Archive For: Employment Advice & Counseling

Your Employment Handbook: Friend Or Foe?

By: Washington State Employment Law Lawyer Elizabeth 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: BeresfordBooth

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 statute...Read More

Washington Court Holds Employers Can Retaliate Against Indepedent Contractors

By: BeresfordBooth

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 Against...Read More

New law impacting Seattle employers – Effective November 1, 2013

By: Washington State Business & Employment Law Lawyer Dimitra Scott

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to adopt a new ordinance that grants criminal offenders special rights in job application processes.  Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 14.17 regulates the use of criminal background information in employment decisions.  Absent a “legitimate business reason”, employers are prohibited from using criminal convictions as the basis for denying employment for qualified applicants or employees. The ordinance takes effect November 1, 2013.  Thereafter, Seattle employers shall be prohibited from making any inquiry on a job application about an applicant’s criminal history.  This ordinance impacts employers with one or more employees in the city of Seattle, exempting only certain...Read More

New Washington Social Media Law Protects Employees’ Accounts

By: BeresfordBooth

In response to growing issues related to privacy and an employee's online presence, Governor Jay Inslee recently signed s new law making it unlawful for employers to require an employee or applicant to disclose social networking website usernames or passwords, or to force an employee or applicant to add any person to the employee’s list of social networking contacts. This law will become effective July 28. Washington joins a host of other states that have taken legislative action to protect employee social media accounts. Utah, New Mexico, California, and Michigan have passed similar laws, and more than 20 other states...Read More

Job Interview Questions – What Is Legal And What Is Just Weird?

By: BeresfordBooth

The job interview process can be a legal minefield for both employers and prospective employees when it comes to what can and cannot be asked in an interview.  There are both state and federal laws setting the parameters of job interviews.  Beresford Booth has counseled both employers and employees through the interview question minefield, but for some weird questions there may be just no simple answer.  Some favorites from the Best of 2012 Weird Interview Questions include: "If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?" "What kitchen utensil would you...Read More

Washington State’s New Social Media Password Law

By: BeresfordBooth

By Washington State Employment Law Attorneys Beresford Booth PLLC. On Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Washington became the fifth state this year to pass a law barring employers from asking for an Facebook, Twitter, or other social media passwords at a job interview or at the workplace. Companies can request ‘content’ from employees’ social media sites as part of corporate investigations, but the employee is under no obligation to provide such content to the employer. As social media continues to evolve in our society, so too evolves its boundaries when applied to the workplace.  Washingtonians experiences with the new law will undoubtedly...Read More

Why Employers in Washington State Should Maintain Policies To Address Social Networking

By: BeresfordBooth

According to a report from Forrester Research, you can expect your present and prospective employees use social networking.  According to the study:   A third of adults post at least once a week to social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. A quarter of adults publish a blog and upload video/audio they created. Nearly 60% maintain a profile on a social networking site. 70% Read blogs, tweets and watch UGC video. Employers can use these activities to their advantage in many respects. “Googling” prospective employees may have benefits. Social networking sites may be useful to market your company, monitor existing...Read More

DOL Final Rule Expands FMLA Leave For Military Families

By: Washington State Family Law Lawyer Dimitra Scott

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“DOL”) recently published its Final Rule amending portions of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”) pertaining to the 26-workweek military caregiver leave provisions.  The amendments also modify and clarify the hours of service requirements for airline crew personnel. These amendments were previously stated in the 2010 by the National Defense Authorization Act, expanding the availability and scope of military exigency leave and military caregiver leave. The DOL’s Final Rule, effective March 8, 2013, implements and explains those amendments. The following are key provisions impacting military members and their families: Pre-existing...Read More

Santa and the FLSA

By: BeresfordBooth

Reposting a very clever and important article written by Natalie F. Hrubos, an attorney in the Philadelphia office of Duane Morris. The original article can be found here: Delivering presents to the well-behaved children all over the world in a single night is hard work. Sure, Santa Claus makes it look easy with his jolly disposition, magical sleigh and team of nine 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...Read More