A Manhattan judge has ruled that the employee-at-will doctrine, which permits employees to be fired for any reason, does not apply to law firm associates who are terminated for refusing to go along with unethical conduct.

Gerard A. Connolly, a former associate at the high-profile Manhattan personal injury firm formerly known as Napoli, Kaiser & Bern, sued the firm and its name partners last year, alleging he was asked by partner Gerald Kaiser to sign an affidavit stating that a client’s wife had signed a release waiving her claims to an $850,000 settlement.

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