Wage Theft, Minimum Wage Violations: Most Costly Areas for Employers Investigated by the Seattle Office of Labor Standards

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According to data reports published by the Seattle Office of Labor Standards – which enforces the City’s labor standards for minimum wage, Paid Sick and Safe Time, Fair Chance Employment, and other related laws – the costliest areas of enforcement for employers are violations of minimum wage and wage theft ordinances.

In the first six months of 2019, Seattle businesses paid out almost $1.5 million in financial remedies as a result of Seattle Office of Labor Standards investigations.  Of that sum, approximately $1.2 million was related to violations of minimum wage and wage theft ordinances.

Unfortunately, even businesses that endeavor to treat employees fairly can inadvertently commit violations.  Employment law is fast-changing field, especially in the State of Washington and the City of Seattle, which have both been on the forefront of employee-friendly legislation.  What the law requires is not always intuitive: it is essential to have legal guidance on everything from general employment policies and practices to specific hiring and firing decisions.

If you are a business that employs people who work in the City of Seattle – even if your actual place of business is not located in the city – you cannot afford to be doing business without consulting an employment attorney.  Most people do not think to hire an attorney until something goes wrong but an investment in legal counsel on the front-end could potentially spare you the cost, stress, and bad publicity of an investigation or a lawsuit.

Whether you need help establishing your policies and practices or defense through an investigation or lawsuit, we welcome you to reach out.

About the Authors

Emma Kazaryan

Emma is an associate in the firm's litigation and employment practice groups.

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