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Thursday, May 10, 2018

FREE Legal Forms: AK, CA, HI, ID, OR, WA


   
by Gregory Williams, Esq. |  What are some free resources for reliable and trusted legal forms in Washington State, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho and Oregon? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding). 

WASHINGTON STATE
FREE Washington State Legal Forms is a website designed, developed, and maintained by Attorney Gregory Williams. It both provides free access to trusted legal forms and offers reliability reviews for each source website.

Free forms are categorized and include, but are not limited to, the following subjects:

ALASKA, CALIFORNIA, HAWAII, IDAHO, & OREGON

We've received an overwhelming response to our FREE Legal Forms websites, and we're in the process of enhancing the websites for these states by (1) adding security certificates, (2) making them mobile friendly, and (3) migrating them to a safer and more reliable hosting provider (to see these enhancements, visit our WA State website). In the meantime, these websites will be down. Please check back soon!



 
   


PLEASE NOTE

The information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Definition of Prima Facie Case

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Washington State laws, what is a prima facie caseHere's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


THE DICTIONARY

The term "prima facie" means "at first sight; on first appearance but subject to further evidence or information." Black's Law Dictionary 1228 (8th ed. 2004). And a "prima facie case" means: "1. The establishment of a legally required rebuttable presumption ... [; or] 2. A party's production of enough evidence to allow the fact-trier to infer the fact at issue and rule in the party's favor." Id.


THE CASELAW

The Washington State Supreme Court has declared, "* * * A 'prima facie case' is one where the evidence is sufficient to justify, but not to compel, an inference of liability, or, in other words, evidence to be weighed, but not necessarily to be accepted by a jury or other trier of the fact." Nopson v. City of Seattle, 33 Wn.2d 772, 812, 207 P.2d 674, (1949) (citing McCoy v. Courtney, 25 Wash.2d 956, 962, 172 P.2d 596, 600, 170 A.L.R. 603) (hyperlink added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Disparate Treatment: A Closer Look


by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination, how does a plaintiff establish a prima facie case of disparate treatment? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


THE MCDONNELL DOUGLAS FRAMEWORK

The McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework (Framework) has three steps:
STEP 1The "plaintiff bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination, which creates a presumption of discrimination." Scrivener v. Clark College, 181 Wn.2d 439, 446, 334 P.3d 541, (2014) (citing, Riehl, 152 Wn.2d at 149-50; Kastanis v. Educ. Emps. Credit Union, 122 Wn.2d 483, 490, 859 P.2d 26, 865 P.2d 507 (1993)) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 2"[T]he burden shifts to the defendant, who must articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action." Mikkelsen, 189 Wn.2d at 527 (Wash. 2017) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 3"[I]f the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must produce sufficient evidence showing that the defendant's alleged nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action was a pretext." Id. (internal citations omitted) (emphasis & hyperlink added). 

(To learn about the entire Framework and how it is applied, read our recent article entitled: The McDonnell Douglas Burden-Shifting Framework)


DISPARATE TREATMENT

Disparate treatment is a legal theory that occurs "when an employer treats some people less favorably than others" because of membership in a protected class. Alonso v. Qwest Communications Company, 178 Wn.App. 734, 753-54, 315 P.3d 610 (Wash.App.Div. 2 2013). "To esablish a prima facie disparate treatment case, a plaintiff must show that his employer simply treats some people less favorably than others because of their protected status." Id. (citing Johnson v. Dep't of Soc. & Health servs., 80 Wn.App. 212, 226, 907 P.2d 1223 (1996)) (hyperlink added). There are several formulations for the elements of a prima facie case of disparate treatment. For example, take our disparate treatment tests based on (1) adverse employment action and (2) termination of employment:



LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Tort of Battery

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Washington State laws, what is the tort of batteryHere's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


DEFINITION OF A TORT

A tort is "[a] civil wrong, other than breach of contract, for which a remedy may be obtained, usu. in the form of damages; a breach of a duty that the law imposes on persons who stand in a particular relation to one another." Black's Law Dictionary 1526 (8th ed. 2004).


