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Statewide Legislative Affairs Updates

    State Government Affairs Updates

    The 2018 Regular Session convened on January 8, 2018 and ended on March 8, 2018.

    Below is a summary of certain key employment law proposals in Washington State, as well as other case law that may affect human resource management in Washington State.


    The following bills have been signed by the Governor:


    Washington Fair Chance Act

    2SHB 1298

    Summary: Prohibits an employer from including any question on an application for employment, from inquiring either orally or in writing, from receiving information through a criminal history background check, or from otherwise obtaining information about an applicant's criminal record until after the employer initially determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.

    Requires the state attorney general's office to enforce this act..

    Bill Information

    This law is effective 6/7/2018.


    Equal Pay Act Update

    2SHB 1506

    Summary:

    Updates the existing state equal pay act to address income disparities, employer discrimination, retaliation practices, and the equal status of workers in this state.

    • Modifies the Equal Pay Act by defining "similarly employed," modifying defenses, and making other changes.
    • Prohibits discrimination in providing employment opportunities based on gender.
    • Prohibits retaliation for certain workplace discussions about wages and other matters..

    Bill Information


    Military Leave Calculation

    HB 2851

    Summary: Clarifies the calculation of military leave for officers and employees that work shifts spanning more than one calendar day.

    If the officer or employee is scheduled to work a shift that begins on one calendar day and ends on the next calendar day, the officer or employee shall be charged military leave for only the first calendar day. If the officer or employee is scheduled to work a shift that begins on one calendar day and ends later than the next calendar day, the officer or employee shall be charged military leave for each calendar day except the calendar day on which the shift ends.

    Bill Information 

    This law is effective 6/7/2018.


    Sexual Harassment/Assault

    SB 5996

    Summary: Encouraging the disclosure and discussion of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace.

    This bill would prevent employers from requiring employees to sign nondisclosure agreements that prevents the employee from reporting sexual harassment or sexual assault.

    Bill Information

    This law is effective 6/7/2018.


    Civil Service Employment Eligibility

    SB 6145

    Summary: Extends civil service employment eligibility to lawful permanent residents.

    Bill Information

    This law is effective 6/7/2018.


    The following bills did not make cutoff and are not expected to advance: 


    Civil Service

    HB 1182

    Summary: Extends civil service employment eligibility to lawful permanent residents.

    Bill Information


    Fair Classification Act

    SHB 1300

    Summary: Establishes the employee fair classification act to simplify and enforce employee status under employment laws to ensure fairness to employers and employees and address the underground economy.

    Bill Information


    Public Employee Retirement Systems

    HB 1560

    Summary: Addresses plan membership default provisions in the public employees' retirement system, the teachers' retirement system, and the school employees' retirement system.

    • Changes default provisions to include PERS2 default for employees first employed after July 1, 2017.

    Bill Information


    Industrial Insurance Coverage for Stress-Caused Mental Disorders

    HB 1655

    Summary: Provides industrial insurance coverage for stress-caused mental disorders and disabilities of members of the law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system.

    • States that claims made by a member of the law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system, based on mental conditions or mental disabilities caused by stress, fall within the definition of "occupational disease."
    • States that there is a prima facie presumption, in the case of firefighters and law enforcement officers who are covered under the state industrial insurance act, that posttraumatic stress disorder is an occupational disease.

    Bill Information


    Veterans' Preference

    HB 2137

    Summary: Modifies the veterans' scoring criteria in competitive examinations.

    Bill Information


    Presumption of Occupational Disease

    HB 2633

    Summary: Presumes occupational disease for purposes of workers' compensation by adding medical conditions to the presumption and extending the presumption to certain publicly employed firefighters and investigators and law enforcement.

    In the case of law enforcement officers as defined in RCW 41.26.030(18) (b), (c), and (e) who are covered under Title 51 RCW, there shall exist a prima facie presumption that: (i) Any heart problems or strokes, experienced within seventy-two hours of exposure to smoke, fumes, or toxic substances, or experienced within twenty four hours of strenuous physical exertion in the line of duty; and (ii) infectious diseases are occupational diseases under RCW 51.08.140.

