Edmondson v. Shearer Lumber Products

75 P.3d 733 (2003)

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Edmondson v. Shearer Lumber Products

Idaho Supreme Court
75 P.3d 733 (2003)

  • Written by Robert Cane, JD
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Facts

Michael Edmonson (plaintiff) worked for Shearer Lumber Products (Shearer) (defendant) for 22 years. Edmonson was an employee at Shearer’s Elk City mill. Edmonson regularly attended public meetings and actively participated in the local community. Shearer’s owner created a project called Save Elk City that aimed to influence the management of the Nez Perce National Forest via a proposal submitted to the Federal Lands Task Force Working Group. Edmonson did not opine publicly on any proposals made to the task force, but Shearer learned that Edmonson privately opposed the Save Elk City proposal. Higher-ups at Shearer spoke to Edmonson twice about his participation with the task force. They commanded Edmonson to refrain from forming any opinions about the Save Elk City proposal and from making any statements opposing the proposal. Later, Shearer told its employees to support the proposal to avoid serious consequences. Soon after, David Paisley, Shearer’s plant manager, fired Edmonson, stating the reason was his continued involvement in activities that were harmful to Shearer’s long-term interests. John Bennett, Shearer’s general manager, explained in his deposition that Edmonson was terminated for opposing the Save Elk City proposal. Edmonson filed an action for wrongful termination against Shearer. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Shearer, finding that the public-policy exception to the at-will-employment doctrine did not apply. Edmonson appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Walters, J.)

Dissent (Kidwell, J.)

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