does have the burden of pleading and establishing that 'the defendant should have realized that its conduct involved an unreasonable risk of causing emotional distress and that that distress if it were caused might result in illness or bodily harm.' (Emphasis added.) Id. see Urban v. Hartford Gas Co. 139 Conn. 301 93 A.2d 292 (1952); an not. 1 A.L.R. 4th 209 (1980); 2 Restatement (Second) Torts SEC. 313 (1965)." Morris v. Hartford Courant Co. supra 200 Conn. 683-84.

"Negligent infliction of emotional distress in the employment context arises only where it is 'based upon unreasonable conduct of the defendant in the termination process.' Morris v. Hartford Courant Co. 200 Conn. 676 681-82 513 A.2d 66." Lund v. Stern & Company Inc. 1994 Conn. Super. 1030 Superior Court judicial district of Hartford-New Britain at New Britain Docket No. 463413 (1995). The mere termination of employment even if wrongful is not enough to sustain a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Cf. Madani v. Kendall Ford Inc. supra 818 P.2d 934. Such a claim must be accompanied by additional allegations of unreasonable conduct which occurred during the termination process or at the time of discharge. Chieffalo v. Norden Systems Inc. 1994 Conn. Superior Court judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk No. 127694 (12 Conn. L. Rptr.656 657) (1994); Skierkowski v. Creative Graphics Services Inc. 1995 Conn. Super 1374 Superior Court judicial district of Hartford-New Britain at New Britain No. 463242 (1995). An example of unreasonable conduct occurring at the time of discharge is where a "meeting or any other aspect of the actual discharge was done in [a] . . . humiliating manner. . . ." Leniart v. C & S Distributors Inc. 1994 Conn. Superior Court judicial district of Hartford-New Britain at Hartford No. 516354 (1994). *fn8

The operative allegations of the third count are "that as a result of the Defendant's wrongful termination Gary F. Parsons did suffer from the unintentional infliction of emotional distress in that the Defendant Sikorsky should have realized that terminating the Plaintiff's employment two hours after he expressed his desire not to go to Bahrain and immediately removing the Plaintiff from the building under security escort involved an unreasonable risk of causing emotional distress and that that distress might result in illness or bodily harm."

These allegations are inadequate to state a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Firstly while Court has held that the defendant's termination of the plaintiff was not wrongful whether it was or was not cannot in itself give rise to a tortious cause of action. Sheets v. Knight supra 308 Ore. 230-231. Secondly the defendant was not required to suffer a waiting period in excess of two hours before terminating the plaintiff's employment. Since the plaintiff was an at-will employee his employment could be terminated at any time. Thirdly once the plaintiff's employment was terminated the defendant was entitled to "immediately remove the Plaintiff from the building. . . ." Finally that an employer especially one such as Sikorsky Aircraft after legally terminating the plaintiff's employment would then have the plaintiff removed from its building "under a security escort" is not unreasonable. Cf. Toth v. Square D Co. 712 F. Supp.1231 1238 (D.S.C. 1989)(same allegation made in connection with a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress); Seneca Knitting Mills Corp. v. Wilkes 120 A.D.2d 955 502 N.Y.S.2d 844 845 (1986)(same). That is it cannot be said the defendant should have realized that having the plaintiff leave under a security escort involved an unreasonable risk of causing him emotional distress which might result in illness or bodily harm. Morris v. Hartford Courant Co. supra 200 Conn. 683-84; Urban v. Hartford Gas Co. supra 139 Conn. 301; an not. 1 A.L.R. 4th 209 (1980); 2 Restatement (Second) Torts SEC. 313 (1965). On these allegations a jury could not reasonably find that the defendants negligently inflicted emotional distress on the plaintiff.

The defendants' motion to strike is granted as to all counts.

 
Notes:

*fn1 Bahrain is an independent sheikdom consisting of several islands in the Persian Gulf. It is situated about 13 miles east of Saudi Arabia. Bahrain has an area of 231 square miles. Its principal island also called Bahrain is thirty miles long an 1 miles wide. Its capital Manamah is at the northeast end of Bahrain Island. 3 Encyclopedia Americana (1995) p. 59]

*fn2 In the event of further review the court will address the merits of the defendants' motion to strike in the interests of judicial economy.

*fn3 In a dynamic free enterprise economy such as ours allowing an employer to discharge an at-will employee at his discretion is in the absence of statute enacted by the democratically elected legislature the rule not the exception. One commentator has observed that when courts venture beyond the letter of a statute to divine public policy the effect is "to allow Court to become arbiters of employment relations and to diminish employer discretion to direct the workplace. The continuing threat of suit will tend to hinder employers in making critical judgments concerning employee qualifications. Because a large proportion of management employees are at will employees the employer will be inhibited in its ability to direct and control its own representatives. This is significant because in some circumstances the employer may be held liable for the actions taken by its management employees.

