In Victory by Potomac Law Maryland High Court Rules That a “For Cause” Provision in Contract Negates Presumption of At-will Employment

Washington, DC, August 28, 2014 — Potomac Law Group Counsel Harry Silver secured a unanimous victory in a novel employment law ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court in Maryland.

On Thursday, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that Carla Adam was wrongfully terminated by Spacesaver Systems, Inc. because her employment contract stated that she could be terminated “for cause,” despite Maryland’s strong presumption that all employment is “at-will.”  The Court of Appeals found that, while Ms. Adam’s employment contract did not meet the prerequisites of a lifetime contract, it was a “continuous for cause” contract, much like tenure.

“[W]e agree with the Court of Special Appeals [the intermediate appellate court] that the Employment Agreement should not be interpreted as at-will employment.  We distinguish this Employment Agreement from those alleged oral lifetime employment contracts that were consistently rejected by Maryland courts.  It was a formal written employment contract executed by each of the three shareholders and did not lack for clarity in terms,” Judge Sally D. Adkins wrote in the opinion.

The full decision in Spacesaver Systems, Inc. v. Carla Adam can be viewed here.