Archive For: Employment Advice & Counseling

Elizabeth L. Van Moppes Presents “The Danger Zones In Hiring And Interviewing” 9-15-2016

By: BeresfordBooth

On September 15, 2016 Beth will be giving a presentation on “The Danger Zones in Hiring and Interviewing” for the Western Washington Chapter of Institute of Real Estate Management. For more information, you can visit:

Santa Claus, The Employee

By: Washington State Employment Law Lawyer Elizabeth L. Van Moppes

Delivering presents to the good little boys and girls all over the world in a single night is hard work. Of course, Santa Claus makes it look easy with his twinkling eyes and merry dimples, magical sleigh, and team of eight tiny flying reindeer. But does that mean he is any less entitled to compensation? Of course not! Let’s just assume that Santa’s employer - the North Pole, obviously - is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). To comply with the law, the North Pole, like any other employer, has to answer certain questions. First, do Santa’s job...Read More

5 Terms Every Employer Should Know About Disability Law

By: Washington State Employment Law Lawyer Elizabeth L. Van Moppes

The world of workforce management includes a multitude of “terms of art;” These are words or phrases that have taken on special meaning to human resources professionals and their counsel. Those terms related to disability discrimination law are particularly distinctive. Even those who are well-versed in other areas of human resources law, often find it difficult to understand the meaning of some of the more commonly-used words and phrases involved in this area of employee management. Unfortunately, supervisors, HR personnel, and employers who do not understand the meaning of the following five key phrases may fail to comply with the...Read More

OSHA Issues New Guide To Restroom Access For Transgender Workers

By: Washington State Employment Law Lawyer Elizabeth L. Van Moppes

One of the more challenging laws against discrimination involves workplace accommodations for transgender employees. This particular protected class has been the law in Washington State since 2006 but only recently been spotlighted with some help from Caitlyn Jenner. It is estimated that more than 700,000 adults in the U.S. are transgender. Under Washington law, "gender expression or identity" means having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth. The...Read More

The $7.21 Million Question: Are Your Unpaid Internships Illegal?

By: Washington State Employment Law Lawyer Elizabeth L. Van Moppes

Last month, Viacom, Inc., the world’s sixth largest mass media company, settled a class-action lawsuit with 12,500 former interns. Viacom, the owner of Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, will have to pay out $7.21 million to interns who claim that they were paid less than minimum wage or not paid at all. While the initial suit was filed by an ex-MTV intern Casey Ojeda on August 2013, the deal will include all interns who worked in the company’s NYC offices from 2007-2013 as well as those who worked in their California offices from 2010-2013. By not paying these interns for...Read More

NLRB Decision: Mcdonald’s As A Franchisor Is Responsible For Labor Violations Of Franchisees

By: Washington State Employment Law Lawyer Elizabeth L. Van Moppes

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced recently that it will bring charges against McDonald’s for conduct committed by its franchisees. Specifically, the NLRB is bringing thirteen cases involving seventy-eight charges against McDonald’s for alleged violations that took place against McDonald’s workers in several cities throughout the country, including Detroit, St. Louis, Manhattan, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Indianapolis.  The NLRB’s claim is that McDonald’s and its franchisees retaliated against employees who participated in union‑related activities by reducing their hours, subjecting them to discipline, or outright firing them. By proceeding with...Read More

Employer Saves $3.5 Million With Sensitivity Training

By: Washington State Employment Law Lawyer Elizabeth L. Van Moppes

An employer in Puerto Rico recently learned the hard way that sensitivity training on their anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policies was well worth their time. On January 7, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico found that the defendant employer had demonstrated that it had made good faith efforts to implement its anti discrimination and anti retaliation policies and issued an opinion overturning a jury’s $3.5 million punitive damages award for retaliation claims brought under Title VII and Puerto Rico law. Wirshing v. Banco Santander de Puerto Rico, et al., No. 3:11-cv-02073-GAG (D.P.R. Jan. 7, 2015). Plaintiff...Read More

Your Employment Handbook: Friend Or Foe?

By: Washington State Employment Law Lawyer Elizabeth L. Van Moppes

Costco recently found out the hard way just how important every policy, every word, in your employee handbook is. This past week, in Marini v Costco Wholesale Corp., a long-term Costco employee with Tourette’s syndrome made this point against the warehouse superstore. Marini alleged that he was harassed by his co-workers for his disability, asked for and was given a transfer to another department as a result, but that the harassment continued and nothing was done about it. He was eventually fired for secretly tape-recording his interactions with co-workers in violation of Company policy. Marini sued alleging a hostile work...Read More

Public Employees Entitled to Two Additional Unpaid Holidays for Faith or Conscience

By: Washington State Employment Law Lawyer Elizabeth L. Van Moppes

In an interesting effort to accommodate non-Judeo-Christian public employees, a new Washington law, which took effect on June 12, 2014, gives public employees an additional two unpaid holidays per calendar year "for reasons of faith or conscience." The measure amends RCW 1.16.050, which had granted public employees one paid floating holiday per calendar year in addition setting out the legal holidays recognized by the State of Washington. The new law adds two unpaid holidays allows for accommodation of employees with holy days which do not coincide with state legal holidays. The bullet points of the new law are: 1.  Affected Employers. The...Read More

Washington Court Holds Employers Can Retaliate Against Indepedent Contractors

By: Washington State Employment Law Lawyer Elizabeth L. Van Moppes

An independent contractor truck driver named Larry Currier heard another driver “yell ... at a Latino driver ... ‘[h]ey, f**ing Mexican, you know why you have to go to Portland and I don’t? Because f**ing Mexicans are good at crossing borders.’” Currier also reports previously having heard other racially motivated slurs and comments directed at a number of minorities who work for the same trucking company. The truck driver who overheard the racial slurs reported them to NSI’s quality assurance manager. Two days later NSI terminated his contract. He subsequently filed suit against NSI for retaliation under the Washington Stare Law...Read More