    Bill Information


    Sexual Harassment Claims

    HB 2778

    Summary: Protects personal information regarding sexual harassment claims.

    This bill modifies RCW 42.56.250 and adds a new section to chapter 42.56 RCW, exempting from public disclosure the personal information of an agency employee who has made a claim with the employing agency of sexual harassment and has requested that his or her personal information not be disclosed without his or her consent. The agency must notify the employee who makes a claim of sexual harassment that the employee may request that his or her personal information not be disclosed.

    Bill Information


    Workplace Bullying

    HB 2888

    Summary:

    Addresses workplace bullying by making it an unfair practice to subject an employee to an abusive work environment.

    "Abusive conduct" is repeated conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer's legitimate business interests. In considering whether abusive conduct is present, a trier of fact should weigh the severity, nature, and frequency of the conduct. Abusive conduct may include, but is not limited to, infliction of verbal abuse such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets; verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, humiliating, or isolating; or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person's work performance. A single act normally will not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.

    Bill Information


    Equal Pay Act Update

    SB 5140

    Summary:

    Updates the existing state equal pay act to:

    (1) Address income disparities, employer discrimination, and retaliation practices; and

    (2) Reflect the equal status of all workers in the state.

    Bill Information


    Civil Rights Act Update

    SB 5423

    Summary: Revises the state civil rights act to provide:

    (1) Legal recourse for employee who have been harmed by being deliberately subjected to abusive work environments; and

    (2) Legal incentives for employers to prevent and respond to mistreatment of employees at work..

    Bill Information 


    Retaliation and Discrimination

    SB 5528

    Summary: Addresses retaliation and discrimination against employees and providing protection for employees.

    • It establishes a presumption of employer retaliation if an adverse employment action is taken against an employee within 90 days of that employee engaging in specific protected activities.
    • An aggrieved individual may bring an individual or class action in court. If the court determines a violation occurred, the court must order statutory damages of $1,000 to $10,000, or $10,000 to $25,000 if the employer engaged in a pattern or practice of violations, and attorneys' fees and costs.

    Bill Information


    Off Duty Conduct

    SB 5667

    Summary: Concerning the off-duty conduct of an employee or a prospective employee.

    Bill Information


    Ban the Box

    SB 6110

    Summary: Prohibiting employers from asking about arrests or convictions before an applicant is determined otherwise qualified for a position.

    Bill Information


     


    The 2017 Regular Session convened on January 9 and ended on April 23, 2017. The first Special Session began on April 23 ended on May 23. The second Special Session began on May 23 and ended on June 21. The third Special Session began on June 21 and ended on July 20, 2017.

    Below is a summary of certain key employment law proposals in Washington State, as well as other case law that may affect human resource management in Washington State.

    The following bills have been signed by the Governor:


    UPDATING DEFINITION OF A VETERAN

    SHB 1369

    Summary: Updates definition of a veteran to include being in receipt of separation orders or documents that characterize his or her service as honorable.

    Bill Information

    OTHER THAN LEGISLATIVE ACTION

    Apr 21: Governor signed.

    Effective date: 7/23/2017

     


    BACKGROUND CHECKS

    HB 1620

    Expands the authority of local governments to require criminal history background checks.

    Bill Information

    Status: Mar 1; Passed from House

    OTHER THAN LEGISLATIVE ACTION

    May 16: Governor signed.

    Effective date: 7/23/2017

     


    L&I APPEALS

    HB 1629

    Summary: Extends the redetermination timeline regarding appeals to the department of labor and industries from 15 days to 45 days.

    • This extension is for L&I to make any redetermination, issue corrective notices of assessment of penalty, citations, etc.
    • The 45-day extension must be agreed to by all parties.

    Bill Information

    OTHER THAN LEGISLATIVE ACTION

    Apr 14: Governor signed.

    Effective date: 1/1/2018.

