New Law Limits Discovery in Washington Law Against Discrimination Suits

On March 15, 2018, Washington governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 6027 into law.  This law impacts discovery in cases brought under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”).  The law becomes effective on June 7, 2018.  This law states that a plaintiff who seeks non-economic damages (such as emotional distress) under WLAD does not thereby waive the privileged status of his or her medical records.  A plaintiff will be deemed to have waived the privilege of his or her medical records … Continue reading

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Posted in Discovery, Medical Records, New Legislation, Washington Law Against Discrimination, WLAD | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Employer Tax Credit Available for Paid FMLA leave

The tax plan that was signed into law at the end of 2017 creates a new tax credit for employers.  The credit appears in Section 13403 of the Act, and applies to employers who pay employee leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  The credit begins in 2018 and as of now, is set to expire at the end of 2019.  Although possibly short-lived, employers may want to claim the benefit while they can. Employers may obtain a … Continue reading

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Posted in FMLA, Leave Laws, Paid Leave | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Proposed Changes to Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time and Secure Scheduling Include Eliminating Union Waiver

Last week, the Seattle Office of Labor Standards announced proposed changes to Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time and Secure Scheduling.  These changes intend to incorporate the more generous provisions from Initiative 1433, the Washington Paid Sick Leave law, into Seattle’s laws.  A couple of notable proposed changes to Seattle’s law include shortening the waiting period for employee eligibility to use paid sick time from 180 to 90 calendar days following the commencement of employment.  Additionally, whereas a waiver is … Continue reading

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Posted in Labor, Leave Laws, Safe Time, Seattle, Secure Scheduling, Sick Leave | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

New Year, New Paid Sick Leave Law

Washington’s new paid sick leave law goes into effect on January 1, 2018.  The new law contains many changes to existing law, including paid sick leave at a minimum of one hour per every forty hours worked, required carryover of up to forty hours of sick leave, and paid sick leave for part-time and seasonal workers. Employers should be prepared to implement any required changes to their employment policies to comply with the January 1 deadline. In addition to the text of the paid sick leave … Continue reading

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Posted in Leave Laws, Sick Leave, Wage and Hour | Leave a comment

ADA Reasonable Accommodations Seminar – Best Practices for Employers to Avoid Liability
May 5, 2016 · 10:00-11:30 a.m. · Columbia Center, Seattle

Employment law can be complicated, especially regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). To help employers minimize their risk of liability, labor and employment law attorney Selena Smith is partnering with the Association of Washington Business to host a seminar on May 5.  Selena Smith will discuss employers’ legal obligations and rights, as well as best practices for addressing employees’ disabilities. Attendees will learn: Legal Obligations Regarding Reasonable Accommodations Effective Strategies for … Continue reading

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Posted in ADA, Firm News, FMLA, Reasonable Accommodation, Seattle, Seminar | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

NLRB – Average Time Between Petition Filing and Union Election is Just 23 Days.

The NLRB recently published the average time between the filing of a petition for an election and the election date under the NLRB’s new “quickie” election rules.  The average time (23 days) has decreased by two weeks in comparison to the prior election procedures.  This leaves significantly less time for companies to campaign against unions.  The election rules make it even more imperative for companies to promptly respond to unionization efforts in their workplaces.  For guidance on lawful campaign strategies, … Continue reading

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Posted in Elections, Labor, Legal Updates, NLRB | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


Over the last several years, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has issued several decisions overturning employer discipline for employee conduct on social media.  In a recent decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal court upheld the NLRB’s decision and ordered reinstatement for employees who posted a profane comment and approved an offensive post about their employer.  This appeals court decision contains some important warnings for employers who are considering discipline for employees’ negative social media conduct. … Continue reading

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Posted in Handbook Policies, Labor, Legal Updates, NLRB, Social Media | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


Employers who use contract service providers or independent contractors are now at increased risk of being sued. The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) recently issued an interpretive bulletin aimed at curbing employers’ misclassification of individuals as independent contractors. The USDOL says most independent contractors should be legally classified as employees. An employee misclassified as an independent contractor can sue the employer for minimum wage violations, overtime pay and other benefits. The employer may also owe retroactive contributions for worker’s compensation … Continue reading

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Posted in Department of Labor, Independent Contractor, Legal Updates, Wage and Hour | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


The Supreme Court issued a controversial decision which should prompt Employers to review their hiring practices and criteria.  In the recent EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch case, the Supreme Court ruled that Abercrombie & Fitch discriminated against Samantha Elauf (“Elauf”) based on her religious practice of wearing a headscarf. Elauf, a Muslim, wore her headscarf to her Abercrombie & Fitch job interview.  During the interview, neither Elauf nor Abercrombie & Fitch representatives discussed her religion or her headscarf.  However, after … Continue reading

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Posted in EEOC, Reasonable Accommodation, Reasonable Accomodation, Religious Discrimination, Supreme Court, Title VII | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Employers Should be Prepared for Union Organizing Under New “Quickie” Election Rules

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has recently issued its final rules regarding union representation case procedures.  These rules are commonly referred to as quickie election rules. These quickie election rules seek to expedite the election process.  They limit an employer’s ability to respond to union campaigns, effectively ambushing an unprepared Employer. BACKGROUND The NLRB is the federal agency responsible for governing private sector employer-union relations.  Part of its charge includes conducting elections for labor union representatives.  Representation elections may … Continue reading

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