THE TORT OF BATTERY

In Washington State, a "battery" is a tort defined as "an intentional and unpermitted contact with the plaintiff's person." Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc., 180 Wn.2d 481, 504, 325 P.3d 193 (2014). The plaintiff must show that the defendant did the following to establish liability for battery:
(a) he [or she] acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the [plaintiff or a third party], or an imminent apprehension of such contact, and
(b) a harmful or offensive contact with the [plaintiff] directly or indirectly results.
Id. (citing Restatement (Second) of Torts § 13 (1965)).


THE INTENT ELEMENT

Establishing intent on the part of the defendant is an element of battery. "[T]he 'intent' element of battery is satisfied where a defendant knows to a 'substantial certainty' that his actions will result in the harmful or offensive touching." Id. at 504-05 (internal citations omitted). Thus, an individual "commits a battery where he or she performs '[a]n act which, directly or indirectly, is the legal cause of a harmful contact with another's person' and that act is intentional, is not consented to, and is otherwise unprivileged." Id. at 505 (citing, Garratt v. Dailey, 46 Wn.2d 197, 200, 279 P.2d 1091 (1955) (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 13 (1934)) (internal quotation marks omitted). And "[t]hese elements are met where the plaintiff's consent to the contact is procured by fraud or duress." Id. (citing, Garratt, 46 Wn.2d at 201 (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 13(b)) (internal quotation marks omitted).


THE OFFENSIVE CONTACT ELEMENT

"A bodily contact is offensive if it offends a reasonable sense of personal dignity." Id. (citing, Restatement (Second) of Torts § 19). Accordingly, "an offensive contact does not have to result in physical injury to constitute a battery." Id. (referencing, Seigel v. Long, 169 Ala. 79, 53 So. 753 (1910) (facts established claim for battery where defendant pushed plaintiff's hat back in order to see his face); Crawford v. Bergen, 91 Iowa 675, 60 N.W. 205 (1894) (facts established claim for battery where defendant placed his hand on the plaintiff's shoulder and asked him an insulting question)).


EXAMPLE: KUMAR v. GATE GOURMET, INC.

In Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc., the employer (Gate Gourmet, Inc.) prohibited employees from both bringing food with them to work and leaving the premises to obtain food -- the policy was based upon security concerns. A group of employee-plaintiffs decided to sue their employer for violation of their religious beliefs when the employer provided them with beef/pork-based foods (in violation of their religion) for lunch that were deceptively designated by the employer as turkey-based, and the vegetarian options actually included animal by-products. When the employees complained, the employer refused to alter the plaintiffs' meals.

One claim, inter alia, was based on the tort of battery. Accordingly, the employees essentially alleged that "Gate Gourmet deceived them into eating food in violation of their religious beliefs, knowing that this would cause an offensive contact." See id. at 505. The Washington State Supreme Court held that the "allegations are sufficient to support a claim for battery at this stage." Id. 


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

McDonnell Douglas Framework (Step 1): The Prima Facie Case

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the McDonnell Douglas Framework, (Framework), as applied by Washington State courts, how does a plaintiff establish step 1 -- the prima facie caseHere's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).
(To learn about the entire Framework and how it is applied, read our recent article entitled: The McDonnell Douglas Burden-Shifting Framework)

THE MCDONNELL DOUGLAS FRAMEWORK

The McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework has three steps:
STEP 1The "plaintiff bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination, which creates a presumption of discrimination." Scrivener v. Clark College, 181 Wn.2d 439, 446, 334 P.3d 541, (2014) (citing, Riehl, 152 Wn.2d at 149-50; Kastanis v. Educ. Emps. Credit Union, 122 Wn.2d 483, 490, 859 P.2d 26, 865 P.2d 507 (1993)) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 2"[T]he burden shifts to the defendant, who must articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action." Mikkelsen, 189 Wn.2d at 527 (Wash. 2017) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 3"[I]f the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must produce sufficient evidence showing that the defendant's alleged nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action was a pretext." Id. (internal citations omitted) (emphasis & hyperlink added). 

A CLOSER LOOK: STEP 1 -- THE PRIMA FACIE CASE

The term "prima facie" means "at first sight; on first appearance but subject to further evidence or information." Black's Law Dictionary 1228 (8th ed. 2004). And a "prima facie case" means: "1. The establishment of a legally required rebuttable presumption ... [; or] 2. A party's production of enough evidence to allow the fact-trier to infer the fact at issue and rule in the party's favor." Id. 