     


    PROMOTING HEALTHY OUTCOMES FOR PREGANANT WOMEN AND INFANTS

    HB 5835

    Summary: Among other things, requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee for a pregnancy-related or childbirth-related health condition, unless the employer demonstrates that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business..

    Bill Information

    OTHER THAN LEGISLATIVE ACTION

    May 16: Governor signed.

    Effective date: 7/23/2017

     

     


    The following bills did not meet cutoff to pass opposite chamber and should be considered dead:


    CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYMENT

    HB 1182

    Summary: Extends civil service employment eligibility to lawful permanent residents.

    Bill Information

    2017 1st Special Session:

    Apr 24: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.


    PROHIBITING EMPLOYERS FROM ASKING ABOUT ARRESTS OR CONVICTIONS BEFORE AN APPLICANT IS DETERMINED OTHERWISE QUALIFIED FOR A POSITION

    HB 1298

    Summary: Establishes the Washington Fair Chance Act.

    • Prohibits an employer from including any question on an application for employment, from inquiring either orally or in writing, from receiving information through a criminal history background check, or from otherwise obtaining information about an applicant's criminal record until after the employer initially determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.
    • Requires the state attorney general's office to enforce this act.

    Bill Information

    2017 1st Special Session:

    Apr 24: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.


    EQUAL PAY ACT

    HB 1506

    Summary: Updates the existing state equal pay act to address income disparities, employer discrimination, retaliation practices, and the equal status of workers in this state.

    Bill Information

    2017 1st Special Session:

    Apr 24: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.


    PLAN MEMBERSHIP DEFAULT

    HB 1560

    Summary: Addresses plan membership default provisions in the public employees' retirement system, the teachers' retirement system, and the school employees' retirement system.

    Bill Information

    2017 1st Special Session:

    Apr 24: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.


    L&I COVERAGE FOR STRESS-RELATED DISORDERS

    HB 1655

    Summary: Provides industrial insurance coverage for stress-caused mental disorders and disabilities of members of the law enforcement officers' and firefighters' retirement system.

    Bill Information

    2017 1st Special Session:

    Apr 24: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.


    REASONABLE PREGNANCY ACCOMMODATIONS

    SHB 1796

    Summary: Requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee for a pregnancy-related or childbirth-related health condition, if so requested, with written certification from a licensed health care provider, unless the employer demonstrates that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.

    Bill Information

    2017 1st Special Session:

    Apr 24: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.


    ESTABLISHING THE WASHINGTON FAIR CHANCE ACT

    SSB 5312

    Summary: Prohibits an employer from including a question on an application for employment regarding information about the applicant's criminal record until after the employer determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.

    Bill Information

    2017 1st Special Session:

    Apr 24: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.


    CIVIL RIGHTS OF RELIGIOUS OBJECTORS TO MANDATORY PAYMENTS TO LABOR ORGANIZATIONS

    SSB 5339

    Summary: Accommodates the civil rights of religious objectors to mandatory payments to labor organizations.

    Provision does not require “bona fide religious tenets or teachings of a church or religious body,” but instead only requires “personally held religious beliefs.

    Bill Information

    2017 1st Special Session:

    Apr 24: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.


    BACKGROUND CHECKS

    SSB 5399

    Summary: Expands the authority of local governments to require criminal history background checks.

    Bill Information

    2017 1st Special Session:

    Apr 24: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.


    2015


    DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS AND PERS

    HB 1036

    Summary: Addresses public employees' retirement system benefits for survivors of members in registered domestic partnerships before December 2012.

    Original Bill

    Status: Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Appropriations at 3:30 PM on Feb 5.

     


    VETERANS' SCORING CRITERIA

    HB 1117

    Summary: Revises veterans' scoring criteria in competitive examinations.

    Original Bill

    Status: Public hearing in the House Committee on State Government at 10:00 AM on Jan 20.

     


    PAID VACATION LEAVE

    HB 1163

    Summary: Requires minimum paid vacation leave for Washington workers. Requires the state institute for public policy to evaluate the impact of this act on the economy of the state and the health and well-being of employees.

