Howard v. Dorr Woolen Company (Narrowing of Monge- Public Policy Exception): D fired P’s husband for reasons of economic necessity. At the time P’s husband was fired, he was 50 years old and suffered from angina. P claimed that he was terminated because of his age and illness, and for the purpose of denying him his accrued retirement benefits.
Issue: Is a discharge for reasons of age or illness considered a discharge motivated by bad faith, malice, or retaliation? NO
Reason: The court construed Monge to apply only to a situation where an employee is discharged because he performed an act that public policy would encourage, or refused to do that which public policy would condemn. A discharge due to sickness does not fall within this category, and is generally remedied by medical insurance or disability provisions in an employment contract. Nor does discharge because of age fall within this narrow category since the proper remedy for an action for unlawful age discrimination is provided for by statute. The allegation that D discharged P’s husband for the purpose of denying him his accrued benefits lacked substance since the benefits vested at the time of his discharge, but that he was not entitled to receive them unless and until he reached the age of 55. Here, the P has not satisfied the 3 requirements of Monge (i.e. bad faith, malice, or retaliation).