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Labor & Employment Law: Washington Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits Law
Washington Court Allows Wrongful Discharge Claim by Women?s Basketball Coach
By Donald W. Heyrich
Trev Kiser was the women?s basketball coach at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. Kisar complained to school officials about a pattern of inequality between the men's and women's basketball programs, such as in the quality of the officiating assigned to women?s games, the team budgets, and travel accommodations, and that the college?s athletic director was hostile toward the women?s team. Kisar testified that, after he complained about the inequity in the programs, he was warned by the athletic director to ?quit with the Title 9 complaints" or he would be fired and never coach again. After he was terminated, Kisar contended that his complaints about the women?s program caused the termination of his employment. He alleged claims for retaliatory discharge and wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. The college, on the other hand, contended that Kiser was fired because he misappropriated player per diem funds and misused his school gas card. The Washington Court of Appeals concluded that the case could go forward because the record supports a reasonable inference that the College had a retaliatory motive when terminating Kiser. According to the court,
Kiser met his burden of production with regard to pretext, given (1) the direct evidence of [the athletic director's] threat and his continued employment at the College after his dismissal from his coaching duties and (2) the questions Kiser raised surrounding the timing, motivation, and thoroughness of the College's investigation.
A copy of the ?unpublished? opinion can be found here.
Full post as published by Washington Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits Law on March 26, 2008 (boomark / email).
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