    Original Bill

    Status: Public hearing in the House Committee on Labor at 8:00 AM on Jan 29.

     


    WAGE PAYMENT FEES AND COSTS

    HB 1211

    Summary: Requires employers to offer a method of wage payment that allows an employee to obtain all of his or her wages in legal tender of the United States without fees or costs for the transaction.

    Original Bill

    Status: Public hearing in the House Committee on Labor at 8:00 AM on Jan 22.

     


    2014


    MANDATORY SICK AND SAFE LEAVE

    HB 1313/SB 5594

    Summary: This bill sets the minimum requirements of Tier 1-3 businesses for sick and safe leave. Basically, as one works, they acquire some amount of paid leave hours that can be accumulated and held year-to-year (the rates and amount vary by tier of business). When the leave is used correctly, the employee is fully compensated, besides tips and commissions. If this bill is violated in the workplace, a civil action may follow.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: House passed third reading; Senate waiting.

     


    AFFADAVIT OF WAGES PAID CERTIFICATION EXEMPTION

    HB 1254

    Summary: If you are exempt from the requirement to pay the prevailing rate of wage under RCW 39.12.020 then L&I can’t charge a fee to certify an affidavit of wages paid.

    Bill as passed Legislature

    Status: Delivered to the Governor

     


    CELL PHONE REIMBURSEMENT

    HB 2230

    Summary: If it is required for an employee to use a cell phone for work, the employer must cover cell phone costs and cell phone plan costs.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: House passed to Rules Committee for second reading

     


    PAID VACATION LEAVE

    HB 2238

    Summary: This bill would add a new chapter to Title 49 RCW that ensures that employers will enable employees to accrue paid vacation leave (at rates based on the seniority of the worker). Workers would be able to take this leave for various reasons, and they would be compensated. Employers would need to inform their workers about paid vacation leave, and be able to inform individuals on their amount accrued, if requested.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: Read in House Committee on Labor and Workforce Development

     


    WHISTLEBLOWERS IN THE ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY

    HB 2275/SB 6037

    Summary: Whistleblowers in the electrical industry can remain anonymous. Also, employers may not take adverse action against a whistleblower.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: Third reading passed in Senate, House waiting.

     


    DAMAGES FOR WAGE VIOLATIONS

    HB 2332

    Summary: Changed calculations for damages for wage violations, and enabled employees whom have knowingly submitted to violations of RCW 49.52.050 to benefit from RCW 49.52.070.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: House passed third reading; Senate waiting.

     


    EMPLOYMENT ANTIRETALIATION ACT

    HB 2333

    Summary: If employment retaliation (RCW 49.46.101 section 2 subsection 8) occurs within 90 days of an incident (49.46 RCW section 3 subsection 1) then there is a gross misdemeanor charged against the employer. The employee that has been retaliated against or an interested party may file a claim that a director can investigate, and if it has been found that the claim is true, a civil penalty may be incurred. The employee or an interested party could also bring a suit against the employee. (There are other definitions, with only slight variations…)

    Most Current Revision

    Status: House passed third reading; Senate waiting.

     


    EMPLOYEE FAIR CLASSIFICATION ACT

    HB 2334

    Summary: If an employer misclassifies an employee for gain (section 5), then a civil penalty may be ordered by the department to the employer (section 6), or an individual aggrieved by misclassification or an interested party may bring suit against the employer (section 7). There must be a conspicuous sign in the workplace notifying “individual contractors” of their right to be rightfully classified (section 8). Money gained under section 6 will be put into the state treasury, and used for enforcement of the act.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: House passed third reading; Senate waiting.

     


    WASHINGTON JOBS ASSISTANCE ACT

    HB 2545

    Summary: Essentially makes it unlawful to reject an applicant before consideration, if they have been convicted of any crime.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: House passed to Rules Committee for second reading

     


    MINIMUM WAGE

    HB 2672

    Summary: This bill would amend RCW 49.46.020 to change the minimum wage. 1/1/2015 to 1/1/2016 would be 10 dollars per hour. 1/1/2016 to 1/1/2017 would be 11 dollars per hour. 1/1/2017 to 1/1/2018 would be 12 dollars per hour. This bill would also make it so that on 9/30/2017 and every following September 30th, the minimum wage would be adjusted for inflation of buying power.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: House Committee on Appropriations scheduled a reading, but no action was taken.

