WASHINGTON EMPLOYMENT LAW
Potential problems may arise in an employer – employee environment including discrimination in the workplace, wages and hours, wrongful termination, health and safety, disability law, and sexual harassment, among others. These kinds of issues are addressed through Washington Employment Laws, also known as Labor Law. Employment law issues in Washington State are handled by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
Please be aware that certain employment issues (i.e., wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination) should not be managed without the assistance of a Washington State employment attorney because they can be quite intricate and may require collection of a great deal of evidence. The advice of a Washington State employment lawyer is strongly advised in general if you have employment law concerns and/or questions.
Why Hire A Washington Employment Attorney?
In Washington State, employment and wrongful termination cases are a complex interrelation between state and federal law. A Washington State employment attorney can be useful in explaining the connection between state and federal laws, arguing your complaint for wrongful termination, filing your claim for unpaid wages and structuring and asserting your discrimination claim against your employer. Such a lawyer may also be able to assist you in deciding whether it is worth your time, effort, and money to file an employment related complaint.
In addition, wrongful termination claims may be tricky for a former employee to file against his employer, not least of all because of the stress and awkwardness the situation can cause. In a wrongful termination case, a Washington State employment lawyer can deal with your former employer and recommend the best way to succeed in your case. A Washington State employment attorney can also assist you if you choose to file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries or if you have general questions about your employment situation and your rights and benefits under Washington State employment law.
Wrongful Termination In Washington
In Washington, employment is “at-will.” When employment is “at-will,” it means that a worker can quit his job whenever he chooses to do so, while an employer can similarly terminate a worker at any time, for any reason, or no reason. However, the reason for an employee’s termination may not be against the law. If an employee has an employment contract that lists specific reasons for termination, the employee can only be fired for those reasons.
In Washington State, it is possible to file a “wrongful termination” claim if the reason for the employer’s termination of a worker is unlawful. Illegal reasons to fire someone in Washington State include:
Seek advice from a Washington State wrongful termination attorney if you have concerns or questions about filing a wrongful termination case.
Wrongful termination cases may come about when an employer fires one of his workers for a discriminatory reason. In Washington State, if someone has the requisite experience for a job but is either fired or not hired because of his disability, age, sex, national origin, race, or religion the termination or failure to hire is illegal and considered wrongful termination. If pregnancy is seen as a disability, it is also illegal to fire someone for being pregnant. Consult a Washington State employment lawyer if you believe you have a legitimate complaint for wrongful termination.
Employee Wage/Hour Concerns In Washington
As of January 1, 2011, the minimum wage in Washington State is $8.67 an hour. Businesses in Washington State must pay their employees on regular established paydays at least once a month.
If you have not been paid for your work, you should file a claim for unpaid wages on a Workers Rights Complaint Form (5700-148-000) and submit it to the local branch of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. A Washington State employment attorney can address any concerns you may have about filing a complaint for unpaid wages.
Working overtime in Washington State entitles you to overtime (time-and-a half) pay. Working in excess of 40 hours a week is considered overtime. Overtime pay is mandated by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and is enforced by the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
If you need help filing your complaint for unpaid wages or overtime, or if you are unsure in which jobs overtime pay is required and in which jobs overtime pay is not required, make sure to speak with a Washington State employment attorney.
Washington Employment Benefits
In Washington State, employers are not required to provide vacation time, life insurance, sick leave, health insurance and other fringe benefits at their discretion. Employers in Washington State are, however, required to give their employees at least one 10 minute rest break for every 4 hours worked, and the rest period must be permitted no later than the end of the shift’s third hour. In addition, if more than 5 hours are worked in a shift, workers must be allowed a 30 minute meal break and the meal break cannot start more than 5 hours after the beginning of the shift, and workers must have worked at least two hours before a meal break may be taken.
Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave must be available to workers; however, Washington State disability law does not mandate that employers provide short-term disability leave for their workers.
Washington State disability law encompasses the workplace injuries or illnesses suffered by employees on the job or that are related to their jobs. Compensation for workplace injuries must be paid by your employer in an amount that varies depending on the classification of your injury. Talk to a Washington State workers’ compensation attorney about compensation for your work-related injury or illness.
Washington Employment and Labor Law Statutes
Washington Revised Code - Labor Regulations