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Employers Liable for Employee's Sexual Harassment of Member of Public, Washington High Court Finds

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that an employer is directly liable when one of its employees sexually harasses a member of the public, just as it would be if employees turned away customers based on their race, religion or sexual orientation.

Washington State Set to Substantially Increase the Salary Required for Exempt Status and Make Other Changes to White Collar Exemptions

Although the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has yet to finalize the new annual salary required for exempt status, it intends to propose a new salary basis test that would more than double the current federal salary threshold. This would increase the required annual salary for an exempt employee in Washington from $23,660 to between $56,160 and $70,200. This proposed salary requirement for exempt status is even more than what the Obama administration’s Department of Labor (DOL) finalized to take effect on December 1, 2016 ($47,476 per year), which a U.S. district court later struck down.

End-of-Year Washington State (and Local) Paid Sick and Safe Time Issues

For employers with Washington State operations, what happened in 2018 does not necessarily stay in 2018. Those bidding 2018 farewell cannot say goodbye to various paid sick and safe time (PSST) policy, notice, and leave calculation obligations in 2019. Additionally, employers with unionized workforces in Seattle have limited time to except themselves from city standards that exceed state law requirements, and employers subject to SeaTac’s PSST law must balance local year-end cash-out requirements with the state law carryover mandate.

Washington Paid Family And Medical Leave Is Imminent: Are You Ready?

Washington employers, get ready. Starting January 1, 2019, the state’s Employment Security Department (ESD) will begin collecting premium payments from employers so the historic Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program can be implemented. While the benefits will not be able to be accessed by workers until 2020, don’t be fooled into thinking that you still have another year to prepare for this new law; you need to begin your preparations now. What do Washington employers need to know to get ready?

Washington State Governor Issues Executive Order Discouraging Arbitration Agreements and Class Action Waivers for Government Contractors

On June 12, 2018, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order that directs Washington agencies to favor government contractors that do not require employees to submit to individual arbitration of claims.

Seattle Passes Ordinance to Expand Employment Rights to Domestic Workers

On July 27, 2018, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed into law the Domestic Worker Ordinance (“the DWO”). Effective July 1, 2019, the ordinance is expected to impact approximately 33,000 domestic workers in Seattle. The new law mirrors similar efforts in several states to expand employment rights to domestic workers.

Court Tosses Lawsuit by Drivers Challenging Seattle Ridesharing Union Ordinance

On August 9, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of independent drivers challenging a 2015 ordinance by the City of Seattle that allows ridesharing drivers to organize.

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.