     


    PUBLIC POLICY PROTECTION

    HB 2710

    Summary: Material adverse action against an employee that was doing an action under public policy is unlawful.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: Public hearing in the House Committee

     


    WAGE AND OVERTIME COMPLAINTS

    SB 5158

    Summary: After or during the effective date of the new section to 49.46 RCW, an employer is not subject to penalty for the failure to pay minimum wages or overtime compensation, if the act that was complained of was in good faith conformity.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: Third reading passed in Senate, House waiting.

     


    FAMILY MEDICAL AND LEAVE ACT

    SB 5903

    Summary: Repealing the family and medical leave insurance act. Seeking to terminate the dormant FMLIA program from the 2007 session. W as initially introduced as SB 5159 in Commerce & Labor, then reintroduced as SB 5903 on April 9 in Ways & Means.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: Senate X-file (was condsidered in the 2013 Regular Season)

     


    STATE EMPLOYEE INSURANCE BENEFITS

    SB 5905

    Summary: Establishing state employee eligibility for insurance benefits consistent with the employer shared responsibility provisions of the patient protection and affordable care act. Beginning January 1, 2014, each employee who is a full-time employee as defined by section 1513 of the patient protection and affordable care act and related regulations, as administered by the authority, is eligible for benefits. Employees who are not full-time employees are not eligible to participate in health benefit plans provided under this chapter. Substitute Senate Bill – adds bargaining provision for part-timers.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: Senate X-file (was condsidered in the 2013 Regular Season)

     


    WHISTLEBLOWER RETALIATION INFORMATION

    SB 6046

    Summary: The commission must relate the findings of an investigation of a complaint alleging workplace reprisal or retaliatory action against a whistleblower to the complainant or the labor union representing the complainant within 90 days of the findings. If it is found that workplace reprisal or retaliatory action against a whistleblower has occurred, and that no agreement is reached within 6 months, then the finding must be reduced to writing.

    Bill as passed Legislature

    Status: Signed by Governor on March 19, 2014. Effective June 12, 2014.

     


    THE PENSION POACHER PREVENTION ACT

    SB 6208/HB 2390

    Summary: This new chapter to Title 19 RCW aims to make unofficial counseling of veterans in their compensation be less for personal interest, and more for the public good. This bill states that counseling of veterans unofficially will not be compensated by the state, and also that unofficial veterans events must post a disclosure, to ensure that veterans know that private counselors and events may not tell them all of their benefits.

    Bill as passed Legislature

    Status: Delivered to the Governor on March 13, 2014

     


    PUBLIC EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM

    SB 6321/HB 2408

    Summary: After January 2015, a member of plan 3 of the teachers’ retirement system may only change their contribution rate if their employer changes, instead of yearly as was previously the option. This change is in accordance with the current plan 3 members of the public employees’ retirement system and the school employees’ retirement system.

    Bill as passed Legislature

    Status: Delivered to the Governor on March 12, 2014

     


    PUBLIC EMPLOYEES’ DEFERRED COMPENSATION

    SB 6328

    Summary: This change allows the state and lower governments are able to defer part of a public sector employees’ paycheck into an individual security, in addition to what was previously allowable. The amount can be no greater than what is defined in 26 U.S.C. Sec. 457.

    Bill as passed Legislature

    Status: Delivered to the Governor on March 12, 2014

     


    CREED DISCRIMINATION

    SB 6433

    Summary: Makes it unlawful to discriminate against an employee based on creed, unless it can be proven that compliance with reasonable accommodation would impose an undue hardship on a business

    Most Current Revision

    Status: Public hearing in Senate Committee on Law and Justice

     


    TEEN SUMMER WAGES

    SB 6471

    Summary: A minimum wage for teens (ages 14-19) who work during the summer temporarily or seasonally may be paid in accordance to the federal fair labor standards act

    Most Current Revision

    Status: Senate X-File

     


    TEEN MINIMUM WAGE

    SB 6495

    Summary: 14-15 year olds may work at 85% of the state minimum wage, and 16-19 year olds may be compensated at 85% of state minimum wage for training wages, or at the federal minimum wage.

