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
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…
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.
- The statute of limitations for discrimination and harassment claims
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…
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…
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…
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 open to the public.
On January 31, 2019, the Washington Supreme Court announced a new sexual harassment standard for places of public accommodation. In so ruling, the Court held that, under the WLAD, employers are “directly liable for the sexual harassment of members of the public by their employees, just as they would be if their employees turned customers away because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.” Floeting v. Group Health, Inc., No. 95205-1.
Continue Reading Washington Supreme Court Announces Zero-Tolerance Approach to Sexual Harassment in Places of Public Accommodation
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…
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 the new challenges they will face in running their workplaces.
WASHINGTON HAS ‘BANNED THE BOX’ (2SHB 1298)
Washington is now firmly on the bandwagon to “ban the box,” barring questions about criminal convictions on initial employment applications. Employers are now prohibited from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal background until the employee is determined to be otherwise qualified for the position. The new law thus provides another area where employers have to tread carefully when rejecting applicants—an employer is much more baldly exposed to disparate impact claims arising from applicants rejected after the employer had determined they were otherwise qualified for the position. The law includes several exceptions, including for law enforcement, employers whose employees would have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults, and other employers required by law to conduct criminal background checks. The Attorney General’s Office is in charge of enforcing the law, and employers face an escalating system with increased fines for each subsequent violation.
Suggested Action: Remove any criminal background questions from job applications. While the statute bars advertising that states “no felons” or “no criminal background” or the like, nothing precludes employers from advising applicants at the time they apply that they will have to pass a criminal background check once they have been determined to be qualified for the job. Employers should monitor applicants screened out by the results of a criminal background check. If an employer detects a disparate impact as a result of that screening, the employer should ensure that its actions are consistent with business necessity.
Continue Reading Washington Legislature Enacts Multiple Anti-Employer Statutes
The Washington Supreme Court case Brady v. Autozone recently addressed the standards that apply when a non-exempt employee alleges that an employer did not provide meal breaks. In short: it is now clear that if a lawsuit is brought, employers are likely to bear the burden to show that break laws have not been violated.
Continue Reading The Washington Supreme Court Addresses Meal Break Claims