In Washington State, legal theories under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (proven via circumstantial evidence) have unique and separate formulations for the prima facie case. For example, here are prima facie case requirements for two common legal theories, inter alia:

1. HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT (HARASSMENT): to establish a prima facie case of hostile work environment, the plaintiff must show: (1) that the harassment was unwelcome; (2) that the harassment was based on membership in a protected class; (3) that the harassment affected the terms and conditions of employment; and (4) that the harassment can be imputed to the employer. Glasgow v. Georgia-Pacific Corporation, 103 Wn.2d 401, 406-07, 693 P.2d 708 (Wash. 1985). Take our Hostile Work Environment Video Test:

2. UNLAWFUL RETALIATION: to establish a prima facie case of unlawful retaliation, the plaintiff must show (1) that the he/she engaged in a protected activity (e.g., complaining to the employer about job discrimination based on a protected class, participating in an investigation to determine whether discrimination occurred, etc.); (2) that the plaintiff experienced an adverse employment action; and (3) that there is a causal link between the activity and the adverse action. Alonso v. Qwest Communications Company, 178 Wn.App. 734, 753-54, 315 P.3d 610 (Wash.App.Div. 2 2013) (citing, Short v. Battle Ground Sch. Dist., 169 Wn.App. 188, 279 P.3d 902 (Div. 2 2012), overruled on other grounds by Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc., 180 Wn.2d 481, 325 P.3d 193 (Wash. 2014)). Take our Unlawful Retaliation Video Test:


Additional legal theories under the Washington Law Against Discrimination include, but are not limited to, the following: disparate treatment, disparate impact, failure to provide reasonable accommodations, etc. Again, each theory has its own requirements for a prima facie case. Moreover, some elements of the prima facie case may contain additional requirements.


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

McDonnell Douglas Framework (Step 2): The Employer's Burden

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the McDonnell Douglas Framework, (Framework), as applied by Washington State courts, how does a defendant-employer prove step 2 -- the employer's burden? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).
(To learn about the entire Framework and how it is applied, read our recent article entitled: The McDonnell Douglas Burden-Shifting Framework)

THE MCDONNELL DOUGLAS FRAMEWORK

The McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework has three steps:
STEP 1The "plaintiff bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination, which creates a presumption of discrimination." Scrivener v. Clark College, 181 Wn.2d 439, 446, 334 P.3d 541, (2014) (citing, Riehl, 152 Wn.2d at 149-50; Kastanis v. Educ. Emps. Credit Union, 122 Wn.2d 483, 490, 859 P.2d 26, 865 P.2d 507 (1993)) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 2"[T]he burden shifts to the defendant, who must articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action." Mikkelsen, 189 Wn.2d at 527 (Wash. 2017) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 3"[I]f the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must produce sufficient evidence showing that the defendant's alleged nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action was a pretext." Id. (internal citations omitted) (emphasis & hyperlink added). 

A CLOSER LOOK: STEP 2 -- THE EMPLOYER'S BURDEN

According to the Framework, "after the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case of discrimination, the burden shifts to the employer, who must articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action." Id. at 533 (citing Scrivener, 181 Wn.2d at 446, 334 P.3d 541) (hyperlink added). "The employer need not persuade the court that it was actually motivated by the proffered reasons." Id. (citing, Tex. Dep't of Cmty. Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 254, 101 S.Ct. 1089, 67 L.Ed.2d 207 (1981)) (internal quotation marks omitted) (hyperlink added). "The employer's burden is merely one of production, rather than persuasion." Id. (citing, St. Mary's Honor Ctr. v. Hicks, 509 U.S. 502, 510, 113 S.Ct. 2742, 125 L.Ed.2d 407 (1993)) (hyperlink added). "The employer need only introduce evidence which, taken as true, would permit the conclusion that there was a nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse action." Id. (citing St. Mary's Honor Ctr., 509 U.S. at 509) (hyperlink added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Friday, April 27, 2018

McDonnell Douglas Framework (Step 3): Proving Pretext

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the McDonnell Douglas Framework (Framework), as applied by Washington State courts, how does a plaintiff prove step 3 -- pretextHere's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).
(To learn about the entire Framework and how it is applied, read our recent article entitled: The McDonnell Douglas Burden-Shifting Framework)

