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Expanding Public Policy Exceptions to At Will Employment

November 2008
Employment Law Notes
Under Washington common law, employment is presumed to be “at will.” Employers may theoretically terminate employees for any reason or no reason. Of course, the legislature has eroded the employment at will doctrine, such as through passage of civil rights statutes that prohibit terminating an employee for discriminatory reasons or for engaging in protected conduct. Courts have also eroded the employment at will doctrine by recognizing the tort of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. Danny v. Laidlaw Transit Services, Inc., a new decision from the Washington Supreme Court, expands the public policy exception to employment at will even further.