    Most Current Revision

    Status: Senate X-File

     


    2013


    SUPREME COURT STRIKES SECTION 3 OF DOMA

    Summary: In one of the most eagerly awaited decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court’s term, the justices ruled in a 5-4 decision on June 26, 2013, that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. The opinion struck down Section 3’s federal definition of “marriage” and “spouse,” while leaving intact the law’s Section 2, which lets states refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states..

    What this means in Washington State: Expect employees to inquire about their rights with regard to various employee benefits. The Supreme Court decision essentially removes the federal barriers that same-sex marriages had on certain benefits, such as federal taxes and federally-protected pension plan benefits.

    http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/Articles/Pages/Employer-Benefits-DOMA.aspx

     


    PUBLIC EMPLOYEES BENEFITS

    HB 1587

    Summary: Sponsored by HCA and the LEOFF 2 Pension Board, mainly some clean-up or housekeeping of HCA’s RCW 41.05, including a modification of the eligibility criteria for seasonal employees in Section 3(4)(b) of the bill.

    Status: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status, May 13, 2013.

     


    FAMILY MEDICAL AND LEAVE ACT

    SB 5903

    Summary: Repealing the family and medical leave insurance act. Seeking to terminate the dormant FMLIA program from the 2007 session. W as initially introduced as SB 5159 in Commerce & Labor, then reintroduced as SB 5903 on April 9 in Ways & Means.

    Status: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status, May 13, 2013

     


    STATE EMPLOYEE INSURANCE BENEFITS

    SB 5905

    Summary: Establishing state employee eligibility for insurance benefits consistent with the employer shared responsibility provisions of the patient protection and affordable care act. Beginning January 1, 2014, each employee who is a full-time employee as defined by section 1513 of the patient protection and affordable care act and related regulations, as administered by the authority, is eligible for benefits. Employees who are not full-time employees are not eligible to participate in health benefit plans provided under this chapter. Substitute Senate Bill – adds bargaining provision for part-timers.

    Status: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status, May 13, 2013

     


    VETERANS SCORING CRITERIA

    HB 1537

    Summary: Changes requirements for scoring criteria status for veterans. Allows veteran scoring criteria status to be claimed upon receipt of separation orders issued by the respective military department if the separation orders indicate an honorable discharge.

    Status: Governor signed, April 25, 2013

     


    SOCIAL NETWORKING

    SB 5211

    Summary: Concerning social networking accounts and profiles. Prohibits employers from requiring employee or prospective employee to submit or give access to social networking account information that is not in the public domain.

    Status: Governor Signed, May 21, 2013

     


    PUBLIC EMPLOYEES ETHICS

    SB 5577

    Summary: Protecting public employees who act ethically and legally. Identical to SB 5063, except Sen. Carrell added new sections (7-3, 8-4, 11, 12, 13) providing further protections for people filing ethics complaints. Substitute HB.

    Status: Governor signed, May 8, 2013

     


     

    FEDERAL COURT DECISION INVALIDATES NLRB RECESS APPOINTMENTS

    On January 25, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in Noel Canning v. NLRB that President Barack Obama’s three January 2012 appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) violated the Recess Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The impact for HR professionals is that the ruling calls into question every decision the Board has made since January 2012, including controversial decisions on micro-units and employer social media policies.

    http://www.shrm.org/Advocacy/GovernmentAffairsNews/HRIssuesUpdatee-Newsletter/Pages/020113_1.aspx

     


    COULD 2013 BE THE YEAR THAT COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM GETS DONE?