THE MCDONNELL DOUGLAS FRAMEWORK

The McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework has three steps:
STEP 1The "plaintiff bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination, which creates a presumption of discrimination." Scrivener v. Clark College, 181 Wn.2d 439, 446, 334 P.3d 541, (2014) (citing, Riehl, 152 Wn.2d at 149-50; Kastanis v. Educ. Emps. Credit Union, 122 Wn.2d 483, 490, 859 P.2d 26, 865 P.2d 507 (1993)) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 2"[T]he burden shifts to the defendant, who must articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action." Mikkelsen, 189 Wn.2d at 527 (Wash. 2017) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 3"[I]f the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must produce sufficient evidence showing that the defendant's alleged nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action was a pretext." Id. (internal citations omitted) (emphasis & hyperlink added). 

A CLOSER LOOK: STEP 3 -- PROVING PRETEXT


Under the Framework, if the defendant-employer meets its burden to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action, then the burden shifts back to the plaintiff, who must then "produce sufficient evidence showing that the defendant's alleged nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action was a pretext." Id. (citing, Scrivener v. Clark College, 181 Wn.2d at 446) (hyperlink added). Employees can "satisfy the pretext prong by offering sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact either (1) that the defendant's reason is pretextual or (2) that although the employer's stated reason is legitimate, discrimination nevertheless was a substantial factor motivating the employer." Id. (citing, Scrivener v. Clark College, 181 Wn.2d at 446-47) (hyperlinks added).


PRACTICAL OUTCOMES
  1. When "there is no evidence of pretext, the defendant is entitled to dismissal as a matter of law." Kastanis, 122 Wn.2d at 491 (citing, Grimwood v. Univ. of Puget Sound, Inc., 110 Wash.2d 355, 364, 365, 753 P.2d 517 (1988); Carle v. McChord Credit Union, 65 Wash.App. 93, 102, 827 P.2d 1070 (1992)) (hyperlink added).
  2. And "[i]f there is evidence of pretext, the case must go to the jury." Id. (citing, Carle, 65 Wash. at 102, 827 P.2d 1070; see also Jones v. Kitsap Cy. Sanitary Landfill, Inc., 60 Wash.App. 369, 373, 803 P.2d 841 (1991)) (hyperlink added).

LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

The McDonnell Douglas Burden Shifting Framework

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Washington State law, what is the McDonnell Douglas Burden-Shifting Framework (hereinafter, "McDonnell Douglas Framework" or "McDonnell Douglas") and how is it appliedHere's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


 THE ORIGIN OF THE FRAMEWORK

The McDonnell Douglas Framework is also known as a burden-shifting scheme. "The burden-shifting schemes, developed initially in the federal courts, were an effort to formulate uniform rules for making a prima facie case." Kastanis v. Educational Employees Credit Union, 122 Wn.2d 483, 490, 859 P.2d 26 (1993) (hyperlink added). "These rules were never intended as a charge to the jury." Id. (citing, United States Postal Serv. Bd. of Governors v. Aikens, 460 U.S. 711, 716, 103 S.Ct. 1478, 1482, 75 L.Ed.2d 403 (1983)). "Recognizing the 'lack of harmony' among judges on the rules applicable to establishing a prima facie case under title VII, the Supreme Court addressed the difficulty by formulating a 3-step burden-shifting test in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 801, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 1823, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973)." Id. (hyperlink added).


THE MCDONNELL DOUGLAS FRAMEWORK

The McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework has three steps:
STEP 1The "plaintiff bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination, which creates a presumption of discrimination." Scrivener v. Clark College, 181 Wn.2d 439, 446, 334 P.3d 541, (2014) (citing, Riehl, 152 Wn.2d at 149-50; Kastanis v. Educ. Emps. Credit Union, 122 Wn.2d 483, 490, 859 P.2d 26, 865 P.2d 507 (1993)) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 2"[T]he burden shifts to the defendant, who must articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action." Mikkelsen, 189 Wn.2d at 527 (Wash. 2017) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
STEP 3"[I]f the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must produce sufficient evidence showing that the defendant's alleged nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse employment action was a pretext." Id. (internal citations omitted) (emphasis & hyperlink added). 

