While certain forms of discrimination may be frowned upon in the media, they are not necessarily overtly illegal. For instance, sexual orientation is not considered a protected class in Missouri. If an employer fires someone because he or she is gay, a lawyer would have to argue that this is a form of gender or… Read More
Posts Categorized In: Resources
In the Evergreen State, certain state employees have a right to request that a union represent them in collective bargaining. Washington has the Public Employment Relations Commission, or PERC, to manage labor issues with public employees. In its own words, PERC’s mission is “[t]o prevent or minimize the disruption to public services through the impartial,… Read More
What are Essential Job Functions in ADA Cases?
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) aims to allow people with disabilities to have equal opportunities to join the workforce. First, the law prohibits discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against applicants or employees with real or perceived disabilities. Additionally,the law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities if such accommodations… Read More
Changing Reasons for Termination may be a Sign of Retaliation
Under employment laws, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who participate in a number of protected activities. One such protected activity is complaining about or reporting potential unlawful discrimination in the workplace. If an employee claims he or she was disciplined, demoted, or terminated for complaining of discrimination, the employer must present a valid,… Read More
What is a Managing Agent and why is it Important?
In many discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, a plaintiff can only receive punitive damages if the offending behavior involved a “managing agent.” Punitive damages means additional money is awarded to the plaintiff above and beyond tangible damages, in order to try to deter future offensive conduct and reform the defendants. Punitive damages can be substantial… Read More
"Pay-At-Risk" Compensation Plans Lead to Inconsistent Paychecks for Employees
Many large companies have their employees participate in a “pay-at-risk” compensation plan, which links a portion of employees’ incomes to the company’s performance. While this program means large paychecks for employees when the company is prospering, it also means that employees pay the price when the company is doing poorly. For example, CNBC reports that… Read More
Specific Job Descriptions Can Help Avoid Discrimination Lawsuits
When an employee brings a discrimination lawsuit against his employer, the employee’s job description is one piece of evidence that Washington courts will consider. For that reason, well-written job descriptions can help employers defend themselves against discrimination claims. What Should a Job Description Contain? Employers should make sure that job descriptions include specific nondiscriminatory criteria… Read More
Are Employee Handbooks Binding Employment Agreements?
Many newly-hired employees receive a handbook that can cover everything from dress code and leave policies to employees’ rights under Washington law. Employee handbooks can be an effective way for employers to communicate their workplace policies. However, they also can cause legal issues for both employers and employees. One of the most important issues is… Read More
Discrimination for English as a Second Language
It is well-known in places of employment that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. However, employers sometimes do not realize that their behavior actually constitutes discrimination under Title VII. One common example is when an… Read More
Proving Pretext in Age Discrimination Claims
A jury found that Seattle Central Community College (“SCCC”) did not wrongfully discriminate against 73-year old administrator Joan Ray because of her age, according to an article posted on Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. Ray had filed an age discrimination lawsuit against SCCC when it did not renew her contract and replaced her with a younger… Read More