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Davis v. Department of Employment Security

737 P.2d 1262 (1987)

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Davis v. Department of Employment Security

Washington Supreme Court

737 P.2d 1262 (1987)

Facts

Karen Davis (plaintiff) and Andrew Stephens were romantically involved for six years but had never married. Throughout the relationship, Davis worked and lived in Tacoma, Washington, and Stephens lived in Port Angeles, Washington. Davis requested that her employer, Equifax Corporation, transfer her from the Tacoma branch to the Port Angeles branch so that she could live with Stephens. The request was denied, and Davis quit her job to move in with Stephens. After Davis quit, she filed for unemployment benefits with the state’s Department of Employment Security (department) (defendant). The department denied her benefits on the ground that she had voluntarily quit working without good cause. In response, Davis filed a lawsuit against the department. Davis argued that she should receive benefits pursuant to exception RCW 50.20.050(4), under which one may access benefits if his or her marital status was the reason for leaving the workforce. Davis also argued that applying the exception only to married persons was discriminatory against nonmarried individuals living in meretricious relationships and was therefore violative of her equal-protection rights. The county court denied her appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dore, J.)

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