Survey of Washington Law: Employment Law: Terminable At-Will Rule

THE WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT REAFFIRMS THE TERMINABLE AT-WILL RULE WITH THREE EXCEPTIONS. Thompson v. St. Regis Paper Company, 102 Wn. 2d 219, 685 P.2d 1081 (1984).

In Thompson v. St. Regis Paper Company, the Washington Supreme court reaffirmed the common law terminable at-will doctrine while recognizing three major exceptions. First, the court held that an employer could contractually modify the terminable at-will relationship through provisions found in employee handbooks and manuals. Second, the court held that employers could be obligated to act in accordance with policies and provisions set out in employee handbooks and manuals. Third, the court held that an employer could be liable in tort if the discharge of the employee contravened a clear mandate of public policy. In addition, the court refused to imply a covenant of good faith and fair dealing in every employment contract.

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Robert F. Greer, Survey of Washington Law: Employment Law: Terminable At-Will Rule, 20 Gonz. L. Rev. 587 (1985).

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