Plaintiff?? Ramona?? Danny?? and?? her?? children suffered ongoing domestic violence by her husband so she requested time off from work to move her children away.? ?After her employer initially? refused? her? request,? Danny’s? husband beat her son so badly that he had to be hospitalized. ?Danny again requested time off to move her children to a shelter and the manager approved the paid time off.?? Danny then talked with the police about protection, assisted in the prosecution for the assault of her son, and used public services to obtain transitional housing, domestic violence education, counseling and health services, and legal assistance. A month after returning to work, Danny was demoted and then fired allegedly for falsifying payroll records. In ?response ?to ?a ?certified ?question ?from? the Western? District? of? Washington,? where? Danny filed suit, the Washington Supreme Court declared that ?the State of Washington established a clear mandate of public policy of protecting domestic violence survivors and their families and holding their abusers accountable?.?? ?This policy is manifested in numerous legislative, judicial, constitutional, and executive expressions of public policy.?
Finding ?a public policy of preventing domestic violence most clearly established in the State’s legislative enactments,? the Court cited numerous statutes ?enacted ?and? enhanced? since ?1979 protecting victims of domestic violence and pronouncing society?s need to address this virtual epidemic,? as well? as? statutes? protecting? children from abuse.? ?And the Court stated that ?The legislature has emphasized that crime victims have a civic and moral duty to fully and voluntarily cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies,? and created criminal statutes regarding domestic? ?violence? ?and?? interfering?? with?? the reporting of abuse, and provided courts with the ability to order a perpetrator into treatment. ?As the first to rely on executive sources of policy, the opinion explained that ?This court has never characterized the list set forth in Thompson as exhaustive, the Court explained that public policy may come from other sources such as Executive Order 96-05? which directs state agencies to create workplace environments that assist domestic violence victims ?without fear of reproach? by adjusting work schedules, granting leave to victims ?to obtain medical treatment, counseling, legal assistance, to leave the area, or to make other arrangements to create a safer situation for themselves.?? ?The Court found as a source the Washington? Constitution’s? crime? victim amendment acknowledging that ?Effective law enforcement depends on cooperation from victims of crime.? Wash. Const. art. I, ? 35. ?Additionally, the Court relied on a series of court decisions, including Gardner v. Loomis Armored, Inc., 128 Wn.2d ?931 ?(2006), ?declaring ?that ??The ?judicial expression? of? public? policy? is? likewise pervasive.? ?The Court rejected the assertion that a source of public policy must have a nexus to employment,?? and?? declined?? to?? rule?? on?? the jeopardy? element,? finding? that? it? involved? a factual determination.
Justice Fairhurst authored a concurrence, expressing ?concerns? about? legal? claims burdening employers but joining in the holding and rejecting the dissent?s contention that the source? of? public? policy? must? relate? to employment even where the evidence of the public policy is ?overwhelming.? ?Concurring in part, Justice Madsen engaged in a balancing test in which the employer had a ?minimal interest in discharging a person for engaging in such conduct,? stating that ?public policy clearly prohibits employers from discharging an employee for obtaining a protection order, filing a complaint against an abuser, cooperating with the investigation and prosecution of the alleged abuser, finding living arrangements, or accessing support services for domestic violence victims.? But also dissenting, in part, joined by Justice C. Johnson, Justice Madsen contended that the cited sources of public policy did not establish a public policy in favor of leave from work to domestic violence victims. ?Similarly, a dissent by Justice James Johnson joined by Justice Sanders contended? that? sources? must? relate? to employment, that Gardner was limited to ?split- second, lifesaving behavior,? and that the Executive Order was a source only for state employees.?? Danny v. Laidlaw Transit Services, Inc., 193 P.3d 128 (2008). (Plurality:? ?Lead opinion by J. Owens, joined by Chambers and Bridge Pro Tem; concurrence by J. Fairhurst joined by Alexander; concurrence in part, dissent in? part? by? J.? Madsen? joined? by? C.? Johnson; dissent by J. J. Johnson joined by Sanders).