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Wrongful Discharge in Spite of Public Policy: Unreasonably Narrowing the Wrongful Discharge Exception [Yerra v. Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities, 536 S.W.3d 348 (Mo. Ct. App. 2017), reh’g and/or transfer denied (Nov. 22, 2017), transfer denied (Jan. 23, 2018)]

Hannah L. Woofter | January 17, 2019 | PDF Version (103 KB)

Summary: The Missouri Court of Appeals recently overturned a whistleblower instruction for a plaintiff-employee who alleged she was wrongfully terminated in violation of public policy. The employee alleged she was terminated after reporting, in good faith, that her hospital- employer was double-billing patients. The statute she cited for support requires protections for employees who in good faith report allegedly violative conduct. However, the court determined that the employee’s reasonable belief her employer engaged in wrongful conduct was insufficient. It determined a whistleblower instruction was only appropriate if an employer actually engaged in the alleged conduct. Requiring an employee prove the hospital created fraud makes the wrongful discharge doctrine nearly impossible to satisfy and cuts against its purpose—to protect employees who protect the public.

Preferred Citation: Hannah L. Woofter, Wrongful Discharge in Spite of Public Policy: Unreasonably Narrowing the Wrongful Discharge Exception, 58 Washburn L.J. Online 53 (2019),

I. Introduction

A recent opinion by the Missouri Court of Appeals determined that a plaintiff was not entitled to a whistleblower jury instruction when she reported on her “reasonable belief” that her hospital employer was providing duplicative, unnecessary care in violation of a state statute.[1] This ruling, however, does not take into account the statute’s explicit “good faith” reporting protections.[2] Moreover, it narrows the whistleblower exception into one which is almost impossible to satisfy.[3] This cuts against the purpose of the public policy exception, which was created to prevent employers from discharging employees “for doing that which is beneficial to society.”[4]

II. Background

A. Case Description

Dr. Shanti Yerra was employed by Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities (“Clinic”) as an internal medicine doctor from 1997 until her termination in January 2013.[5] Although Dr. Yerra was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”) several times throughout her tenure at the Clinic, she was not subject to any disciplinary action for the five years between 2007 and 2012.[6]

Dr. Yerra’s final PIP and later case of wrongful discharge were related to her care of one specific Medicare patient in February 2012.[7] Dr. Yerra admitted a woman to the hospital in her sixties who had complaints consistent with a cold.[8] The patient was discharged the next day, but was readmitted less than a week later for shortness of breath and heart palpitations.[9] Her attending physicians determined that the patient’s gall bladder needed to be surgically removed.[10] Dr. Yerra performed a cardiological workup on the patient and, after clearing her of any cardiological issues, referred her to Dr. Robert Cavagnol for surgery.[11] Another cardiologist, Dr. Wiggins, contacted Dr. Yerra regarding the surgery as he was in the process of performing a second cardiological workup on the patient.[12] Dr. Yerra informed him that she had already performed the workup, and a second workup was not medically necessary.[13] Dr. Yerra cancelled the workup, but it was re-ordered by Dr. Cavagnol and performed by a third cardiologist.[14]

After discovering the additional cardiac workup was performed, Dr. Yerra contacted Mary Ackland at Medical Staff Services and reported that the cardiology consult was not medically needed; it was a duplication of services and resulted in unnecessary cost.[15] Dr. Yerra told Ackland she would report to Medicare and stated, “[t]his type of care sucks! . . . . If we are an [Accountable Care Organization], then this should not happen.”[16] The Clinic concluded the second cardiology consult was neither an unnecessary cost nor outside the standard of care.[17] In January 2013, after a hearing with the Clinic Ad Hoc Committee, the Clinic terminated Dr. Yerra’s employment “for cause,” citing peer reviews and alleging failed standard of care.[18] That same month, Dr. Yerra filed a lawsuit against the Clinic alleging wrongful termination in violation of public policy.[19] Dr. Yerra cited two Missouri statutes as the public-policy sources for her claim: Sections 334.100 and 197.285.[20] The trial court provided the jury with the whistleblower instruction requested by Dr. Yerra.[21] The jury returned a verdict for Dr. Yerra, which the Clinic appealed.[22]

