July 10, 1992
CHARLES E. GRAY, APPELLANT
CITIZENS BANK OF WASHINGTON FORMERLY MCLACHLEN NATIONAL BANK, APPELLEE
Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; (Hon. Evelyn E.C. Queen, Trial Judge)
Before Rogers, Chief Judge, Ferren, Terry, Steadman, Schwelb, Farrell, Wagner, King, and Sullivan, Associate Judges, and Reilly, Senior Judge. Dissenting opinion by Associate Judge Wagner, joined by Associate Judges Schwelb and Sullivan.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam
On Rehearing En Banc
PER CURIAM: The petition for rehearing en banc is denied, after oral argument, as improvidently granted. Accordingly, this court's order of April 13, 1992 granting the petition for rehearing en banc is hereby vacated. The division opinion and the Concurring opinions, see Gray v. Citizens Bank of Washington, 602 A.2d 1096 (D.C. 1992), are hereby reinstated.
WAGNER, Associate Judge, with whom SCHWELB and SULLIVAN, Associate Judges, join, Dissenting: I cannot agree with the decision of the court which avoids, after en banc argument, resolution of an issue which implicates the rights of citizens to speak out on issues impacting on the public interest. It was, no doubt, the exceptional importance of the issue raised by this appeal which prompted the court to order en banc consideration. *fn1 That issue is whether there should be a public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine *fn2 which would recognize a cause of action for wrongful termination where an employer discharges an employee for "whistle blowing" activities at a federally chartered and insured bank. *fn3 Several jurisdictions already recognize such an exception. *fn4 Whether this jurisdiction should extend a measure of judicial protection to wrongfully discharged whistle blowers is a question of exceptional importance which should be resolved one way or the other by this court. Appellant's public policy argument, involving as it does alleged retaliation for reports of alleged improprieties at a federally insured banking institution, is particularly significant in this era of failed banks, massive budget deficits and costly government bail-outs, which are financed at the expense of taxpayers. In my opinion, nothing has been presented subsequent to our grant of rehearing en banc and oral argument before the full court which would diminish the importance of the issue for purposes of en banc review. Therefore, I respectfully Dissent from the order of the court vacating the prior order granting rehearing en banc, denying en banc review and reinstating the panel opinion.