expectation and implied guarantee of continued employment by defendant." On this basis, the plaintiff asserts that she may recover for breach of contract.
Primarily, the plaintiff's breach of contract claim should be dismissed because it is time barred by the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in this jurisdiction for a breach of contract claim is three years, commencing at the time of the alleged breach. D.C. Code § 12-301(7). See Prouty v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., 572 F. Supp. 200, 205 (D.D.C. 1983). Although the claim was filed more than two months after the statutory period and is, therefore, time-barred, the Court does examine the claim in light of the liberal policy basis for claims brought under and with Title VII actions.
The general rule in the District of Columbia is that employment contracts of indefinite duration are terminable by the employer or employee at will with no ensuing liability on the part of either. See Taylor v. Greenway Restaurant, Inc., 173 A.2d 211 (D.C. 1961). The plaintiff asserts that the general rule was modified in Hodge v. Evans Financial Corp., 228 U.S. App. D.C. 161, 707 F.2d 1566 (D.C. Cir. 1983), such that an exception was created for "implied" employment contracts. Hodge is not applicable to this case in that this case does not present a question of the parties' intent when they negotiated a contract for permanent employment. The plaintiff here admits that at the time of the agreement the contract was for an indefinite term with no mention of permanent employment. Absent a contractual agreement by the parties to the contrary, employment contracts in this jurisdiction are terminable at will. See Sullivan v. Heritage Foundation, 399 A.2d 856, 860 (D.C. 1979).
Furthermore, the plaintiff's assertion that at a minimum, she was entitled to reasonable notice of her dismissal is unfounded under the decision in Uriarte v. Perez-Molina, 434 F. Supp. 76 (D.D.C. 1977). The plaintiff states that the Court in Uriarte held that an allegation of termination without reasonable notice supports a cause of action for breach of an at-will contract. The facts in that case are determinatively different from those in this case since Uriarte had a contract for the court to review. Furthermore, the court's mention of "reasonable time" does not support a cause of action, but pertains to a principle of contract construction that "a contract of indeterminate duration may become terminable by . . . either party after a reasonable lapse of time." Id. at 79-80. Uriarte failed to allege that a reasonable time did not lapse prior to his dismissal. The plaintiff's argument would, perhaps, seem more valid if she gave some explanation that two consecutive 30-day probationary periods were something other than a notice of dissatisfaction. The possibly discriminatory motive for these periods is unimportant for the basis of this particular claim.
In the absence of an express contractual provision or a pre-hearing inducement to the contrary, there is no indication that plaintiff's employment was not at will. Neither an employer nor an employee need give notice of termination to the other in an at-will relationship. Taylor v. Greenway Restaurant, Inc., supra. Such termination may be given for any reason at the wish of either party. See id. For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's breach of contract claim must be dismissed.
B. Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy
In Count III of the plaintiff's complaint, she argues that the Court should promulgate a public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine. The plaintiff states that she was wrongfully discharged in violation of the non-retaliation provision of the Human Rights Act -- a clear contravention of public policy. She relies on a number of decisions in other jurisdictions which have recognized this intentional tort. See, e.g., Adler v. American Standard Corp., 291 Md. 31, 432 A.2d 464 (1981). This jurisdiction does not recognize a public policy exception. Furthermore, Adler is distinguishable, even in Maryland, when, as here, there exists a statutory remedy for violations of clear public policy. See Chekey v. BTR Realty, Inc., 575 F. Supp. 715, 717 (D. Md. 1983).
Beyond the non-existence of this cause of action in this jurisdiction, the claim is time-barred in that it was filed after the District of Columbia's residuary limitations period of three years. D.C. Code § 12-301(8) (1981). This claim therefore must be dismissed.
C. Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
Count IV alleges that an implied contract of good faith and fair dealing existed between the parties such that NCHP could not act arbitrarily and fire the plaintiff without just cause or notice. Although some jurisdictions permit recovery under this theory, this jurisdiction has not followed suit.
Since an action for an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing would not be recognized in this jurisdiction and moreover since this claim is also time-barred by the residuary limitations statute, this Court declines to recognize this theory of liability.
In accordance with the foregoing reasons and upon consideration of the defendant's motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment and the motion to strike the plaintiff's request for a jury trial, compensatory and punitive damages under Title VII, the opposition thereto, and the replies, surreplies, and supplemental memoranda thereafter, it hereby is
ORDERED, that the defendant's motion to dismiss is granted in its entirety and the plaintiff's amended complaint is dismissed with prejudice.