B. Legal Background

Although an employer may generally discharge an at-will employee for any reason, Missouri courts have long recognized clear exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine.[23] One such exception is public policy, which the Supreme Court of Missouri extended to contract employment in 2010.[24] Allowing both employees-at-will and contract employees to pursue a cause of action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy is congruent with the purpose of this exception: to protect employees who refuse to cooperate with or report an employer’s misconduct.[25] A discharge is “wrongful” when it is “based on the employer’s attempt to condition employment on the violation of public policy expressed in applicable constitutional, statutory or regulatory provisions.”[26] The employer does not need to be in direct violation of statute or regulation; rather it must be shown to be violating public policy reflected by the law.[27]

In 2010, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued three opinions regarding wrongful discharge.[28] Read together, the three decisions create the test a whistleblower plaintiff must satisfy to prove wrongful discharge: “(1) identify the ‘sufficiently definite’ statute, rule, or constitutional provision that creates a ‘clearly mandated’ public policy, (2) specify the public policy on which he or she is relying, and (3) demonstrate that the public policy[,] the provision[,] or statute expresse[d] is directly related to the employee’s termination.”[29] Additionally, whistleblowing does not need to be the sole cause of a plaintiff’s termination. It only needs to be a contributing factor.[30]

At the trial level, Dr. Yerra used two statutes in support of the alleged public policy violation: Section 197.285.1 and Section 334.100.2.[31] Section 197.285 requires medical facilities to establish written whistleblower protection policies. The employee must be protected for disclosing or reporting in good faith: “(1) Alleged facility mismanagement or fraudulent activity; (2) Alleged violations of applicable federal or state laws or administrative rules concerning patient care, patient safety or facility safety; or (3) The ability of employees to successfully perform their assigned duties . . . .”[32]

Section 334.100.2 provides grounds for denial, revocation, or suspension of a physician’s license for “[m]isconduct, fraud, misrepresentation, dishonesty, unethical conduct or unprofessional conduct” based on behavior “including, but not limited to, [w]illfully and continually performing inappropriate or unnecessary treatment, diagnostic tests or medical or surgical services.”[33]

III. Court’s Decision

A. Parties’ Arguments

Although the Clinic raised three points on appeal, only the first is relevant to this Commentary.[34] The Clinic asserted Section 197.285 was too vague and general to support Dr. Yerra’s claim and applied only to hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers—of which the Clinic is neither.[35] It also argued Section 334.100, which outlines the legislature’s procedures for granting or revoking physician licenses, provides nothing by way of reporting requirements or regulating employee conduct.[36] Thus, the statutes “d[id] not provide a clearly established public policy and d[id] not apply to [Dr. Yerra].”[37] Further, the Clinic alleged Dr. Yerra herself violated Section 334.100.2(4)(b), which prohibits “[a]ttempting, directly or indirectly, by way of intimidation, coercion or deception, to obtain or retain a patient or discourage the use of a second opinion or consultation.”[38]

In response, Dr. Yerra asserted that the statutes she cited “clearly reflect Missouri’s policy encouraging physicians to report fraudulent, duplicative, or excessive treatments.”[39] She distinguished the statutes from those in Margiotta v.Christian Hospital Northeast Northwest,[40] comparing them instead to statutes relied upon in Farrow v. St. Francis Medical Center.[41] She argued the primary difference between Farrow and Margiotta is that the vague statutes in Margiotta do not grant protection to employees or require conduct or any affirmative duty to report violations.[42] Conversely, the Nursing Practice Act (“NPA”) statutes at issue in Farrow were regulatory; the NPA governed and provided a guide for disciplining nurses who failed to carry out NPA-created affirmative duties.[43]

Dr. Yerra asserted that, like the statutes in Farrow which provide specific rules and affirmative obligations, Section 197.285 specifically provides for employees to report, in good faith: fraud, facility mismanagement, unlawful patient care, or incompetency of fellow employees.[44] Additionally, Section 334.100.1 permits the state to file complaints against licensed physicians for “willfully and continually performing inappropriate or unnecessary treatment, diagnostic tests or medical or surgical services.”[45] These two statutes, as read independently and together, outline public policy supporting Dr. Yerra’s complaint to Staff Services regarding unnecessary costs and poor patient care.[46]

B. Majority Opinion

The Missouri Court of Appeals first provided an overview of general employment law and the parameters of Missouri’s public-policy exception.[47] This exception “protects an employee who reports legal violations or wrongdoing to superiors or third parties (‘whistleblowing’) or refuses to perform an illegal act.”[48] The three-part test a whistleblower plaintiff must satisfy is: “(1) she reported serious misconduct that constituted a violation of the law and of well-established and clearly-mandated public policy; (2) her employer discharged her; and (3) her report causally contributed to the discharge.”[49]

