Wrongful Discharge Doctrine Washington State

The Court extended the wrongful discharge doctrine in Roberts v. Dudley, 140 Wn.2d 58, 993 P.2d 901 (2000) . Roberts alleged that Dudley discharged her because she was pregnant and that this discharge was wrongful in violation of Washington's public policy against sex discrimination. Id. at 61. The Roberts court held that the WLAD created a clear mandate of public policy against sex discrimination that governs all Washington employers, even though the WLAD's statutory remedies can apply only to employers with eight or more employees. Id. at 72-73; RCW 49.60.040(3). Although Dudley never employed eight or more employees, the public policy expressed in the WLAD provided a basis for the plaintiff's wrongful discharge claim. Roberts, 140 Wn.2d at 72-73 . Therefore, in Roberts, the Court allowed a wrongful discharge claim outside of the categories listed in Gardner, and it expressed a willingness to hold that a broad public policy articulated in a statute could extend beyond the reach of the statutory remedies created by the Legislature so long as the policy is clear. Id. at 69-70, 64-65 (retaining the four-element Gardner test).