Category: Washington

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Expanding Overtime to Farmworkers: Will California Start a Trend?

On September 12, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1066.  The bill, which is the first of its kind in the nation, will entitle California farmworkers to the same overtime pay as most other hourly workers in California. California law defines employees “employed in an agricultural occupation” broadly to include any employment relating to … Continue Reading

Attention Seattle Food Service and Retail Employers: City Council Passes Secure Scheduling Ordinance

On September 19, 2016, Seattle became the second city in the nation (after San Francisco) to pass a “Secure Scheduling Ordinance” with broad implications for the food service and retail industries within Seattle’s city limits.  Scheduled to take effect in July 2017, the Ordinance will place substantial limitations on covered employers’ ability to flexibly schedule … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Refuses to Entertain En Banc Review of its Decision Rejecting Tip-Pooling Arrangements

Earlier this year, we wrote about the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Oregon Rest. & Lodging Ass’n v. Perez, which prohibited tip-pools that include “back-of-the house” employees. Last week, the Court rejected a petition to review the decision en banc. This means that, unless the Supreme Court weighs in on the issue, restaurants in the Ninth Circuit … Continue Reading

Class Action Waivers in Employment Agreements Are No Longer Enforceable in the Ninth Circuit

If your company uses a class action waiver in your employment agreements and you are located in Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, the Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, or Washington, you are out of luck.  Thanks to a recent decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over the aforementioned … Continue Reading

City of Seattle Proposes New Ordinance Regulating Employee Scheduling

Seattle restaurants and retail employers may soon face significant restrictions on employee scheduling.  The Seattle City Council is currently considering a proposed ordinance with the potential to impact hundreds of employers across the City.  Following are the basics of the proposed legislation. What employers would be covered by the proposed ordinance? Retail employers and large … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to Seattle minimum wage law

On May 2, 2016, The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the legal challenge to the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance’s impact on Seattle franchisees (IFA v. Seattle–denial of cert).  We have blogged about Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance (“Ordinance”) before. The Ordinance requires large businesses, defined as those with more than 500 employees, to raise the minimum … Continue Reading

Tacoma, Washington Paid Employee Sick Leave Law Goes Into Effect in February 2016

Flu season is fast approaching, and this winter, Tacoma employers will join Seattle employers in being required to provide paid sick leave. On February 1, 2016, Tacoma’s new paid sick leave ordinance goes into effect.  As we have blogged about before, Tacoma is just the latest of a number of state and local jurisdictions around … Continue Reading

No Joke: Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance Becomes Law

Here’s a couple updates related to the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinace.  Alas for Seattle employers, this is no April Fools joke. Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance Becomes Law As we’ve blogged about before, Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance becomes law on April 1, 2015, raising the minimum hourly wage for Seattle’s lowest paid workers. On March … Continue Reading

Uncharted Territory: Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance

The City of Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance is set to take effect April 1, 2015.  When it does, Seattle will have the highest minimum wage in the nation, outpacing larger metropolises like San Francisco and New York City. Initially, Seattle workers will see a large increase above the State of Washington’s current $9.47 an hour … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Finds Employer’s Discretionary Bonus Not Unlawful “Rebate” Under Wage Rebate Act (“WRA”)

In a 5-4 decision, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled in an employer’s favor and clarified what are, and are not, statutory “wages” and unlawful wage “rebates” under Washington State’s Wage Rebate Act (“WRA”), RCW 49.52 et seq.  The case is LaCoursiere v. CamWest Development, No. 88298-3 (Wash. Oct. 23, 2014) (slip op.).  Camwest Development … Continue Reading

Washington Court of Appeals Expands “Jeopardy” Element of Claim for Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy

This month the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division III issued a ruling in Becker v. Community Health Systems, Inc. that expands protections in a wrongful termination action based on violation of a public policy. In Becker, the Plaintiff, a former chief financial officer for Community Health Systems, Inc. (“CHS”), alleged that while CHS initially … Continue Reading

