Worker who removed vehicle seat from company property cannot claim wrongful discharge
Bruce Nyquist was promoted by Tilden Mining Company from a union position to management. He was willing to accept the promotion only if it was accompanied by a letter that continued his union protections in the form an implication of "just cause" employment (i.e., he believed the letter established that he could be discharged only on a showing of just cause, not "at the employer's will"). Some time later, the Company determined that Nyquist had wrongfully left company property with the seat from a company production truck in the back of his pick-up. The very brief opinion by the Court does not explain whether Nyquist had an explanation for this act, and appears to simply assume that it was simple, outright theft.
In any event, the Company fired Nyquist as a result of the incident and he brought a legal action for wrongful discharge. Nyquist argued that under the promotion letter language, he was no longer an "at will" employee and his breach of company policy involving the truck seat did not constitute "good cause" for firing him. The Court of Appeals did not reach the promotion letter issue because it ruled that leaving company property with the seat "concealed" in his truck bed was "good cause" for termination of Nyquist, regardless.