"Once in court the employer faces a difficult burden of proof. For example the more important the position that an at will employee occupies the more likely it is that such an employee will be evaluated in terms of intangible qualities such as imagination drive initiative and personality. Although important to the employer's assessment of an employee the presence or absence of these qualities may be difficult to prove in court. For this reason the employer may find it difficult to persuade the jury that there were non retaliatory legitimate reasons for a discharge particularly if the jury identifies with the discharged employee more readily than with the employer.

"The process of court intervention and decisions adverse to employers will ultimately raise the cost to the employer of discharging . . . employees a burden least tolerable to the small employer. Rather than undergo costs of litigation or settlement the small employer will be forced to retain or transfer incompetent employees. Alternatively the . . . employer will have to maintain detailed written records of employee performance and conduct for the sole purpose of documenting the reasons for discharge at a future trial. This formalized record keeping besides costing extra time and money may interfere with the informal relationship desirable among management personnel. Moreover even the most extensive documentation does not guarantee the . . . employer a successful defense and for every legitimate complaint there may be dozens of vexatious ones.

"The problem of weakening employer discretion is compounded by the elusive and all-encompassing nature of the concept of public policy. Basing a right of action upon a concept such as public policy will encourage a multiplicity of lawsuits designed to test what that policy means hardly producing a consistent jurisprudence which can be relied upon by employers and employees in defining their relationships." Note Pierce v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp.: Is the Public Policy Exception to the At Will Doctrine A Bad Omen for the Employment Relationship? 33.Rutgers L. Rev. 1187 1195-1197 (1980).

In many respects these observations have become prophetic. An entire cottage industry has arisen in which the discharge of virtually any employee is a potential source of litigation. As with most litigation these cases usually result in some monetary settlement before trial. And as with other costs the costs of such settlements are not merely absorbed by the employer but presumably are passed on to the consumer. It does not appear that the Bar is convinced that "the narrow public policy exception to the general rules governing the termination of at will employment relationship"; Carbone v. Atlantic Richfield supra 204 Conn. 467; is truly narrow despite the supreme court's repeated "refusal to enlarge the circumstances under which an employee at will may successfully challenge his dismissal beyond the situation where the reason for his discharge involves impropriety derived from some important violation of a public policy." Carbone v. Atlantic Richfield Co. supra 204 Conn. 469-470 quoting Morris v. Hartford Courant Co. supra 200 Conn. 679 n. 2 citing Magnan v. Anaconda Industries Inc. 193 Conn. 558 572 479 A.2d 781 (1984).

*fn4 The plaintiff alleges that the public policy is further demonstrated by the following statutes: General Statutes SEC. 16a-100 (Declaration of Policy [Atomic Energy]); SEC. 29-307a (Hazardous Materials); SEC 29-390 (Factory Fire Escapes); SEC. 29-408 (Safety Measures to be Provided); SEC. 31-10 (Safety Inspectors); SEC. 31-24 (Hazardous Employment of Children); SEC. 31-38a (Sanitary Lighting and Heating Facilities for Railroad Employees); SEC. 31-40c (Carcinogens used in Workplace); SEC 31-40g (Substance Hazardous to Reproductive Systems); SEC.31-40j et seq. (Toxics in Workplace); SEC. 31-40q (Smoking in Workplace); SEC. 31-45a (Protection of Feet); SEC. 31-46 (Safety Regulations for Workers in Building Operations); SEC. 31-51d (Labor Commissions Powers and Duties); SEC. 31-51x (Drug Testing).

*fn5 Because of the disposition of this case it is unnecessary for Court to determine whether these statutes state such a clear and defined public policy that a claim for wrongful discharge could in any way be predicated on them.

*fn6 For example the Nevada statute expressly prohibits employers from requiring employees "to go or be . . . in any place of employment which is not safe and healthful." (Emphasis added.) No such language appears in any of the Connecticut statutes cited by the plaintiff.

*fn7 While not necessary to the disposition of the defendants' motion Court is not unaware of the public policy considerations militating against immunizing from termination employees of a defense contractor such as Sikorsky who refuse to go to undesirable foreign locales.

*fn8 This court respectfully disagrees with the Leniart court to the extent that in dicta it also suggested that an employment discharge made in an "inconsiderate . . . or embarrassing manner" might also be actionable. Bad manners are not actionable. Montinieri v. Southern New England Telephone Co. supra 175 Conn. 345.