Washington Court of Appeals Holds Independent Contractors Are Protected from Retaliation by the Washington Law Against Discrimination

The Washington courts are strict in their interpretation of the classification of individuals as employees versus independent contractors, resulting in many an employer discovering that an “independent contractor” is instead an employee. But the Washington Court of Appeals’ recent ruling in Currier v. Northland Services, Inc., confirms that even those individuals who qualify as bona fide … Continue Reading

Washington State Supreme Court’s Decision on Religious Accommodation: What It Means for Employers

Employers in Washington should take note of last week’s decision from the Washington State Supreme Court holding that state law allows a claim for failure to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practices. That result is hardly surprising, but how the Court reached that result, and its other conclusions along the way, will complicate how businesses … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Holds That the WLAD Exemption for Non-Profit Religious Organizations is Unconstitutional as Applied to Certain Employees

The Washington Supreme Court has significantly limited non-profit religious organizations’ immunity from employment discrimination claims brought under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”), RCW 49.60. In Ockletree v. Franciscan Health System, the majority held that the exemption of non-profit religious organizations from the definition of “employer” in the WLAD is unconstitutional as applied in circumstances … Continue Reading

New Seattle Job Assistance Ordinance Limits Employers’ Reliance on Criminal Records

Seattle employers are about to become much more restricted in their ability to inquire into or act upon the criminal records of applicants and employees. On November 1st, the Seattle Job Assistance Ordinance, SMC 14.17, takes effect and will apply to positions that are based in Seattle at least half of the time. The Ordinance does not … Continue Reading

Washington Court Affirms That Anti-Retaliation Laws Protect HR Employees

The Washington Court of Appeals recently determined that state anti-discrimination laws prohibit retaliation against human resources and legal professionals who oppose discrimination as part of their normal job duties. The court also declined to extend the same actor inference, a defense against discrimination claims, to retaliation claims. Lodis worked at Corbis Holdings as a vice president … Continue Reading

Countdown to Washington’s New Hazardous Drugs Rule

In 2014, Washington health care employers will be required to comply with the Department of Labor and Industries’ (“L&I’s”) new Hazardous Drugs Rule.   While today that may seem like the distant future, savvy employers will take time in 2013 to implement measures in compliance with the new rule before the deadline to do so creeps … Continue Reading

Washington State Marijuana Legalization Law Need Not Affect Employer Drug Testing Policies

There are many sound reasons why employers have zero tolerance policies and engage in drug testing of applicants and/or employees, including customer requirements, government contracting requirements (e.g.,the federal Drug Free Workplace Act), federal or state laws (including DOT requirements for transportation workers), workplace safety, productivity, health and absenteeism, and liability.  Some Washington state employers may … Continue Reading

Washington Law Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination Not Retroactive

On September 13, the Washington Supreme Court held that a 2006 amendment to the Washington Law Against Discrimination, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, does not apply retroactively. But the Court also held that evidence of pre-amendment harassment is admissible to show why post-amendment conduct is discriminatory. … Continue Reading

City of Seattle’s New Paid Sick and Safe Time Law To Take Effect in September 2012

  As most Seattle employers know by now and as we blogged about earlier, beginning September 1, 2012, the City of Seattle will require that all but the smallest employers provide paid sick leave to their Seattle employees. Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) mandates that most employers provide paid leave, which increases depending … Continue Reading

Washington Appeals Court Holds No Religious Accommodation Required Under WLAD

In Short v. Battle Ground School District, Division II of the Washington Court of Appeals held last week that Washington’s Law Against Discrimination, which makes it unlawful for employers to discharge employees because of creed, does not require employers to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs. Julie Short, a devout Christian, was employed as an assistant to … Continue Reading

Victory For Employers in Washington Medical Marijuana Case

In a victory for employers, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled that Washington’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act (“MUMA”) does not protect medical marijuana users from adverse hiring or disciplinary decisions based on an employer’s drug test policy. Click here to download a copy of the decision in Roe v. Teletech Customer Care Management. The lawsuit and … Continue Reading