    It’s been nearly two decades since a Republican-controlled Congress and the Clinton White House agreed to enact the Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

    http://www.shrm.org/Advocacy/GovernmentAffairsNews/HRIssuesUpdatee-Newsletter/Pages/020113_2.aspx

     


    20 YEARS AND COUNTING...

    Guess what federal leave statute was enacted 20 years ago? That's right, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) celebrates its 20-year anniversary on February 5, 2013! Given this monumental anniversary, it is likely that policymakers will take this opportunity, through Congressional hearings and other activities, to examine how the law is working in the 20 years since its enactment.

    http://www.shrm.org/Advocacy/GovernmentAffairsNews/HRIssuesUpdatee-Newsletter/Pages/020113_3.aspx

     


    2012


    US SUPREME COURT TO REVIEW FEDERAL DOMA, CALIFORNIA'S PROPOSITION 8

    In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court will consider the question of whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) deprives same-sex couples who are lawfully married under the laws of their states of the equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Section 3 of DOMA defines the term “marriage" for all purposes under federal law as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

    In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the high court will review the question of whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the state of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

    http://www.shrm.org/legalissues/federalresources/pages/doma-proposition8.aspx?homepage=mpc

     


    STATE SUPREME COURT: FIRST TEN MINUTES OF MISSED BREAK COUNT AS OVERTIME

    The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that missed paid rest breaks count as hours worked and therefore will be compensated as overtime for the first ten minutes of each break missed. Therefore, an employee who works a standard 40-hour workweek who misses a legally-obligated 10-minute paid rest break is owed compensation at the overtime rate of time-and-a-half for the first ten minutes (that which is required by state law) of the missed break, and at straight time for any additional portion of the break thereafter. For example, if an employee missed two CBA-required 15-minute breaks during a standard 40-hour workweek, the company would be obligated to pay 20 minutes of overtime plus 10 minutes of straight time in addition to the standard 40 hour workweek pay.

    http://www.shrm.org/LegalIssues/StateandLocalResources/Pages/Wash-State-Overtime-Missed-Breaks.aspx

     


    IMPLICATIONS FOR MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION FOR EMPLOYERS

    Initiative 502 takes effect on December 6, 2012 and allows individuals who are 21 years and older to lawfully purchase and possess up to one ounce of useable marijuana, or larger amounts of marijuana-infused products. These products may be sold at licensed retail outlets that have been approved by Washington’s state liquor control board.

    It will still be illegal under state law to grow, distribute, or market marijuana, except as now permitted under the Medical Use of Marijuana Act (MUMA). However, even the legal, medically-prescribed use of marijuana under MUMA does not preclude employers from maintaining a drug-free workplace, or protect employment for medical marijuana users.

    Even though possession of marijuana in accordance with the initiative’s changes to the state’s Controlled Substances Act is not a criminal or civil offense under Washington law, marijuana possession remains unlawful under the federal Controlled Substance Act. Also, the new law does not contain any express employment protections for marijuana users. Further, federal programs such as mandatory drug screening for transportation workers will still be enforced and are not affected by the passing of I-502.

    http://www.shrm.org/LegalIssues/StateandLocalResources/Pages/Wash-Marijuana-Legalization.aspx


    WASHINGTON TO RAISE MINIMUM WAGE IN 2013

    The 2013 federal minimum wage will remain unchanged at $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees. However, Washington State has announced that the minimum wage will increase on Jan. 1, 2013.

    The Department of Labor & Industries announced that effective Jan. 1, 2013, the minimum wage will increase from $9.04 to $9.19 per hour for non-exempt employees.

    http://www.shrm.org/LegalIssues/StateandLocalResources/Pages/Seven-States-Minimum-Wage-2013.aspx

     


    NEARLY $5.8 MILLION IN DOL GRANTS WILL IMPROVE STATE'S UI SYSTEM

    Washington was awarded two grants by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL): $3,656,693 to support the integrity of its unemployment insurance program and $2,194,750 to expand its use of claimant re-employment planning and eligibility assessment.

    http://www.shrm.org/LegalIssues/StateandLocalResources/Pages/Wash-DOL-Grants-UI.aspx

     


