Roe v. Teletech Customer Care Mgmt. LLC, 171 Wn.2d 736 (2011) (WELA BRIEF FILE ERROR)

This case involved the termination from employment of an authorized medical marijuana patient, Jane Roe, from her job as a customer service representative, due to a failed drug test. There was no allegation that Roe either used or was under the influence of marijuana while at work. Roe alleged that Washington’s Medical Marijuana Initiative created an implied cause of action or, alternatively, that her termination was in violation of a clear mandate of public policy.

The Washington Supreme Court issued an 8-1 ruling against Roe, holding that Washington’s medical marijuana initiative does not provide a private cause of action, either express or implied, for wrongful discharge based on medical marijuana use and also that there is no clear public policy that supports a wrongful discharge claim in violation of such a policy. Justice Wiggins wrote for the Majority. Justice Chambers dissented.

WELA filed an amicus brief which focused on the public policy claim, and argued that there existed a clear mandate of public policy. WELA further argued that the overriding justification element of that tort: 1) was an affirmative defense, 2) was an issue of law of the court; 3) did not apply for generalized workplace policies; and 4) applied only where causation was admitted. The Court did not reach WELA’s arguments concerning the overriding justification element.


View Court’s Opinion: Roe v. Teletech