Hermreck v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 96-128

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtBefore TAYLOR; THOMAS
Citation938 P.2d 863
PartiesStan HERMRECK, Appellant (Plaintiff), v. UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC., Appellee (Defendant).
Docket NumberNo. 96-128
Decision Date12 June 1997

Page 863

938 P.2d 863
Stan HERMRECK, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC., Appellee (Defendant).
No. 96-128.
Supreme Court of Wyoming.
June 12, 1997.

Page 864

Bernard Q. Phelan, of Phelan Law Offices, Cheyenne, for Appellant.

Steven K. Sharpe and Stephen N. Goodrich, of Nicholas Law Offices, LLC, Cheyenne, for Appellee.

Before TAYLOR, C.J., and THOMAS, MACY, GOLDEN and LEHMAN, JJ.

THOMAS, Justice.

The only issue to be resolved in this case is whether a public policy exception to the employment at will doctrine can be invoked to challenge the termination of an employee whose employment was subject to a collective bargaining agreement. Stan Hermreck (Hermreck) was discharged from his position as a driver for United Parcel Service (UPS) for dishonesty in filling out his time cards. Hermreck filed a grievance pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement, and the grievance panel that heard the matter upheld the discharge. Hermreck then filed this action against UPS alleging that his discharge was wrongful because it was in retaliation for his reporting of violations of the Wyoming Occupational Safety & Health Act by UPS. He also sought to recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The district court ruled that the wrongful discharge claim was foreclosed because a public policy exception to the employment at will doctrine cannot be invoked if the position is covered by a collective bargaining agreement, and Hermreck had not demonstrated the requisite degree of severe emotional distress to justify a trial on that claim for relief. The district court also ruled that the claim could not be maintained because Hermreck had failed to pursue other available remedies. A summary judgment was entered in favor of UPS, which we affirm.

In the Brief of Appellant, Hermreck states that the issues are:

1. Does the existence of a grievance process in a collective bargaining agreement provide "another remedy" precluding an action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy?

2. Does the existence of a complaint procedure contained in an administrative regulation provide "another remedy" precluding an action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy?

3. Is a state law claim for wrongful discharge in violation of the public policy stated in a case where the Surface Transportation Assistance Act sets forth public policy?

In the Brief of Appellee United Parcel Service, Inc., the issues to be resolved are stated in this way:

Page 865

1. Whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to Appellee United Parcel Service, Inc. on Appellant's claim of retaliatory discharge in violation of public policy, because:

A. The "public policy exception" to the at will employment doctrine has no application to employees, like Appellant, who are not at will and who are protected by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement;

B. Even if the "public policy exception" applied regardless of employment status, the grievance and hearing remedy in the collective bargaining agreement provides "another remedy" to Appellant, precluding his cause of action;

C. The Wyoming Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 also provide Appellant with "other remedies," precluding his cause of action; and

D. Appellant's retaliatory discharge claim is barred by a one year statute of limitations?

Hermreck was employed as a truck driver for UPS for nearly thirteen years. On January 7, 1994 UPS terminated Hermreck's employment after it was discovered that Hermreck had manipulated his time cards from January 3, 1994 to January 6, 1994. When he was discharged, Hermreck was a member of a union, and his employment was subject to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement between UPS and Hermreck's labor organization. The collective bargaining agreement provided Hermreck with the right to file a grievance and have a hearing to contest the decision by UPS to terminate him. Hermreck did file a grievance and sought a hearing on his discharge.

Approximately one month after Hermreck was discharged, a grievance panel, composed of both union and company representatives, held a hearing on the grievance that Hermreck filed. To support its claim that "just cause" existed for Hermreck's...

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28 practice notes
  • Mueller v. Zimmer, No. 05-9.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • December 5, 2005
    ...questions of law de novo without affording deference to the decision of the district court. Hermreck v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 938 P.2d 863, 866 (Wyo.1997); Griess v. Office of the Atty. Gen., Div. of Criminal Investigation, 932 P.2d 734, 736 According to our established standards for......
  • Smith v. Bates Technical College, No. 67374-8.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • January 27, 2000
    ...the tort of wrongful discharge is available only when the employment relationship is at-will."); Hermreck v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 938 P.2d 863, 867 (Wyo.1997) ("Where an employment contract is present, there does not exist any necessity for invoking a separate action for the tort of r......
  • Byrd v. Voca Corp. of Washington, D.C., No. 05-CV-778.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • December 31, 2008
    ...at-will employees include, e.g., Stiles v. Am. Gen. Life Ins. Co., 335 S.C. 222, 516 S.E.2d 449 (1999); Hermreck v. United Parcel Serv., 938 P.2d 863 (Wyo.1997); Luethans v. Washington Univ., 894 S.W.2d 169 (Mo.1995); Cullen v. E.H. Friedrich Co., 910 F.Supp. 815, 821 (D.Mass.1995) (citing ......
  • Doll v. U.S. West Communications, Inc., No. Civ.A. 99-D-1714.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • March 9, 2000
    ...have held that a party to a CBA or other employment contract cannot assert such a claim. See Hermreck v. United Parcel Service, 938 P.2d 863, 866 (Wyo.1997); Luethans v. Washington University, 894 S.W.2d 169, 172-73 (Mo.1995); Silva v. Albuquerque Assembly & Distribution Freeport Warehouse ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • Mueller v. Zimmer, No. 05-9.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • December 5, 2005
    ...questions of law de novo without affording deference to the decision of the district court. Hermreck v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 938 P.2d 863, 866 (Wyo.1997); Griess v. Office of the Atty. Gen., Div. of Criminal Investigation, 932 P.2d 734, 736 According to our established standards for......
  • Smith v. Bates Technical College, No. 67374-8.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • January 27, 2000
    ...the tort of wrongful discharge is available only when the employment relationship is at-will."); Hermreck v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 938 P.2d 863, 867 (Wyo.1997) ("Where an employment contract is present, there does not exist any necessity for invoking a separate action for the tort of r......
  • Byrd v. Voca Corp. of Washington, D.C., No. 05-CV-778.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • December 31, 2008
    ...at-will employees include, e.g., Stiles v. Am. Gen. Life Ins. Co., 335 S.C. 222, 516 S.E.2d 449 (1999); Hermreck v. United Parcel Serv., 938 P.2d 863 (Wyo.1997); Luethans v. Washington Univ., 894 S.W.2d 169 (Mo.1995); Cullen v. E.H. Friedrich Co., 910 F.Supp. 815, 821 (D.Mass.1995) (citing ......
  • Doll v. U.S. West Communications, Inc., No. Civ.A. 99-D-1714.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • March 9, 2000
    ...have held that a party to a CBA or other employment contract cannot assert such a claim. See Hermreck v. United Parcel Service, 938 P.2d 863, 866 (Wyo.1997); Luethans v. Washington University, 894 S.W.2d 169, 172-73 (Mo.1995); Silva v. Albuquerque Assembly & Distribution Freeport Warehouse ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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