On June 5, 2019, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries issued proposed amendments to Washington State’s white-collar overtime exemption regulations.
Articles Discussing General Topics In Washington Labor & Employment Law.
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.
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.
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
On May 8, 2019, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1450 (HB 1450), radically altering the law governing noncompetition agreements and moonlighting prohibitions in Washington State. The bill will become effective on January 1, 2020, but includes provisions for retroactivity. Employers with Washington operations that have (or want) such agreements with their employees, or that are considering hiring individuals who have entered into such agreements with other employers, need to understand the new restrictions.
For 20 years, public agencies in Washington State have been barred from favoring or discriminating against applicants, employees, or contractors based on sex, ethnicity, color, race, or national origin. On the last day of its regular 2019 session, April 28, 2019, the Washington State legislature eased that bar, passing the Washington State Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Act, proposed by the citizens of Washington State as Initiative 1000 (I-1000). I-1000 becomes effective 90 days after the end of the regular legislative session, July 27, 2019.
On May 8, 2019, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law HB 1450, described as “AN ACT Relating to restraints, including noncompetition covenants, on persons engaging in lawful professions, trades, or businesses[.]” While the Act does not take effect until January 1, 2020, its restrictions apply retroactively to existing agreements signed before that date.
Washington is the latest state to pass additional pay equity protections. One year after enacting the 2018 Equal Pay and Opportunity Act, which included an array of enhanced pay equity provisions, the legislature passed HB 1696, which restricts pay history inquires and enhances pay transparency requirements. The bill passed on a near party-line vote. Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign the legislation, which would go into effect 90 days later.
It was looking like Washington state would be the first state to follow the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), with a GDPR-like law of its own. That effort has stalled, perhaps temporarily. However, both Washington’s House and Senate voted unanimously to send HB 1071 to Gov. Jay Inslee, which would substantially expand the state’s current data breach notification obligations.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), passed in 2018 and taking effect January 1, 2020, is considered the most expansive state privacy law in the United States, and sparked a flurry of state privacy law legislative proposals, in particular in Washington state. This January, a group of state senators in Washington introduced the Washington Privacy Act, SB 5376 (WPA), slightly updated in late February. On March 6th, the bill passed the Senate with a nearly unanimous vote, and now heads to the House for review. If approved, the WPA will take effect July 31, 2021.
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.
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.
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.
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 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