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Abstract

In 2008, Matthew Cudney was terminated from his employment with ALSCO, Inc. a few weeks after reporting to his supervisor and human resources manager that he observed the branch general manager appearing intoxicated at work and driving away in a company vehicle. Cudney brought an action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, claiming that he was terminated in retaliation for reporting the manager’s drinking and driving. In a 5–4 decision, the Washington Supreme Court held that Cudney’s tort claim of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy could not proceed. This Note contends that the Cudney court erred in determining that WISHA adequately promotes the public policy of insuring workplace safety; in deciding that public safety is adequately promoted by Washington’s DUI laws; and in finding that the common law exception of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy does not apply in this case. Furthermore, the court’s determination that DUI laws adequately promote public policy, regardless of whether a remedy is available to the terminated employee, leaves an employee with no recourse for a wrongful termination and may discourage employees from reporting criminal activity.