Archive For: Employment Advice & Counseling

Remembering To Investigate As We Ride The Waves Of The #Metoo Sea Change

Posted: Jan 22, 2018

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

As a woman in the work force for more than 30 years, I am personally proud of the many women who have come forward in the #MeToo movement, and equally gratified by the enterprises that are supporting them. We are witnessing a sea change the likes of which have not happened in over 40 years. As the mother of a young daughter, it is nearly impossible to put my feelings into words.

However, as a workplace investigator, I must continue to advise caution as we move forward in this wave of social progress. I do not question...Read More

Lauer, Keillor, Moore, Spacey, and Rose! Harassment Terminations: Where They Stop Nobody Knows!

Posted: Dec 4, 2017

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

Daily, the news brings us word of another celebrity termination for allegations of workplace harassment. We’re hearing of politicians, actors, and coaches terminated. It seems no male superstar is safe (we’ve yet to see a woman accused but I feel certain it is coming). We are living in what is being called the “Weinstein Era” or the “#MeToo Movement.” Social commentary aside, we’re witnessing a sudden consciousness that is going to have both short term and long term impacts on the workplace. Harassment in the workplace will never again be viewed the same.

I’m receiving calls from...Read More

Criminal Background Checks: Controlling Risks For Employee Related Litigation

Posted: Oct 31, 2017

By: Washington State Litigation and Employment Lawyer Timothy E. Steen

Employers face increasing litigation risks from the wrongful acts of their employees as the law of negligent hiring and retention expands. Employers are potentially liable for negligent hiring when employing an unfit applicant who poses an unreasonable risk of harm to others. If an employer should have known of an employee’s unfitness at the time of hiring and the employment leads to the harm of a third person, employers may face substantial liability. Additionally, if the employer learns of the employee’s unfitness during the course of employment, an employer may be liable to a later injured party...Read More

Fair Scheduling Ordinance For Seattle Retail & Food Service Employers

Posted: Apr 27, 2017

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

Seattle became the second major U.S. city to pass an ordinance addressing schedule predictability and flexibility for workers and employers. The “Secure Scheduling Ordinance” calls for better estimates and notification of hours, ensures workers have the right to rest between shifts, ensures workers receive predictability pay for erratic scheduling, and creates guidelines for employers looking to offer additional hours.

Before this ordinance became law, large retail and food service establishments face inconsistent staffing needs on a daily basis, resulting in workers bearing the burden of irregular scheduling practices. A study commissioned by the City of Seattle found that such scheduling...Read More

Santa Claus, The Employee

Posted: Dec 1, 2015

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

Posted: Oct 12, 2015

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...Read More

OSHA Issues New Guide To Restroom Access For Transgender Workers

Posted: Jun 8, 2015

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?

Posted: Apr 29, 2015

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

Posted: Feb 6, 2015

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.

...Read More

Employer Saves $3.5 Million With Sensitivity Training

Posted: Jan 26, 2015

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....Read More