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Washington Law Restricts Employers’ Access to Medical Records in WLAD Cases

Washington recently passed a law limiting discovery of medical records and other medical information for discrimination claims brought under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). The law went into effect on June 7, 2018.

Washington State Considers Raising Minimum Salary for Overtime-Exempt Workers as High as $74,880

The minimum salary for most overtime-exempt employees in Washington state could be raised as high as $74,880 under a proposal being considered by the state labor department.

Workplace Law Update For Washington Employers, Summer 2018 Edition

Washington’s lawmakers and regulators have not taken a summer holiday this year, remaining active by passing new regulations based on legislation from the last legislative cycle or reacting to new case law by creating new legal obligations. Their actions continue to challenge Washington employers to keep up with evolving workplace laws. The good news? We’ve put together summaries of some of the more significant recent developments for you here.

Revised Seattle Paid Sick & Safe Time Rules Give Employers Limited Time to Comply

Seattle, Washington’s Office of Labor Standards (OLS) revised its rules concerning the Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance. The rules come about a year-and-a-half after the Ordinance was amended to better align with the state PSST law, which took effect January 1, 2018. Unsurprisingly, in many instances the revised rules incorporate state law standards. Although many revisions are merely linguistic changes that do not substantively alter existing rules, there are notable changes and deletions we will highlight, along with a new non-PSST rule that will affect leave management.

Seattle Ordinance Giving Drivers Right to Collectively Bargain Not Preempted by NLRA

A landmark law giving drivers of app-based transportation companies, such as Uber and Lyft, the right to collectively bargain is not preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, a three-member panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. City of Seattle, No. 17-35640 (9th Cir. May 11, 2018).

Washington State Enacts Fair Chance Act

Washington State has joined a number of other jurisdictions, including the Washington cities of Seattle and Spokane, by passing a “ban-the-box” law, known as the Washington Fair Chance Act (HB 1298). The Act prohibits employers from obtaining any information about an applicant's criminal record (whether by a question on an application for employment, inquiring orally or in writing, receiving information through a criminal history background check, or otherwise) until after the employer initially determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position. It makes it unlawful for employers to advertise employment openings in a way that excludes people with criminal records from applying, or to implement a policy or practice that automatically or categorically excludes individuals with a criminal record from consideration prior to an initial determination that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position. Once the employer has initially determined that the applicant is otherwise qualified, the law does not restrict the employer from inquiring into or obtain information about a criminal record, although it also does not limit any existing restrictions that apply.

Washington State Legislature Responds to the #MeToo Movement

Washington has adopted four new laws addressing workplace harassment and discrimination. Three prohibit limitations on an employee’s disclosure or public pursuit of discrimination or harassment claims, while the fourth requires the Washington State Human Rights Commission to develop model sexual harassment policies and “best practices” for employers. While these laws were motivated primarily by the #MeToo movement, one of them broadly attacks agreements for the private resolution of discrimination claims generally. The laws take effect on June 7, 2018.1

New Washington State Law Restricts Permissible Discovery of Plaintiff's Medical Records in Discrimination Lawsuits

A new Washington law (SB 6027) impacts the scope of discovery of a plaintiff’s medical records in litigation brought under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”). The law will become effective on June 7, 2018.

Washington State Amends Domestic Violence Leave Law

Effective June 7, 2018, Washington State amended its domestic violence leave law to require employers to provide reasonable safety accommodations to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and to incorporate additional prohibitions on discriminating or retaliating against actual or perceived victims of domestic violence.1

New Pay Equity Law in Washington State

Washington State has joined the ranks of jurisdictions that have adopted expanded equal pay legislation.1 The Equal Pay Opportunity Act (EPOA) was signed into law on March 21, 2018, and will take effect on June 7, 2018.2 The EPOA significantly expands Washington’s existing gender pay law for the first time since its enactment in 1943.3