I was top salesperson at a location, subsidiary of large corporation. I was top salesperson among 40 in 2011, As of January 2012, I was excluded from deals that decreased my commissions for consistent $5800+ to minimum wage. I complained and documented situation to management butnothing was done. Can I sue the corporation that owns the business? Would it likely be expensive? Could it be done on contingency?
Absent a definite contract, employment relationships are generally terminable at will. Sedlacek v. Hillis, 145 Wn.2d 379, 385, 36 P.3d 1014 (2001). The Washington State Supreme Court has recognized, however, "that the tort of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy is a narrow exception to the employment at-will doctrine." Id.
To prevail on a wrongful discharge claim, a plaintiff must satisfy a four-factor test. Gardner v. Loomis Armored, Inc., 128 Wn.2d 931, 941, 913 P.2d 377 (1996). Specifically, the plaintiff must show: (1) "the existence of a clear public policy (the clarity element)"; (2) "that discouraging the conduct in which [he] engaged would jeopardize the public policy (the jeopardy element)"; (3) "that the public-policy-linked conduct caused the dismissal (the causation element)"; and, finally, (4) that "[t]he defendant [has not] offer[ed] an overriding justification for the dismissal (the absence of justification element)." Id. These elements are conjunctive, meaning that all four elements must be proved. Ellis v. City of Seattle, 142 Wn.2d 450, 459, 13 P.3d 1065 (2000).
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