November 8, 2016 – Although it is Election Day, there is an important case being heard before the Missouri Supreme Court today that could affect any business that uses contractors.
Suppose you have a contract with a plumbing company and you decide to stop using that company. Should the company be able to file a lawsuit against you claiming they should be protected as a “whistleblower?
In Bishop & Associates LLC v. Ameren Corporation, SC 95658, the Missouri Supreme Court will decide if an independent contractor may avail themselves of protections that are reserved for employees – that is, whether a contractor may claim “whistleblower” protection. Importantly, there is no dispute in the case as to whether the contractor was indeed a contractor. The question is if protections that only exist to protect employees in the employer/employee relationship apply to any other situations.
Associated Industries of Missouri, the Missouri Business Legal Center, and others filed a brief prepared by David Bohm with the Danna McKitrick law firm supporting Ameren’s position in the case: that whistleblower protections do not apply outside the employer/employee relationship.
If this contractor is successful in expanding the application of protections normally allowed only in the employer/employee relationship to contractor relationships, you can imagine the negative impact on Missouri businesses.
We will keep you posted of developments in this case.