In its analysis, the court articulated the two statutes and the respective arguments at issue relating to facility mismanagement, fraudulent activity, violating patient care laws, and physicians’ obligations to not “willfully and continually” perform unnecessary patient treatment.[50] However, the court did not further analyze the statutes or determine if they support a public policy argument.[51] Instead, it looked to the record and determined that Dr. Cavagnol’s request for a second cardiological exam did not actually violate any statute or well-established public policy.[52] The court emphasized, “it is essential that a reported act did violate public policy, not merely that the plaintiff so believed, even if her belief was reasonable.”[53]

The court further articulated that Section 334.100, provided by Dr. Yerra, supported reversal of the trial court because 334.100.2(4)(b) “expressly protects second opinions and consults, it cannot reflect a clear public policy against those practices.”[54] Therefore, the court concluded Dr. Yerra should not have received a whistleblower jury instruction at the trial level based only on her reasonable belief of a public policy violation that did not actually occur.[55]

C. Dissenting Opinion

Chief Judge Nancy Steffen Rahmeyer dissented from the majority.[56] She first agreed with the majority that there need not be a “direct violation of a statute or regulation,” and that the court needed to look to the “public policy . . . reflected by a constitutional provision, statute, regulation promulgated pursuant to statute, or a rule created by a governmental body.”[57] Chief Judge Rahmeyer determined public policy was indeed reflected by Section 197.285, the purpose of which is to provide a means for employees “to raise concerns [in their employment] that are beneficial to society,” and to protect from discipline those employees who complained “in good faith.”[58]

Moreover, keeping with the context of the case, the dissent also noted several cases supporting the conclusion that Missouri has historically allowed similar whistleblower claims by nurses against their hospital employers to proceed.[59] Judge Rahmeyer articulated that the majority not only failed to distinguish all the previous hospital-employer whistleblower cases from this one, but it centered its holding around one statement from Newsome v. Kansas City.[60] The court in Newsome stated: “[w]hether a plaintiff reasonably believes an act violates public policy is irrelevant to a wrongful discharge claim.”[61] But, as the dissent provides, the Newsome court opinion centered around the reasoning that an alternative conclusion “would mean no whistleblower protection for preventive reporting, which would be inconsistent with this Court’s reason for adopting the public policy exception.”[62] After all, “[a]lmost all states recognize a [similar] tort action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.”[63] Unfortunately, the holding in Yerra will, in effect, make the exception nearly impossible to satisfy for Missouri employees.[64]

First, as the Margiotta court stated, “[t]he pertinent inquiry . . . is whether the authority clearly prohibits the conduct at issue in the action.”[65] Section 197.285.1, cited by Dr. Yerra, clearly prohibits an employee from being disciplined for reporting “in good faith . . . [a]lleged facility mismanagement or fraudulent activity.”[66] It is certainly for the benefit of the public to encourage physicians to report potential issues with billing or fraud that could affect the public as a whole. Thus, the court did not need to go further in this inquiry.

Next, relying on Margiotta and Newsome, the lower Missouri courts, including Yerra, have applied the rule that a plaintiff must have more than a “reasonable belief” when reporting that an employer is engaging in an unlawful act.[67] But here, requiring the employee prove her employer engaged in actual fraud undercuts the statute entirely from which the public policy derived—a statute that requires only good faith reporting to receive protections.

Moreover, the Yerra court’s holding also undercuts the wrongful discharge doctrine as explained by Newsome. In Newsome, the court found it sufficient that a former employee reported an employer’s intent to engage in activity that would violate public policy, rather than requiring the plaintiff wait to report the actual activity once it had taken place.[68] It did so because “[t]o hold otherwise would mean no whistleblower protection for preventive reporting, which would be inconsistent with this Court’s reason for adopting the public policy exception.”[69]

Similarly, here, it would be nonsensical to make an employee wait until he or she had evidence to prove an employer engaged in actual fraud before whistleblowing.[70] As the dissent in Yerra noted, requiring a whistleblower plaintiff to prove both whistleblower elements and actual fraud creates a “suit within a suit” where the “collateral issue will subsume the cause of action.”[71] Here, the collateral issue to the wrongful discharge claim is actual fraud.

