Wrongful termination in violation of public policy

January 9, 2010

One type of wrongful termination case arises when  the employer’s conduct violating a statute that specifically gives the employee the right to sue when for a violation of the law,  such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, where there has been discrimination by sex or race.

But when there is no specific legal violation of a statute that sets forth a remedy for the employee, then under  case law of  the State of  Washington, there may still be a case of wrongful termination based on violation of “public policy.”

Washington courts have generally recognized the public policy exception when an employer terminates an employee as a result of his or her

1) refusal to commit an illegal act,

(2) performance of a public duty or obligation,

(3) exercise of a legal right or privilege, or

(4) in retaliation for reporting employer misconduct.

Danny v. Laidlaw Transit Services, Inc. 165
Wn.2d 200, 207-208, 193 P.3d 128, 131 – 132
(2008).
 
Examples of terminations that violate public policy doctrine are when an armored car driver got out of the vehicle, violating  his employer’s policy, to aid  a crime victim, and was fired. Another example was where an employer fired a woman for missing work due to domestic violence.

Call William Edelblute  Attorney at Law, (509)
928-3711 or bill@edellaw.com to see if your
circumstances could fit under the “public policy”
exception to the “at-will” doctrine.

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