Emma Kazaryan

Former Gates Foundation Employee Awarded $4.9M for Breach of Contract, Promissory Estoppel Claims against Former Employer

Employment

What is a broken promise worth?  For one former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (“Gates Foundation”) employee, it was worth $4.9 million.  In October, the Washington State Superior Court for King County held that a former technology executive at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was entitled to $4.9 million in lost compensation damages after […]


Emma Kazaryan

Proper Analysis of Wrongful Discharge Claims in Washington: Lessons from Martin v. Gonzaga

Employment

The Washington State Supreme Court recently clarified the law applicable to wrongful discharge claims in a case called Martin v. Gonzaga, — W.2d —, 425 P.2d 827 (2018). Washington employees are generally employed “at will” meaning, absent an agreement to the contrary, employees and employers can terminate employment at any time and for any reason […]


Emma Kazaryan

NLRB Vacates Hy-Brand Decision; Browning-Ferris Joint Employer Test Back in Effect

Employment

A little over two months ago, we reported that the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) overruled the Browning-Ferris joint employer test in a case called Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd. and Brandt Construction Co.  Under Browning-Ferris, companies faced greater responsibility for the employment practices of their contractors and franchisees.  In turn, Hy-Brand limited the circumstances in […]


Emma Kazaryan

New Washington State Supreme Court Case: Updated Standard for Discrimination Claims and A Warning That Policies Can Modify At-Will Employment

Employment

On October 19, 2017, the Washington State Supreme Court entered its opinion in the matter of Mikkelsen v. Public Utility District No. 1 of Kittias County, et al.  In Mikkelsen, the female plaintiff sued her former employer (a utility district) for wrongful discharge based on gender and age discrimination, and failure to follow the progressive […]


Emma Kazaryan

The Enjoined DOL Overtime Rules Have Been Struck Down

Employment

Back in November, we reported that a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction blocking the implementation of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rules (the rules increased the minimum salary threshold for overtime exemption).  The rules were set to become law on January 1, 2017 but the injunction still applied at that time so […]


Emma Kazaryan

Ninth Circuit Holds that Employers May Use Salary History To Pay Men and Women Differently

Employment

Last month the Ninth Circuit held that employers may legally inquire into an employee’s or prospective employee’s salary history and use that information to pay men and women differently for the same work.  Despite the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, employers with a practice or policy of inquiring into applicants’ prior salaries should review their policies and […]


Emma Kazaryan

Washington Initiative 1433: What it Means for State Employers

Employment

November’s election told us more than who will be our president for the next four years; it also changed Washington State’s minimum wage law and added paid sick leave for employees statewide. Washington state voters approved Initiative 1433 which amends the state’s existing minimum wage law (RCW 49.46) to set minimum wage at $11.00 for […]


Emma Kazaryan

Defeat of the Non-Compete

Employment

When I was in high school, I worked part-time at a clothing store that had a fantastic employee discount.  How great would it be, high-school-me mused, to capitalize on employee discounts at all my favorite stores by getting several jobs at the mall.  There was only one problem: when I started my job at the […]


Emma Kazaryan

The Scariest Costume on Halloween is One Worn in the Workplace

Employment

Some employers allow employees to wear costumes on Halloween as a treat; unfortunately, it can turn into a trick-y situation.  Halloween costumes can often be either gory, racy, or offensive: any of the three should scare employers. Employers can be liable for costumes that make fun of protected characteristics such as disability status, race, or […]