Friday, May 11, 2018, WELA filed an amicus brief in Martin v. Gonzaga University. In this case Plaintiff claimed that he was terminated from employment because he reported safety violations in the University gymnasium in violation of public policy. Summary judgment was granted for the University and the Plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed and the Supreme Court granted review.
WELA argued that the Perritt framework for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy only applies when the facts do not fit into one of the four traditional categories recognized in Thompson v. St. Regis. Because this is a whistleblower case (one of the four categories), the Court of Appeals erred when it applied the Perritt framework. The “overriding justification” element is an affirmative defense and part of the Perritt framework, and not Thompson. WELA urged the Court to clarify “overriding justification” to avoid confusion in those rare cases where the Perritt framework applies.
WELA argued that Plaintiff satisfied the “substantial factor” standard and that summary judgment in favor of the employer should be reversed.
Jeffrey Needle and Mike Subit wrote the amicus brief for WELA. Read WELA’s amicus brief HERE.