Roberts v. Dudley

In Roberts v. Dudley, 140 Wn.2d 58, 993 P.2d 901 (2000 ), the employer was too small for the applicable statutory remedies to apply. Roberts, 140 Wn.2d at 60. Even so, this court was willing to extend remedies to the plaintiff under the tort of wrongful discharge in violation of the more general public policy expressed in the statute. Id. at 70. Yet the key distinction between Roberts and this case is that the Roberts court relied on a clear mandate of Washington public policy. The Roberts court found that the public policy against sex discrimination was firmly established in Washington statute, 140 Wn.2d at 66-73 (citing RCW 49.12.200 and chapter 49.60 RCW) and in Washington case law, id. at 66 (citing Marquis v. City of Spokane, 130 Wn.2d 97, 922 P.2d 43 (1996)). The Washington Supreme Court enumerates the sources for the public policy against sex discrimination. That court first noted that "the purpose of the law [against discrimination] is to deter and to eradicate discrimination in Washington, which has been recognized as a 'policy of the highest priority.'" Id., 66. That court then identified several statutory bases for the public policy against discrimination. Those statutes include one headed "Women may pursue any calling open to men" and a general antidiscrimination statute that also contains a specific provision regarding employment discrimination. Id., 67-68.