Karin Jones

Karin Jones

Karin Jones provides practical advice to employers regarding a wide variety of workplace and personnel issues and helps employers minimize the risk and impact of workplace problems.  When litigation arises, she represents employers before administrative agencies and the state and federal courts.  Karin has experience representing employers in disputes involving discrimination, harassment, reasonable accommodation, employee family and medical leave, wage and hour claims, workplace safety (WISHA/OSHA), and whistleblower complaints, among other workplace issues.

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Seattle Municipal Code Protections for Hotel Employees Take Effect

On July 1, 2020, legislation went into effect providing additional protections for certain hotel and motel employees in Seattle.  The legislation was enacted to protect Seattle hotel workers from harassment and discrimination, unsafe workloads, and job insecurity and to provide increased access to medical care. Hotel Employees Safety Protections In hotels and motels with 60 … Continue Reading

EEOC Guidance: Employers Cannot Test Employees for COVID-19 Antibodies

The legal landscape continues to shift rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As we reported here and here, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) guidance allows employers to require employee temperature checks, as well as worker testing aimed at detecting COVID-19, even though such testing by an employer would ordinarily raise issues under the Americans with Disabilities … Continue Reading

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

Alaska Reopens for Business

Much of Alaska will be allowed to reopen as of 8 a.m. on May 22.   Governor Dunleavy has announced that the state will move straight from its current Phase II of the Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan, which permits only limited business operations, to Phase IV.  Most businesses will be allowed to fully reopen on Friday.  … 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

Governor Dunleavy Issues Phase 1 of the Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan

On April 22, Governor Dunleavy announced Health Mandate 016, reflecting Phase 1 of the Governor’s Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan.  The Governor anticipates issuing information on Phases 2 through 5 of the Plan in the near future. Phase 1 of the Plan permits limited openings of businesses, including restaurants, retail businesses, personal services businesses, and both … 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

Ninth Circuit Rules That Basing Employees’ Wages on Their Prior Compensation Violates the Equal Pay Act

Employers in the Ninth Circuit (which includes Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawai’i) can no longer justify pay differentials between male and female employees based upon employees’ prior compensation. In an April 9, 2018 decision, Rizo v. Yovino, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled prior Circuit law to hold that … 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

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
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