On June 1, 2020, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed an ordinance temporarily requiring certain companies that rely on “gig economy” workers to provide paid sick and safe time to those workers for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
Articles Discussing General Topics In Washington Labor & Employment Law.
Washington’s COVID-19 reopening guidance is constantly developing. As the state’s reopening plan continues to unfold, employers are encouraged to visit the governor’s website and consult knowledgeable counsel to ensure compliance with the most up-to-date requirements and guidance.
On May 14, 2020, the Washington State Department of Health, in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, created new emergency COVID-19-related safety rules that farms must implement if they provide temporary farmworker housing.
On April 13, 2020, Washington Governor Inslee issued a proclamation prohibiting employers from engaging in certain employment practices with respect to employees considered high-risk under the proclamation. The proclamation, which remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on June 12, 2020, requires employers to: (1) utilize all available options for alternative work assignments to protect high-risk workers (e.g., telework, social distancing measures); (2) permit high-risk employees who cannot take advantage of such alternative assignments to use any available employer-granted accrued leave or unemployment insurance in any sequence at the discretion of the employee; (3) fully maintain all employer-related health insurance benefits for employees who have exhausted leave, until they are eligible to return to work; and (4) refrain from taking adverse employment action against an employee for exercising their rights.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has issued a Proclamation extending various job protections to “high-risk” Washington employees. The Proclamation protects (1) any individual aged 65 or older, (2) anyone living in a nursing home or long-term care facility, and (3) those with “certain chronic underlying health conditions.”
ashington State Governor Jay Inslee has issued a new Proclamation extending his previous Stay Home – Stay Healthy Proclamation that restricted certain social and recreational activities, closed non-essential businesses, and required social distancing at essential businesses.
Washington State Governor Inslee has announced the state has released new guidance for enforcement of his Stay Home — Stay Healthy Proclamation.
On March 23, 2020, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed the Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order (Proclamation 20-25, the “Order,” linked here) directing Washingtonians to shelter in place. The Order follows similar state and local directives throughout the nation put in place to address the coronavirus crisis. With over 100 dead from COVID-19-related causes in Washington State as of the date of the Order, the Order seeks to slow further transmission of the virus and protect the capacity of businesses deemed essential in the State of Washington.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has issued a Stay Home – Stay Healthy Proclamation that restricts certain social and recreational activities, closes non-essential businesses, and requires social distancing at essential businesses. Under the Proclamation, starting at 12:00 a.m. on March 25, 2020, all non-essential businesses in Washington must close. The Proclamation remains in place until at least April 6, 2020.
The Washington State Supreme Court ruled recently that state employees’ birthdates associated with their names are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to a freedom of information records request. In so holding, the Court strictly construed the applicable statute that did not expressly exempt birthdates from disclosure. Wash. Pub. Emps. Assn. v. State Ctr for Childhood Deafness & Hearing Loss. Private and public entities across the country that respond to countless requests for information may want to rethink their approach.
Executive Summary: On October 11, 2019, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that Washington state’s paid sick leave law does not violate the Constitution or federal preemption law, thereby guaranteeing sick leave benefits for airline flight crew employees based in Washington.
On September 5, 2019, the Washington Supreme Court confirmed that non-agricultural employers may use a workweek averaging methodology to satisfy the Washington Minimum Wage Act in Valerie Sampson et al v. Knight Transportation Inc. et al. In other words, non-agricultural employers can satisfy their state minimum wage obligations by showing that an employee’s total wages for a workweek, when divided by the total hours worked during that week, results in a figure that is equal to or greater than the state minimum wage.
The state of Washington has weighed in on the debate as to whether obesity is a disability under disability discrimination laws. In Taylor v. Burlington Northern Railroad Holdings Inc., a case that wound its way through the courts for nine years, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit certified this question to the Washington Supreme Court: “Under what circumstances, if any, does obesity qualify as an ‘impairment’ under the [WLAD]?” The Washington Supreme Court responded by holding that obesity is always an impairment under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) because it is a “’physiological disorder, or condition’ that affects multiple body systems listed in the statute.” Therefore, an employer who takes employment action against an individual because the employer perceives the individual to be obese, may run afoul of the WLAD.
Washington’s highest court has ruled that obesity is always an “impairment” under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), regardless of whether obesity is related to some other medical condition. Accordingly, treating job applicants or employees adversely based on their actual or perceived obesity is unlawful disability discrimination unless the obesity conflicts with a bona fide occupational qualification or prevents the worker from properly performing the job. The court did not define obesity, however, and did not address whether an employer’s knowledge of an individual’s weight or body mass index alone can trigger a duty to consider reasonable accommodation.
The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) has pushed back the first reporting deadline under this new law to August 31, 2019. By that date, all Washington employers must file reports about their employees, including their wages and associated hours worked during the first two quarters of 2019.