THE POLICY BEHIND THE FRAMEWORK

"The purpose of establishing the prima facie elements under McDonnell Douglas is to 'eliminate[ ] the most common nondiscriminatory reasons for the plaintiff's rejection,' namely, that the plaintiff is unqualified for the position or that the position no longer exists." Mikkelsen v. Public Utility District No. 1 of Kittitas County, 189 Wn.2d 516, 531 (Wash. 2017) (citing, Tex. Dep't of Cmty. Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 253-54, 101 S.Ct. 1089, 67 L.Ed.2d 207 (1981)) (emphasis added) (hyperlink added).


WASHINGTON STATE ADOPTS THE FRAMEWORK

Intentional discrimination is difficult to prove. See Mikkelsen, 189 Wn.2d at 526 (internal citations omitted). Direct, 'smoking gun' evidence of discriminatory motivation is uncommon, because there will rarely be "eyewitness testimony as to the employer's mental processes." Id. (internal citations omitted). As a result, Washington State courts have "repeatedly emphasized that plaintiffs may rely on circumstantial, indirect, and inferential evidence to establish discriminatory action." Id. (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, the Washington State Supreme Court "has adopted the standard articulated by McDonnell Douglas in discrimination cases that arise out of RCW 49.60.180 and the common law." Kastanis v. Educational Employees Credit Union, 122 Wn.2d 483, 490, 859 P.2d 26 (1993) (citing, Grimwood v. Univ. of Puget Sound, Inc., 110 Wash.2d 355, 364, 753 P.2d 517 (1988); Baldwin v. Sisters of Providence in Wash., Inc., 112 Wash.2d 127, 136, 769 P.2d 298 (1989)) (emphasis added) (hyperlinks added).


SUMMARY JUDGMENT

At summary judgment, the following are special considerations, inter alia, when applying the McDonnell Douglas Framework to WLAD claims:
[1] Summary judgment for an employer is seldom appropriate in employment discrimination cases because of the difficulty of proving discriminatory motivation. 
[2] When the record contains reasonable but competing inferences of both discrimination and nondiscrimination, the trier of fact must determine the true motivation.
[3] To overcome summary judgment, the plaintiff needs to show only that a reasonable jury could find that discrimination was a substantial factor in the employer's adverse employment action. 
See Mikkelsen, 189 Wn.2d at 527-28. 


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WLAD: Definition of Credit Transaction

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | What is the definition of “credit transaction” under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD)? Here’s my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding)..

WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

WLAD "prohibits discriminatory practices in the areas of employment, places of public resort, accommodation, or amusement, in real estate transactions, and credit and insurance transactions on the basis of race, creed, color, national originfamilies with childrensexmarital statussexual orientationagehonorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability; and prohibits retaliation against persons who oppose a discriminatory practice, and those who file health care and state employee whistleblower complaints." See WSHRC Official Website --> About Uslast visited 3/27/18.

DEFINITION OF CREDIT TRANSACTION

Chapter 49.60.040 RCW is the relevant law, and it defines the term “credit transaction” as follows:
(6) "Credit transaction" includes any open or closed end credit transaction, whether in the nature of a loan, retail installment transaction, credit card issue or charge, or otherwise, and whether for personal or for business purposes, in which a service, finance, or interest charge is imposed, or which provides for repayment in scheduled payments, when such credit is extended in the regular course of any trade or commerce, including but not limited to transactions by banks, savings and loan associations or other financial lending institutions of whatever nature, stock brokers, or by a merchant or mercantile establishment which as part of its ordinary business permits or provides that payment for purchases of property or service therefrom may be deferred.
RCW 49.60.040(6) (emphasis added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

WLAD: Definition of Real Property

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | What is the definition of the term “real property” under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD)? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).

WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

WLAD "prohibits discriminatory practices in the areas of employment, places of public resort, accommodation, or amusement, in real estate transactions, and credit and insurance transactions on the basis of race, creed, color, national originfamilies with childrensexmarital statussexual orientationagehonorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability; and prohibits retaliation against persons who oppose a discriminatory practice, and those who file health care and state employee whistleblower complaints." See WSHRC Official Website --> About Uslast visited 3/27/18 (emphasis and hyperlinks added).