    GAY RIGHTS LAW NOT RETROACTIVE

    A state law expanding protections to gays and lesbians does not apply retroactively to the discrimination claims of a university employee, the Washington Supreme Court held.

    http://www.shrm.org/LegalIssues/StateandLocalResources/Pages/Wash-Gay-Rights-Law-Not-Retroactive.aspx

     


    REGULAR MANDATED ATTENDANCE MAY BE AN ESSENTIAL FUNCTION AND THEREFORE MAY NOT EQUATE TO A FAILURE TO ACCOMMODATE

    In Samper v. Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a neo-natal intensive care nurse. Monika Samper sought an accommodation from her employer, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center to allow her an unspecified number of unplanned absences, negating Providence's attendance policy. The lower court held, and the 9th Circuit affirmed, that for Samper's job, regular and reliable attendance was an essential function of the job.

    http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2012/04/11/10-35811.pdf

     


    SAME SEX MARRIAGE

    HB 2516/SB 6239

    Summary: Eliminates provisions in Washington State law to designate marriage as between a man and a woman, or between a husband and wife. Also mandates a transition of all state registered domestic partnerships into legal marriages as of June 30, 2014. Provides a provision for domestic partnerships entered into at 62 years of age or older to remain as domestic partnerships and not be mandated to transition into legal marriages.

    Bill as passed Legislature

    Status: Signed into law on February 13, 2012. Effective June 7, 2012.

     


    EMPLOYER/EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIPS UNDER STATE RETIRMENT SYSTEMS

    HB 2771/SB6584

    Summary: Adds clarifying language stating contracted workers are not eligible to participate in public retirement systems.

    Bill as passed Legislature

    Status: Signed into law on March 30, 2012. Effective June 7, 2012.

     


    WORKPLACE SAFETY

    HB 2509

    Summary: Directs L&I to offer the Blueprint for Safety program statewide, in a phased approach.  Goal:  improve safety for employees, lower employer costs.  Target employers: rising experience modification factor, recent catastrophic workplace injury, change in safety management, request by the employer.  Participation voluntary and must be approved by L&I.

    Senate amendment requires program to implement using existing resources.

    Bill as passed Legislature

    Status: Governor vetoed, April 3, 2012.

     


    EMPLOYMENT STATUS DISCRIMINATION

    SB 6228

    Summary: Originally submitted to create a new protected class in Washington State based upon employment status. Recent changes to the bill (substitute bill LCCP 12) have removed the protected class provision and instead focus on making the requirement to be employed an illegal hiring practice, with fines to employers based upon first, second, or third offense. This does not preclude employers from exclusively hiring internally among current employees of the company. There is no private cause of action, meaning employers do not need to be concerned about lawsuits from job seekers that feel discriminated against based upon their employment status.

    Substitute Bill

    Status: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status, April 11, 2012.

     


    MANDATORY PAID SICK/SAFE LEAVE

    HB 2508/SB 6229

    Summary: Modeled after Seattle’s 2011 ordinance, this bill seeks to mandate paid sick and safe leave based upon number of employees.

    Bill

    Status: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status, April 11, 2012.

     


    WORKPLACE BULLYING

    HB 1928/SB 5789

    Summary: Addresses workplace bullying by making it an unfair practice to subject an employee to an abusive work environment.

    Bill

    Status: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status, April 11, 2012.

     


    PUBLIC POLICY RETALIATION

    SB 6072

    Summary: Protects employees from retaliation for conduct that promotes public policy.

    Bill

    Status: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status, April 11, 2012.

     


    VETERANS' PREFERENCE IN PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT

    SB 5970

    Summary: Eliminates the reduction in veterans' scoring criteria for retired veterans who served during a period of war or during a conflict for which a campaign badge or medal was awarded. Therefore, veterans drawing military retirement pay would receive equal preference in hiring, layoff, and reemployment decisions as other veterans.

    Bill

    Status: By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status, April 11, 2012.

     


     *For state issues visit http://www.leg.wa.gov/ or Washington State Law Updates (SHRM page)