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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 v. Public Utility District No. 1 of Kittitas County, 189 Wn.2d 516, 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 v. Public Utility District No. 1 of Kittitas County, 189 Wn.2d 516, 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.

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

Title VII Definition of Employee

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, what is the definition of the term “employee”? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).

DEFINITION OF EMPLOYER

The relevant law is found under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and it defines the term “employee” as follows:
...
(f) The term “employee” means an individual employed by an employer, except that the term “employee” shall not include any person elected to public office in any State or political subdivision of any State by the qualified voters thereof, or any person chosen by such officer to be on such officer’s personal staff, or an appointee on the policy making level or an immediate adviser with respect to the exercise of the constitutional or legal powers of the office. The exemption set forth in the preceding sentence shall not include employees subject to the civil service laws of a State government, governmental agency or political subdivision. With respect to employment in a foreign country, such term includes an individual who is a citizen of the United States...
42 U.S.C. § 2000e (emphasis and hyperlinks added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced 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.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Title VII Definition: Because of Sex or Basis of Sex

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, what is the definition of the term “because of sex” or "basis of sex"? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).

DEFINITION OF "BECAUSE OF SEX" (OR "BASIS OF SEX")

The relevant law is found under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and it defines the term because of sex” or "basis of sex" as follows:
...
(k) The terms “because of sex” or “on the basis of sex” include, but are not limited to, because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work, and nothing in section 2000e–2(h) of this title shall be interpreted to permit otherwise. This subsection shall not require an employer to pay for health insurance benefits for abortion, except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term, or except where medical complications have arisen from an abortion: Provided, That nothing herein shall preclude an employer from providing abortion benefits or otherwise affect bargaining agreements in regard to abortion.
...
42 U.S.C. § 2000e (emphasis and hyperlinks added).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced 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.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Overcoming Stare Decisis In WA State

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Washington State laws, how may a party overcome the doctrine of stare decisis? Here’s my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


STARE DECISIS

The doctrine of stare decisis "promotes the evenhanded, predictable, and consistent development of legal principles, fosters reliance on judicial decisions, and contributes to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process." State v. Johnson, 188 Wn.2d 742, 756, 399 P.3d 507 (2017) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). It is a "doctrine developed by courts to accomplish the requisite element of stability in court-made law, but is not an absolute impediment to change." State v. Otton, 185 Wn.2d 673, 678, 374 P.3d 1108 (2016) (citing In re Rights to Waters of Stranger Creek, 77 Wn.2d 649, 653, 466 P.2d 508 (1970)) (internal quotation marks omitted).

The court will typically consider a party's request for it to reject its prior decision when it's based upon either one or both of the following two approaches: (1) clear showing; and (2) intervening authority. See State v. Otton, 185 Wn.2d at 678 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

1. THE CLEAR SHOWING APPROACH

The clear-showing approach is far more common than the intervening-authority approach, and it requires the requesting party to clearly show the following: 
1. that the established rule is incorrect; and
2. that the established rule is harmful.
See id. (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).

2. THE INTERVENING AUTHORITY APPROACH

The intervening-authority approach is relatively rare. The requesting party essentially asks the court to "eschew prior precedent in deference to intervening authority where the legal underpinnings of ... [the court's] precedent have changed or disappeared altogether." See id. (citing W.G. Clark Constr. Co. v. P. Nw. Reg'l Council of Carpenters, 180 Wn.2d 54, 66, 322 P.3d 1207 (2014) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).


FRAMING THE ISSUE

When a party asks the Washington State Supreme Court to reject its prior decision, "it is an invitation ... [it] ... [does] not take lightly." Id. (citing State v. Barber, 170 Wn.2d 854, 863, 248 P.3d 494 (2011)) (internal quotation marks omitted). According to the court, the issue is framed as follows:
The question is not whether we would make the same decision if the issue presented were a matter of first impression. Instead, the question is whether the prior decision is so problematic that it must be rejected, despite the many benefits of adhering to precedent--" 'promot[ing] the evenhanded, predictable, and consistent development of legal principles, foster[ing] reliance on judicial decisions, and contribut[ing] to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process.'"
State v. Otton, 185 Wn.2d at 678 (citing Keene v. Edie, 131 Wn.2d 822, 831, 935 P.2d 588 (1997)) (internal citation omitted) (alteration to original).


LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State 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.

Actual & Compensatory Damages Are Synonymous Under WLAD

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), are actual damages synonymous with compensatory damagesHere’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.

WLAD REMEDIES FOR UNFAIR PRACTICES

WLAD expressly provides for remedies for unfair practices as follows:
Any person deeming himself or herself injured by any act in violation of this chapter shall have a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin further violations, or to recover the actual damages sustained by the person, or both, together with the cost of suit including reasonable attorneys' fees or any other appropriate remedy authorized by this chapter or the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964....
Martini v. The Boeing Company, 137 Wn.2d 357, 366-67 (Wash. 1999) (citing RCW 49.60.030(2)) (emphasis and hyperlinks added).

ACTUAL DAMAGES ARE SYNONYMOUS WITH COMPENSATORY DAMAGES

Under WLAD, "'actual damages' are synonymous with compensatory damages." Id. (citing Black's Law Dictionary 35 (6th ed.1990) (hyperlinks added). "As the dictionary definition notes, Washington courts have interpreted the term 'actual damages' in this manner." Id. at 367-68 (internal citations omitted) (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.

Friday, April 13, 2018

WLAD & The Constructive Discharge Provision

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), is there a provision for constructive discharge? 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 CONSTRUCTIVE DISCHARGE

Generally, a constructive discharge occurs "where an employer forces an employee to quit by making that employee's work conditions intolerable." Martini v. The Boeing Company, 137 Wn.2d 357 (Wash. 1999) at fn. 3 (citing Barrett v. Weyerhaeuser Co. Severance Pay Plan, 40 Wash.App. 630, 631, 700 P.2d 338 (1985)). "The doctrine of constructive discharge has been described by this court as requiring 'a deliberate act of the employer creating the intolerable condition, without regard to the employer's mental state as to the resulting consequence." Martini, 137 Wn.2d at 366 (citing Bulaich, v. AT & T Info. Sys., 113 Wash.2d 254, 261, 778 P.2d 1031 (1989)) (hyperlink added). Take our Constructive Discharge Test:



THE CONSTRUCTIVE DISCHARGE PROVISION

RCW 49.60.180(2) is a subsection of WLAD that deals with discharge of an employee. It "has been interpreted to include a prohibition against constructive discharge." Martini, 137 Wn.2d at 366 (citing Bulaich v. AT & T Info. Sys., 113 Wash.2d 254, 259, 778 P.2d 1031 (1989)) (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.