Arres v. IMI Cornelius Remcor, Inc.
333 F.3d 812 (7th Cir. 2003)

Facts:
Arres was the HR administrator for Remcor. The Social Security Administration informed the company that 10% of the W-2 forms filed by its employees showed names or numbers that did not agree with federal records.

  • After consulting with the Social Security Administration and one of Remcor’s attorneys, the company decided to send letters to the employees asking them to correct any errors.
  • Arres, however, believed that persons who would furnish bogus Social Security numbers must be aliens who lack visas that authorize work within the United States.
  • As a result, Arres believed that Remcor’s approach was unlawful, and she refused to process the information and was later fired.

Issue:
Was there a valid claim for retaliatory discharge in violation of public policy?

Holding:
No.

Reasoning:

  • Remcor did exactly what the Social Security Administration and its legal counsel suggested: before firing anyone, it tried to separate those who had made inadvertent errors from those who are not entitled to work in the United States.
    • “Imagine the disruption in workplaces everywhere if every person were legally privileged to act (or not act) based on her own view of what the law (federal or state) requires.”