Wilson v. City of Monroe

In Wilson v. City of Monroe, 88 Wn. App. 113, 121, 943 P.2d 1134 (1997), review denied, 134 Wn.2d 1028, 958 P.2d 318 (1998), Division One held the cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy extends to all employees and may be brought "notwithstanding the existence of other remedies." Allowing a former municipal employee to sue for wrongful termination in retaliation for "whistleblowing," the court reasoned: "The tort cause of action for termination in contravention of public policy is not confined to at-will employment situations, but is available to all employees because the tort embodies a strong state interest in protecting against violations of public policy." Wilson, 88 Wn. App. at 115-16. The court recognized the tort of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy is distinct from an action based in contract and explained: Wilson's right to be free from wrongful termination in contravention of public policy may not be altered or waived by private agreement, and is therefore a nonnegotiable right. Furthermore, the right does not originate in the CBA provision that requires just cause for termination, or depend on interpretation of the CBA--the right is independent of any contractual agreement between Wilson and the City. Id. at 117-18.