Instead of applying this “reasonable belief” language so broadly, the court should look to the specifics of the public policy statute cited. This is in line with the reasoning in Margiotta, which rejected a whistleblower claim when the cited statute lacked any “specific regulations that proscribe the conduct at issue” for those incidents which the whistleblower had reported.[72] Here, in contrast, the statutes cited by Dr. Yerra outline a “good faith” standard, specifically prohibited activities, and specific protections for employees.[73]

The purpose of a public policy exception to employee termination is to protect the public by providing security to employees who report an employer’s misconduct.[74] The court’s decision that requires a whistleblower have more than “reasonable belief” that the employer is violating the law creates an illusory wrongful-discharge doctrine.[75] This not only defeats the entire purpose of the narrowly drawn exception, but will have the effect of preventing whistleblowers from coming forward for fear of termination with no redress—something the Supreme Court of Missouri has cautioned against.[76]

IV. Conclusion

In analyzing Dr. Yerra’s case, the Court of Appeals should have followed the standard set forth by the cited public policy—that is, an employee who reported alleged wrongful activity “in good faith” cannot be disciplined or discharged. Requiring an employee to prove the employer engaged in actual fraud before bringing a successful wrongful discharge suit undercuts the purpose of the judicially-created doctrine, eradicates employee protections, and decreases protections for the public. Although the wrongful discharge in violation of public policy doctrine is intentionally narrow, it is especially important in cases of public health and welfare to ensure employees, such as physicians, have a means to report when medical or financial care of patients is potentially substandard.

1. Yerra v. Mercy Clinic Springfield Cmtys., 536 S.W.3d 348, 353 (Mo. Ct. App. 2017), reh’g and/or transfer denied (Nov. 22, 2017), transfer denied (Jan. 23, 2018). [Return to Text]

2. See id. [Return to Text]

3. See id. [Return to Text]

4. Fleshner v. Pepose Vision Inst., P.C., 304 S.W.3d 81, 92 (Mo. 2010) (en banc). [Return to Text]

5. Respondent’s Brief at 2, Yerra, 536 S.W.3d 348, 2017 WL 4945274 (No. 34448). [Return to Text]

6. Id. at 2–3. [Return to Text]

7. Id. at 8. [Return to Text]

8. Id. at 4. [Return to Text]

9. Id. [Return to Text]

10. Id. [Return to Text]

11. Respondent’s Brief, supra note 5, at 4. [Return to Text]

12. Id. [Return to Text]

13. Id. [Return to Text]

14. Id. [Return to Text]

15. Id. at 5. [Return to Text]

16. Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 352. [Return to Text]

17. Id. [Return to Text]

18. Respondent’s Brief, supra note 5, at 4. The minutes from the meeting where the Clinic’s Board of Directors voted to terminate Yerra provide a timeline of events “leading up to this point.” Id. at 9. The timeline provides, in relevance to this action:

Dr. Yerra contacted Medical Staff regarding disagreement with treatment provided by fellow physician on a mutual patient. Made threats to report fellow physician for Medicare fraud because she didn’t agree with the course of treatment. Subsequent review of the matter found the physician to have treated appropriate and Dr. Yerra was inappropriate in her allegations.

Id. [Return to Text]

19. Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 352. [Return to Text]

20. Id. at 352, 354–55. [Return to Text]

21. Id. at 352. [Return to Text]

22. Id. [Return to Text]

23. Keveney v. Mo. Military Acad., 304 S.W.3d 98, 101 (Mo. 2010) (en banc) (citing Fleshner v. Pepose Vision Inst., P.C., 304 S.W.3d 81, 92 (Mo. 2010) (en banc)). [Return to Text]

24. Id. at 102 (abrogating Luethans v. Wash. Univ., 894 S.W.2d 169, 173 (Mo. 1995) (en banc)) (holding that “a wrongful discharge action is only available to an employee at will”). [Return to Text]

25. Id. at 103. [Return to Text]

26. Id. at 102. [Return to Text]

27. Fleshner, 304 S.W.3d at 96. In 2010, the Supreme Court of Missouri reiterated that “public policy is the principle of law which holds that no one can lawfully do that which tends to be injurious to the public or against the public good.” Id. at 91 (internal quotations omitted). [Return to Text]

