Latest in Employment Law

Decision: Karstetter v. King County Corrections Guild

The Washington State Supreme Court issued a decision in Karstetter v. King County Correction Guild on Friday July 18, 2019 protecting the right of in-house counsel to bring breach of contract claims and wrongful discharge claims.  The decision also extends protected activity to those who assist in whistleblower investigations, and reinforces the limited application of the Peritt model. The King...

Decision: Taylor v. BNSF Railroad

The Washington Supreme Court held on July 11, 2019 in Taylor v. BNSF Railroad Holdings Inc., in answer to a certified question from the Ninth Circuit, that obesity always qualifies as an impairment under the Washington Law against Discrimination (“WLAD”).  Judge Robart had dismissed the case because Taylor could not prove either his obesity was caused by an independent...

WELA Alert: Federal Courts Lack Jurisdiction Over Pure Procedural Violations of Fair Credit Reporting Act

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires employers who conduct background checks to provide the applicant with a copy of his/her credit report before the employer takes any adverse action. Here the employer conducted a background check and obtained the applicant’s credit report. The employer disqualified the applicant for further consideration based on...

Collective Bargaining Agreement Did Not Cover Employee’s State Law Wage Claims so no Compelled Arbitration

WASHINGTON COURT OF APPEALS Plaintiff worked for QFC. He filed a class action claiming the employer’s policy of rounding employees’ clock-in time to nearest quarter hour unlawfully deprived them of wages due under Washington law. QFC claimed that the claims were subject to arbitration under the relevant collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”), even though there was no mention of the rounding...

WELA Alert: Termination of Officer Based on Off-Duty Extramarital Affair with Another Officer Violated Employee’s Constitutional Right to Privacy

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit On January 4, 2012, Janelle Perez was hired by Chief Daniel Hahn to serve as a police officer in the Roseville Police Department. A few months into her probationary term, Perez and a fellow officer, Officer Shad Begley ("Begley") began a romantic relationship. Both Perez and Begley were separated from, although still...

Verdict: Zachrisson & Lincoln v. Port of Seattle – $16,097,342

Court: King County Superior Court Judge: Catherine Shaffer Date of Settlement or Verdict:  November 30, 2017 Total Amount of Judgment or Settlement: $16,097,342 jury verdict. High/Low Settlement: $8,000,000. Jury verdicts: Zachrisson - Economic Damages: $153,543. Non-Economic Damages: $7,046,700; Lincoln - Economic Damages: $251,030. Non-Economic Damages: $8,646,069. Basic Facts and Claims: Whistleblower retaliation claim brought by two Seatac Airport employees who refused to extend restaurant leases violating...

Public Employer Policy of Prohibiting Religious Speech on Workplace Listserve and Electronic Bulletin Board Violates the First Amendment

WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT The plaintiff was a captain in a municipal fire department. He and several other employees formed a Christian Fellowship. He created a listserve of about 45 firefighters whom he thought would be interested in the Fellowship’s activities. The plaintiff distributed the emails over the employer’s email system. While the employer had a written policy limiting the email system...

WELA Amicus: Bailey v. Alpha Technologies, Inc.

WELA filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in this case on Friday April 27, urging the court to reverse and/or certify two legal issues to the Washington Supreme Court.  The plaintiff, a buyer for a group of privately-held companies, was fired after raising concerns about internal pricing that she had been told could raise...

University President Entitled to Qualified Immunity on Former Employee’s Claim for Deprivation of Liberty Interest without Due Process

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Plaintiff worked as the executive director for a public radio station and related foundation, both affiliated with a state university. He reported to the university president. The university president became concerned with how the foundation was spending its money. An audit determined that there was an inherent conflict of interest in having...

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