Category: Washington

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Governor Inslee Announces Statewide Mask Mandate in Washington

On June 23, Governor Jay Inslee announced that facial coverings will be mandatory statewide.  Starting Friday, June 26, anyone in a public space must wear face coverings.  The mandate includes indoor public spaces and outdoor public areas where physical distancing of six feet is not possible.  Individuals may remove face coverings while eating or drinking … Continue Reading

Employees May Now Bring Direct Claims Against Employers for Alleged Violations of the WA Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

Amendments to the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (“WPFMLA”) that went into effect June 11, 2020 include a new private right of action for employees. Under the WPFMLA, employers are prohibited from interfering with, discriminating against, or retaliating against employees exercising their rights under the Act. Previously, any claims of interference, discrimination, or … Continue Reading

Washington Governor Extends Proclamation Requiring Accommodation of High-Risk Employees

Governor Inslee has extended – until at least August 1, 2020 – his proclamation prohibiting all Washington employers from failing to provide accommodations to workers at high risk should they contract COVID-19.  See here for our discussion of the details of the accommodation requirements and here for the Governor’s extension order.… Continue Reading

Washington’s Safe Start Proclamation for Phased Reopening Includes a Mandate That Employees Wear Cloth Face Coverings

At midnight on May 31, Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” order expired, replaced by his “Safe Start – Stay Healthy” order of the same day (“Safe Start Proclamation”).  Under the Safe Start Proclamation, any county may apply to transition to Phase II of the Safe Start Washington plan if it can demonstrate that … Continue Reading

Be Aware: SHSH Violations Will Be Treated As WISHA Violations

In response to recent developments displaying the difficulties in enforcing Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home Stay Healthy” order (“SHSH”), the state Department of Labor & Industries has acted.  Now a violation of SHSH will be treated as a violation of Washington’s health and safety regulations, and subject employers to the full panoply of fines and … Continue Reading

The Status of Washington’s COVID-19 Restrictions: Phased Reopening, Contact Tracing, and Mask Requirements

Phased Reopening As part of his proclamation extending the Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order through May 31, Governor Inslee established a phased approach to reopening the state: Safe Start Washington. Under the plan, the entire state began in Phase I of four planned phases, with each phase expected to last at least three weeks. … Continue Reading

Ten Things to Consider In Getting Back to Work

As restrictions are easing, employers are planning for and starting to bring people back to work.  In these extraordinary times, everyone recognizes that things will not be business as usual.  Here is our “Top 10” checklist of things to consider as we move toward the “new normal.” Reluctant Returners. Many employees are eager to return … Continue Reading

Washington’s Emergency Unemployment Rules May Help Employers Retain Talent During COVID-19

Many Washington employers are looking for ways to retain skilled labor until businesses reopen.  The Washington Employment Security Department’s (“ESD”) emergency rules may help during the COVID-19 crisis.  Employers who plan to rehire employees when businesses reopen may request “standby” status for laid off employees, which has been expanded under the emergency rules. Standby status … Continue Reading

Seattle City Council Expands Paid Sick and Safe Time in Response to COVID-19

The Seattle City Council has expanded Paid Sick and Safe Time (“PSST”) in response to COVID-19.  In addition to the usual reasons for which a Seattle employee may use PSST, the new amendments provide that Seattle employees must be allowed to use their accrued PSST: when the employee’s family member’s school or place of care … Continue Reading

Washington Governor Mandates That Employers Accommodate Employees at High Risk of Contracting COVID-19

For at least the next two months, Washington employers are required to take extra measures to accommodate employees characterized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be at higher than normal risk of severe illness or death if they contract COVID-19.  On April 13, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-46, “High-Risk Employees – … Continue Reading

COVID-19 – Information Updates

We continue to stay up to speed on workplace-related legal issues as we all navigate this challenging time. Many of you attended the webinar we put on today, Taming the COVID-19 Chaos: What Employers Need to Know.  The materials from that presentation are available here.  Please join us for another webinar next Wednesday, March 18; … Continue Reading

Washington’s New Leave Laws and the COVID-19 Outbreak

No sooner has Washington enacted two major new leave laws – the Washington Paid Sick Leave Law and the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (WPFML) – than the State has found itself to be one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Here is what Washington employers need to know about Paid Sick … Continue Reading

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020

As 2019 comes to an end, employers should know about important new obligations that will ring in their new year.  Our Labor & Employment experts offer some guidance on critical developments in Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho that employers should be prepared for in 2020. Oregon The statute of limitations for discrimination and harassment claims … Continue Reading

Benefits Kick in for Washington Employees Under the New Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

Beginning January 1, 2020, Washington employees will have access to the benefits of Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (“WPFML”) law, administered by the Washington Employment Security Department (“ESD”). Nearly all Washington employees will be eligible, with limited exceptions for self-employed, federal, and tribal employees, as well as employees who perform only occasional and incidental … Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About Balance Billing

On November 19, 2019, at 11 a.m. PT, I will be co-presenting a webinar with HMA’s Senior Manager, Compliance Services, Jessica Rothe, in which we will outline legislative efforts being made at the state and federal levels to protect patients from surprise balance billing by out-of-network providers. We will also discuss how health plan out-of-network cost containment strategies … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Requires Proof of “But For” Causation for Claims Under Americans with Disabilities Act

On Tuesday, August 20, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case entitled Murray v. Mayo Clinic, joined four other Circuit Courts of Appeal in holding that a “but for” causation standard applies in ADA discrimination claims.  This standard is considered to make it more difficult for employees to prove discrimination claims than what … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Announces Zero-Tolerance Approach to Sexual Harassment in Places of Public Accommodation

The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) prohibits “places of public accommodation” from discriminating against their customers on the basis of several protected characteristics, including, without limitation, sex, race, national origin, and sexual orientation. Sexual harassment is one prohibited form of such sex-based discrimination.  Generally speaking, a place of public accommodation is any business that is … Continue Reading

No Peace for Piece-Rate Pay in Washington Agriculture

In yet another blow to agricultural employers, grab your stopwatches. In Carranza v. Dovex Fruit Co., the Washington Supreme Court has just held that agricultural employers are required to compensate piece-rate workers on a separate hourly basis for time spent performing tasks outside the specific scope of the piece-rate work. In a narrow 5-4 majority, … Continue Reading

Washington Legislature Enacts Multiple Anti-Employer Statutes

No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session. · Judge Gideon J. Tucker In the recently concluded session, Washington legislators enacted numerous laws that will adversely affect employers of all sizes across the State. With so many changes, it is key that employers stay up to date and understand … Continue Reading

Washington State to Consider Paid Family Leave

Last week, representatives of the business community and employee groups completed negotiations to create a paid family and medical leave insurance program in Washington. Many details need to be worked out, the actual legislation has not yet been drafted, and the Washington Legislature has a number of other issues demanding its attention. Nonetheless, there are substantial … Continue Reading

Washington State Enacts Its Own “Blacklisting” Statute

Although federal contractors were able to breathe a sigh of relief after the current administration put a stop to President Obama’s “Blacklisting” executive order, employers in the state of Washington must now comply with their own “blacklisting” law.  On May 8, Washington state signed into law Senate Bill 5301 (“SB 5301”), which bans employers from … Continue Reading

New Drug Testing Rules in Oregon Follow OSHA

Employers are probably aware that OSHA’s new drug testing and anti-retaliation rule is now in effect. (See our post here discussing the rule.)  However, as we blogged previously, many states have their own reporting requirements, which are not required to track OSHA’s  rules precisely, but which must be “at least as effective” as OSHA’s rules. … Continue Reading
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