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Obesity Qualifies as Disability, Washington Supreme Court Rules

It is illegal to refuse to hire qualified potential employees because the employer perceives them to be obese, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled. After a federal court in Seattle dismissed the case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had asked Washington's highest court to resolve the issue because it involved a matter of state law.

Proposed Washington State Regulations Would Radically Increase the Minimum Exempt Salary Rate

On June 5, 2019, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries issued proposed amendments to Washington State’s white-collar overtime exemption regulations.

Washington State Proposes Raising Minimum Salary for Overtime-Exempt Workers

Starting next summer, the minimum annual salary for most overtime-exempt employees in Washington state will likely more than double for many employers.

Washington State Buttons Up Two New Laws Addressing Worker Harassment and Assault in Hospitality and Adult Entertainment Industries

Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently signed two bills addressing sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Both bills require covered hospitality employers and adult entertainment establishments to provide panic buttons for covered workers.

Washington Overhauls its Data Breach Notification Law

As we noted last month, Washington’s efforts to follow California’s lead in passing its own GDPR-like law have stalled after the bill failed to make its way through state’s House of Representatives—despite overwhelming approval in the Senate (where it passed 46-1). That bill’s sponsor has promised to revisit the issue during the 2020 legislative session.

Washington State Governor Signs Legislation Restricting Noncompetition Covenants

On May 8, 2019, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed new restrictions on noncompetition covenants for Washington employees. The new restrictions are effective January 1, 2020. Key elements of this new law include the following:

Changes on the Horizon for Washington State’s Pay Equity Law: Salary History Inquiries

On May 9, 2019, Washington State governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1696, “an act relating to wage and salary information.” The new law is similar to legislation being promulgated throughout the country, including by Washington’s neighbor to the south, Oregon. This law will become effective on July 28, 2019.

Washington Amends its Equal Pay Law to Enact Salary History Ban and Require Disclosure of Salary Ranges

On May 9, 2019, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1696, the state’s most recent pay equity legislation, which the bill claims is an “additional step towards gender equality.”1

Washington State Enacts Noncompete Agreements Act

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a new law governing the use of noncompete agreements, which includes a penalty provision while also restricting the use of no-poach agreements and moonlighting policies. The law becomes effective January 1, 2020, but will also apply retroactively to agreements signed before then so long as the claims are asserted on or after January 1, 2020.

Washington’s New Non-Compete Bill Brings Challenges For Employers

Finding that “workforce mobility is important to economic growth and development,” Washington just passed a new law that will significantly restrict noncompetition agreements with both employees and independent contractors. The governor signed the bill into effect on May 8, ushering in a new era for restrictive covenants in the state.