Caron v. Silvia, et al.

A smoker sued her employer for terminating her allegedly because she spoke out on “60 Minutes” and other shows against the Department’s smoking policy.  A Superior Court judge granted the employer’s summary judgment motion.  The Mass. Appeals Court reversed the dismissal of the complaint, stating that the plaintiff had alleged a claim that, if proved at trial, would entitle her to relief.  “The right of public employees not to be fired in retaliation for speaking on matters of public concern has been established,” said the court.  See “Appeals Court Says Smoker Can Sue over Firing from Job,” Providence Journal, March 24, 1992, E2; Craig, C. “Smokers’ Advocate to Get Trial,” Boston Herald, March 24, 1992, 16 and 18; Nealon, P., “Critic of Antismoking Policy Will Get Her Day in Court,” Boston Globe, March 24, 1992, 29; Murphy, J. “Fired Smoker Wins the Right to Sue Boss,” The Enterprise (Brockton, MA), March 24, 1992, 1; “Smoker May Speak Out,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 1992, B6; Boyle, S.R., “Smoker to Try Speech Claim against State,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, March 30, 1992, 1 and 27; Sweda, E., “Speech, Not Smoking, at Issue,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, April 13, 1992, 11; and Kingsbury, B., “Fired Smoker’s Free Speech Rights Not Snuffed Out,” Sunday Telegram (Worcester, MA) May 10, 1992, B12.  The smoker lost at trial in 1994.

588 N.E.2d 711, 32 Mass.App.Ct. 271, 7.2 TPLR 2.69, 20 M.L.W. 1320, 7 IER Cases 522 (1992).