Archives: Publications

“Victory” Against Excessive Emotional Distress Damages?

In April 2021, the employer world gasped when a Seattle jury awarded a fired IBM manager $11 million in damages. IBM recently received some good news: The Ninth Circuit just overturned the $6 million emotional distress verdict as excessive in Kingston v. International Business Machines Corp. […]

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Here Comes Summer – Washington Heat and Wildfire Rules Go Back into Effect

Summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest, and with it comes a new set of rules and reminders from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (“L&I”). In the midst of the extreme heatwave of Summer 2021, L&I adopted emergency rules that added to the existing protections for outdoor workers from heat exposure and wildfire smoke. […]

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Free Speech in the Workplace

With news updates regarding capital rioting, abortion rights, gun violence, and other sensitive topics illuminating our screens on a daily basis, it is likely that the discussion of these topics will find its way into workplace conversations. […]

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EEOC Guidance Addresses Discrimination Against Caregivers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released new guidance on March 14, 2022, regarding caregiver discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic. As more employees are returning to the physical workplace, this guidance has been created to supplement earlier EEOC guidance regarding the treatment of workers with personal caregiving responsibilities. […]

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Silenced No More

Two new pieces of legislation enacted in March 2022 have changed the landscape of confidentiality in the employment relationship in Washington. On March 24, 2022, Governor Inslee signed into law Washington’s “Silenced No More Act,” prohibiting employers’ use of non-disclosure agreements (“NDAs”) and nondisparagement agreements to prevent employees from speaking publicly about certain workplace disputes. […]

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NLRB Targeting Employer Workplace Policies — Again

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) is currently reconsidering its legal framework for assessing whether workplace rules violate federal labor laws. If revised, the new standard adopted by the NLRB could have a significant impact on how you may need to draft and revise your existing and future workplace policies to avoid violations, so let’s discuss it. […]

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Seattle-Area Employers Get Ready – New Requirements Coming When Using Independent Contractors

On June 14, 2021, the Seattle City Council passed the Independent Contractor Protections Ordinance (“ICPO”), which is slated to take effect on September 1, 2022. See SMC 14.34. The ICPO will apply to all “covered independent contractors who perform work for a covered hiring entity.” The lengthy ordinance runs on for 49 pages and is full of traps for the unaware, so let us help you unpack it. […]

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Washington Cares Act on Hold

In late December 2021, the State Legislature and Governor Inslee delayed premium assessment under the Washington Cares Act (the “Act”) prior to its scheduled January 1, 2022, start date. Under this pause, the state will not collect premiums from employers under the Act prior to April 2022. The Legislature is slated to address potential changes to the Act during the legislative session beginning January 10, 2022. […]

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