28. See Margiotta v. Christian Hosp. Ne. Nw., 315 S.W.3d 342 (Mo. 2010) (en banc); Keveney, 304 S.W.3d at 102; Fleshner, 304 S.W.3d at 92. “Keveney, Margiotta, and Fleshner were companion opinions handed down the same day.” Yerra v. Mercy Clinic Springfield Cmtys., 536 S.W.3d 348, 350 (Mo. Ct. App. 2017), reh’g and/or transfer denied (Nov. 22, 2017), transfer denied (Jan. 23, 2018). [Return to Text]

29. William C. Martucci, Public Policy Exception, 37 Mo. Prac. Series, Emp’t L. & Prac., Nov. 2018, at§11:7 (quoting Margiotta, 315 S.W.3d at 348). [Return to Text]

30. Fleshner, 304 S.W.3d at 94–95. [Return to Text]

31. First Amended Petition at 4–5, Yerra, 536 S.W.3d 348, 2017 WL 4945274 (No. 34448). [Return to Text]

32. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 197.285(2) (2018). [Return to Text]

33. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 334.100.2(4)(c). [Return to Text]

34. Brief of Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities at 7–8, Yerra, 536 S.W.3d 348, 2017 WL 4945274 (No. 34448). The remaining two points were that Jury Instruction nine deviated from the Missouri Approved Instructions, that Yerra did not properly request nominal damages, and that, considering the evidence provided to support punitive damages, the award was grossly excessive and violated the Clinic’s rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Id. at 19, 30. [Return to Text]

35. Id. at 14. [Return to Text]

36. Id. at 16–17. [Return to Text]

37. Id. at 9. [Return to Text]

38. Id. at 17 (quoting Mo. Rev. Stat. § 334.100.2(4)(b) (2018)). [Return to Text]

39. Respondent’s Brief, supra note 5, at 19. [Return to Text]

40. 315 S.W.3d 342, 347 (Mo. 2010) (en banc). [Return to Text]

41. 407 S.W.3d 579, 598 (Mo. 2013) (en banc); Respondent’s Brief, supra note 5, at 19–21. [Return to Text]

42. See Respondent’s Brief, supra note 5, at 19–20. In Margiotta, a medical technician employee alleged he was terminated for reporting to his supervisors numerous occurrences of safety violations pertaining to patient care. Margiotta v. Christian Hosp. Ne. Nw., 315 S.W.3d 342, 345 (Mo. 2010) (en banc). The Supreme Court of Missouri determined the statutes cited by Margiotta were too vague to support his claim. Id. The federal statute cited by Margiotta provided “[t]he patient has the right to receive care in a safe setting.” Id. at 347 (quoting 42 C.F.R. 482.13(c)(2)). The court held a vague statute could not support a wrongful discharge claim, “because it would force the court to decide on its own what public policy requires.” Id. at 346. Additionally, vague statutes would cause issues in an employer’s ability to know and plan its liability based solely on judicial interpretation of public policy. Id. [Return to Text]

43. Respondent’s Brief, supra note 5, at 20–21. In Farrow, a nurse alleged she was discharged for “objection to, outspoken disapproval of, and failure to comply with, the changes to the PICC line procedures instituted by [her employer] that required non-nurses to perform these procedures.” Farrow v. St. Francis Med. Ctr., 407 S.W.3d 579, 597 (Mo. 2013) (en banc). She cited the NPA for support, which provided only nurses are permitted to insert PICC lines; thus, the hospital’s policy was a violation of public policy. Id.; Mo. Rev. Stat. § 335.011, et seq. (2018). The court determined Farrow’s allegations were not vague and the NPA rules provided public policy, which would not create difficulties of vagueness for employers. Farrow, 407 S.W.3d at 598. Additionally, the court reversed summary judgment originally granted in her employer’s favor on this count. Id. [Return to Text]

44. Respondent’s Brief, supra note 5, at 20–21. [Return to Text]

45. Id. [Return to Text]

46. Id. at 21. [Return to Text]

47. See Yerra v. Mercy Clinic Springfield Cmtys., 536 S.W.3d 348, 350–51 (Mo. Ct. App. 2017), reh’g and/or transfer denied (Nov. 22, 2017), transfer denied (Jan. 23, 2018); see supra Part II.B. [Return to Text]

48. Id. at 351 (citing Margiotta v. Christian Hosp. Ne. Nw., 315 S.W.3d 342, 347 (Mo. 2010) (en banc); Fleshner v. Pepose Vision Inst., P.C., 304 S.W.3d 81, 92 (Mo. 2010) (en banc)). [Return to Text]

49. Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 351 (quoting Van Kirk v. Burns & McDonnell Eng’g Co., 484 S.W.3d 840, 844–45 (Mo. Ct. App. 2016)). [Return to Text]

50. Id. at 353. [Return to Text]

51. See id. at 353–54. [Return to Text]

52. Id. at 353. [Return to Text]

53. Id. at 351 (citing Newsome v. Kansas City, Mo. Sch. Dist., 520 S.W.3d 769, 779 (Mo. 2017) (en banc)). [Return to Text]

54. Id. at 353. [Return to Text]

55. Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 353. [Return to Text]

56. Id. at 354–356 (Rahmeyer, C.J., dissenting). [Return to Text]

57. Id. at 354 (Rahmeyer, C.J., dissenting) (quoting Fleshner v. Pepose Vision Inst., P.C., 304 S.W.3d 81, 96 (Mo. 2010) (en banc)). [Return to Text]

58. Id. at 356 (Rahmeyer, C.J., dissenting). [Return to Text]

59. Id. at 355 (Rahmeyer, C.J., dissenting). Judge Rahmeyer cited three cases: Farrow v. St. Francis Med. Ctr., 407 S.W. 3d 579 (Mo. 2013) (en banc); Hughes v. Freeman Health Sys., 283 S.W.3d 797 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009); and Kirk v. Mercy Hosp. Tri-Cty., 851 S.W.2d 617 (Mo. Ct. App. 1993). [Return to Text]

60. 520 S.W.3d 769 (Mo. 2017) (en banc); Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 355 (Rahmeyer, C.J. dissenting). She noted that the majority opinion did not distinguish any of these cases from Yerra. Id. [Return to Text]

61. Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 355 (Rahmeyer, C.J. dissenting) (quoting Newsome v. Kansas City, 520 S.W.3d 769, 779 (Mo. 2017) (en banc). [Return to Text]

62. Id. (Rahmeyer, C.J. dissenting) (quoting Newsome, 520 S.W.3d 769, 778) (noting the public policy exception was adopted so employers would not be able “to discharge employees, without consequence, for doing that which is beneficial to society”) (internal citation omitted). [Return to Text]

63. Donn C. Meindertsma, Retiring Workplace Tortious Interference Claims, 34 Hofstra Lab. & Emp. L.J. 79, 83 (2016). [Return to Text]

64. See Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 355 (Rahmeyer, C.J., dissenting). [Return to Text]

65. Margiotta v. Christian Hosp. Ne. Nw., 315 S.W.3d 342, 347 (Mo. 2010) (en banc). [Return to Text]

66. See Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 355 (Rahmeyer, C.J., dissenting). [Return to Text]

67. See, e.g., Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 353 (Rahmeyer, C.J., dissenting); see also Zasaretti-Becton v. Habitat Co. of Mo., LLC, No. 4:12CV587, 2012 WL 2396868, at *8 (E.D. Mo. June 25, 2012) (dismissing plaintiff’s whistleblower claim because she only had a “reasonable belief” that her employer violated the law). [Return to Text]

68. See Newsome v. Kansas City, Mo. Sch. Dist., 520 S.W.3d 769, 778 (Mo. 2017) (en banc). [Return to Text]

69. See id. [Return to Text]

70. See id. [Return to Text]

71. Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 355 (Rahmeyer, C.J., dissenting). [Return to Text]

72. Margiotta v. Christian Hosp. Ne. Nw., 315 S.W.3d 342, 347 (Mo. 2010) (en banc). [Return to Text]

73. Respondent’s Brief at 25, Yerra, 536 S.W.3d 348, 2017 WL 4945274 (No. 34448) (citing Mo. Rev. Stat. § 197.285(2) (2018)). [Return to Text]

74. See Debra Davis, Following the Public Policy Exception: Does This Exception Still Accomplish Its Original Goal?, 41 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 501, 501–03 (2016). [Return to Text]

75. See Yerra, 536 S.W.3d at 355 (Rahmeyer, C.J., dissenting). [Return to Text]

76. See Fleshner v. Pepose Vision Inst., P.C., 304 S.W.3d 81, 93 (Mo. 2010) (en banc) (rejecting the “exclusive causation” standard because under that standard, “[e]mployees would be discouraged from reporting their employers’ violations of the law or for refusing to violate the law...”). The exclusive causation standard “would result in an exception that fails to accomplish its task of protecting employees who refuse to violate the law or public policy.” Id. [Return to Text]