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