Emma Kazaryan

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

Employment

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 […]


Karen Kalzer

DOL Issues Proposed Rules for Exempt Employee Salary Levels

Employment

As we predicted in our Spring Employment Breakfast, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has issued a series of proposed rules regarding the classification of exempt employees, with changes to both the duties test and the salary test.  An employee must meet the requirements of both tests to be properly classified as an […]


Emma Kazaryan

Washington Outlaws Pay History Questions

Employment

On May 9, 2019 Governor Jay Inslee signed a new law into effect that forbids employers from seeking a job applicant’s salary history or requiring that an applicant’s prior wage or salary history meet certain criteria.  Under the new law, which shall be known as the Washington Equal Pay and Opportunities Act, employers may confirm […]


Emma Kazaryan

New Restrictions on Non-Compete Agreements in Washington State

Employment

Update: On May 8, 2019, Governor Inslee signed the bill into law. Last week the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that substantially restricts the scope of enforceable non-compete agreements.  Under the new rules, non-compete agreements will be unenforceable unless: The employer either (i) discloses terms of the non-compete agreement when making an offer of employment, […]


Emma Kazaryan

Washington State Supreme Court Says Employers are Strictly Liable for Employee Harassment of Customers

Employment

The Washington State Supreme Court recently held that, “under the plain language of [Washington Law Against Discrimination], 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 […]


Lauren Parris Watts

Washington State Supreme Court Issues Decision Strengthening Employee Protections Against Retaliation

Employment

On November 29, 2018, in an 8-1 decision, the Washington State Supreme Court revived a four-year-old retaliation lawsuit brought by a former employee (Dawn Cornwell) against Microsoft. As background, Ms. Cornwell had previously settled a gender-discrimination dispute with Microsoft and as part of that settlement the parties agreed that Ms. Cornwell would no longer report […]


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 […]


Karen Kalzer

Washington Human Rights Commission Task Force Publishes Model Procedures and Best Practices

Employment

The Washington Human Rights Commission Task Force published its draft Model Procedures and Best Practices (“Model Procedures”) to address sexual harassment in the workplace today,  November 5.  These draft Model Policies and Procedures can be found at here. Comments on the proposed Model Procedures are being accepted until November 30, 2018 at shpolicycomments@hum.wa.gov.  The proposed […]


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 […]