DEFINITION OF REAL PROPERTY

Chapter 49.60.040(22) RCW is the relevant law, and it defines the term “real property” as follows:
(22) "Real property" includes buildings, structures, dwellings, real estate, lands, tenements, leaseholds, interests in real estate cooperatives, condominiums, and hereditaments, corporeal and incorporeal, or any interest therein.
RCW 49.60.040(22) (emphasis added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Statute of Limitations: Hostile Work Environment & The Morgan Analysis

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), how is the statute of limitations calculated for hostile work environment claims? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

Under WLAD, it is an unfair practice, with very few exceptions, for an employer to refuse to hire any person, to discharge or bar any person from employment, or to discriminate against any person in compensation or in other terms and conditions of employment because of age (40+); sex (including pregnancy); marital statussexual orientation (including gender identity); race; color; creednational originhonorably discharged veteran or military statusHIV/AIDS and hepatitis C status; the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability; and state employee or health care whistleblower status. It is also an unfair practice for an employer to retaliate against an employee because the employee complained about job discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.


STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: THE MORGAN ANALYSIS

A statute of limitations is a law that bars claims after a specified period; a statute establishing a time limit for suing in a civil case. Black's Law Dictionary 1450-51 (8th ed.2004). Typically, "[d]iscrimination claims must be brought within three years under the general three-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions." Antonius v. King County, 153 Wn.2d 256, 261-62, 103 P.3d (2004) (citing RCW 4.16.080(2)). However, the statute of limitations for a hostile work environment claim is calculated using the Morgan Analysis, because the objectionable practice does not necessarily occur on a particular day.

Under the Morgan Analysis:
[W]here a discrete act of discrimination is alleged, the limitations period runs from the act. Antonius, 153 Wash.2d at 264, 103 P.3d 729. But for a hostile work environment claim, the objectionable practice does not occur on a particular day. Id. Thus, conduct throughout the time the acts occurred could be considered if the plaintiff presented evidence that one or more acts took place within three years of when the claim was filed. Id. Accordingly, " [u]nder Morgan, a ‘ court's task is to determine whether the acts about which an employee complains are part of the same actionable hostile work environment practice, and if so, whether any act falls within the statutory time period.’ " Id. at 271, 103 P.3d 729 (quoting Morgan, 536 U.S. at 120, 122 S.Ct. 2061). " The acts must have some relationship to each other to constitute part of the same hostile work environment claim." Id. If no relationship exists, " or if ‘ for some other reason, such as certain intervening action by the employer’ the act is ‘ no longer part of the same hostile environment claim, then the employee cannot recover for the previous acts' as part of one hostile work environment claim." Id. (quoting Morgan, 536 U.S. at 118, 122 S.Ct. 2061).
Cox v. Oasis Physical Therapy, PLLC, 153 Wn.App. 176, 195-96, 222 P.3d 119, (Div. 3 2009) (hyperlinks added).


CONCLUSION

The statute of limitations for a hostile work environment claim under WLAD is typically three years. However, when the court addresses an actionable hostile work environment practice, it may consider acts occurring outside of the three-year statute of limitations period if the plaintiff shows that one or more acts that are part of that same actionable hostile work environment practice happened within three years of when the underlying claim was filed.


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Statute of Limitations: Discrete Discriminatory & Retaliatory Acts

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), what is the statute of limitations for claims based upon discrete discriminatory and retaliatory acts? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

Under WLAD, it is an unfair practice, with very few exceptions, for an employer to refuse to hire any person, to discharge or bar any person from employment, or to discriminate against any person in compensation or in other terms and conditions of employment because of age (40+); sex (including pregnancy); marital statussexual orientation (including gender identity); race; color; creednational originhonorably discharged veteran or military statusHIV/AIDS and hepatitis C status; the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability; and state employee or health care whistleblower status. It is also an unfair practice for an employer to retaliate against an employee because the employee complained about job discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.


