CASE BRIEF 17.8
Gardner v Loomis Armored, Inc.
913 P.2d 377 (Wash. 1996)
FACTS: Kevin Gardner (plaintiff) is a driver for Loomis Armored, Inc.(defendant), which supplies armored truck delivery services to numerous businesses that require secure transport of valuables. Loomis has adopted a policy for all drivers that their truck annot be left un attended. This policy is in the employee handbook and specifically states: Violations of this rule will be grounds for termination. During a scheduled stop, Mr. Gardner witnessed a woman being threatened with a knife by an obviously agitated man. Mr. Gardner left his truck unattended as we went to help the woman. The woman was saved and her assailant was apprehended. Mr. Gardner was fired by Loomis for violating the company policy of not leaving the truck unattended. Mr. Gardener sued for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Judicial Opinion: The narrow public policy encouraging citizens to rescue persons from life threatening situations clearly evinces a fundamental societal interest….The value attached to such acts of heroism is plainly demonstrated by the fact that society has waived most criminal and tort penalties stemming from conduct necessarily committed in the course of saving a life. The court finds that Gardner’s discharge for leaving the truck and saving a woman from an imminent life threatening situation violates the public policy encouraging such heroic conduct. This holding does not create an affirmative legal duty requiring citizens to intervene in dangerous life threating situations. The adherence to public policy does nothing to invalidate Loomis’ work rule regarding drivers’ leaving the trucks. The holding to public policy merely forbids Loomis from firing Gardner when he broke the rule because he reasonably believed his intervention was necessary to save her life. By focusing on this narrow public policy of saving a human life, we continue to protect employers from...
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