THREE YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

A statute of limitations is a law that bars claims after a specified period; a statute establishing a time limit for suing in a civil case. Black's Law Dictionary 1450-51 (8th ed.2004). Typically, "[d]iscrimination claims must be brought within three years under the general three-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions." Antonius v. King County, 153 Wn.2d 256, 261-62, 103 P.3d (2004) (citing RCW 4.16.080(2)). And "where a discrete act of discrimination is alleged, the limitations period runs from the act." Id. at 264. Discrete discriminatory or retaliatory acts include, but are not limited to termination, failure to promote, denial of transfer, refusal to hire, etc. See id. at 264 (citing Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 108-13, 122 S.Ct. 2061, 153 L.Ed.2d 106 (2002)).

NOTE: this statute of limitations period only applies to the statutory legal theories described herein. Filing an employment discrimination claim with an administrative agency such as the Washington State Human Rights Commission or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will also involve administrative time limits that may be significantly shorter than the underlying statutory legal theory. In any event, time is critical for employment discrimination claims; speak to an attorney to learn more.


SPECIAL TREATMENT: HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT

The statute of limitations for acts supporting a hostile work environment claim is calculated differently than for discrete discriminatory and retaliatory acts, because the objectionable practice does not necessarily occur on a particular day. I will address this topic in a separate article.


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

WLAD: Definition of Employment Agency

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | What is the definition of the term “employment agency” under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD)? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).

WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

Under WLAD, it is an unfair practice, with very few exceptions, for an employer to refuse to hire any person, to discharge or bar any person from employment, or to discriminate against any person in compensation or in other terms and conditions of employment because of age (40+); sex (including pregnancy); marital statussexual orientation (including gender identity); race; color; creednational originhonorably discharged veteran or military statusHIV/AIDS and hepatitis C status; the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability; and state employee or health care whistleblower status. It is also an unfair practice for an employer to retaliate against an employee because the employee complained about job discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

DEFINITION OF EMPLOYMENT AGENCY

Chapter 49.60.040(12) RCW is the relevant law, and it defines the term “employment agency” as follows:
"Employment agency" includes any person undertaking with or without compensation to recruit, procure, refer, or place employees for an employer.
RCW 49.60.040(12) (emphasis added) (hyperlinks added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Washington State Human Rights Commission Complaints

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), who may file a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC)? Here’s my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).

WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

Under WLAD, it is an unfair practice, with very few exceptions, for an employer to refuse to hire any person, to discharge or bar any person from employment, or to discriminate against any person in compensation or in other terms and conditions of employment because of age (40+); sex (including pregnancy); marital statussexual orientation (including gender identity); race; color; creednational originhonorably discharged veteran or military statusHIV/AIDS and hepatitis C status; the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability; and state employee or health care whistleblower status. It is also an unfair practice for an employer to retaliate against an employee because the employee complained about job discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

WASHINGTON STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The WSHRC was established by the Washington State Legislature in 1949, and it "is a state agency responsible for administering and enforcing the Washington Law Against Discrimination." WSHRC Official Website, last accessed 4/18/18. One of its powers, inter alia, is the ability "to receive, impartially investigate, and pass upon complaints alleging unfair practices as defined in ... [the WLAD]." RCW 49.60.120(4).

"If the facts as stated in the complaint do not constitute an unfair practice under ... [WLAD], a finding of no reasonable cause may be made without further investigation." RCW 49.60.240(1)(a). However, "[i]f the facts as stated could constitute an unfair practice under ... [WLAD], a full investigation and ascertainment of the facts shall be conducted." Id. And "[i]f the finding is made that there is reasonable cause for believing that an unfair practice has been or is being committed, the commission's staff shall immediately endeavor to eliminate the unfair practice by conference, conciliation, and persuasion." RCW 49.60.240(3).

WHO MAY FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE WSHRC

According to the WLAD, the following may file a complaint with the WSHRC:
(1) Who may file a complaint:
(a) Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged unfair practice may, personally or by his or her attorney, make, sign, and file with the commission a complaint in writing under oath or by declaration. The complaint shall state the name of the person alleged to have committed the unfair practice and the particulars thereof, and contain such other information as may be required by the commission.
(b) Whenever it has reason to believe that any person has been engaged or is engaging in an unfair practice, the commission may issue a complaint.
(c) Any employer or principal whose employees, or agents, or any of them, refuse or threaten to refuse to comply with the provisions of this chapter may file with the commission a written complaint under oath or by declaration asking for assistance by conciliation or other remedial action.
RCW 49.60.230 (emphasis and hyperlinks added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.