Washington is home to many widely respected and successful tech, manufacturing, and service companies; however, employment-related disputes are not uncommon. The best way to protect your business from potential litigation is to consult an experienced employment law attorney who can help to ensure you are in compliance with applicable state and federal employment laws.
At Human Alchemy, PLLC, we understand the challenges facing businesses in the contemporary employment landscape. Founding attorney Leah Eccles Watson, in her capacity as a management consultant, provides comprehensive legal services on a wide range of employment law matters. As a former court-appointed mediator, Leah provides advice and guidance to employers who prefer to mediate disputes.
How Our Employment Compliance Attorney Can Help
Our practice is dedicated to helping our clients understand their legal obligations and advising them on how to take proactive measures that can help to avoid litigation and administrative action. Although employment-related disputes cannot always be avoided, our employment law attorneys can assist by:
- Clarifying legal requirements applicable to your business
- Preparing various employment agreements (e.g. employment, confidentiality, non-compete, and severance agreements)
- Ensuring that anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies are up-to-date
- Assisting with designing employee handbooks to establish company policies and regulations
- Creating employee training programs
Our legal team can help to protect your interests by making certain that contracts, agreements, and employee handbooks are accurate and current, and representing you in any employment negotiations, as well as in administrative proceedings before the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Washington State Human Rights Commission (HRC).
We have extensive experience handling a wide variety of employment-related disputes, including discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination.
In Washington, it is unlawful to discriminate against employees and job applicants on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age (40 and over), disability, and pregnancy. At Human Alchemy, we can help to advise you of your obligations under a number of applicable federal laws, including:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
Additionally, we are well-versed in the provisions of the Washington State Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), which prohibits discrimination based on a more comprehensive set of protected characteristics that includes marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
In sum, state and federal laws prohibit discrimination with respect to any employment decision (e.g. hiring, firing, promoting, demoting, compensating) or any other terms and conditions of employment. If your business is facing an employment discrimination claim, we will provide you with powerful representation and work to protect your reputation in the marketplace. At the same time, we can help design effective policies to prevent future employment discrimination lawsuits.
As an employer, you have an obligation to ensure that your work environment is free from sexual harassment, which is a form of unlawful sex discrimination under local, state and federal law. Generally, there are two forms of harassment — quid pro quo or “this for that” and hostile work environment.
Quid pro quo discrimination involves a person in a position of authority over the victim (1) demanding sexual favors in return for an employment benefit or (2) retaliating against an employee who refuses a sexual advance by taking an adverse employment action (e.g. termination, demotion, reassignment, pay cut).
By contrast, a hostile work environment arises when an employee is subjected to a pattern of unwanted sexual conduct, comments or visual displays by anyone in the workplace. This includes supervisors and coworkers as well as vendors, clients or customers. It is important to note that a hostile work environment may also be related to nonsexual harassment. This form of harassment involves offensive conduct or comments that are intended to intimidate an employee based on any legally protected characteristics such as race, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation.
Given the greater awareness of workplace harassment due in part to the efforts of the #MeToo movement, it is imperative for employers to establish policies that prohibit such conduct as well as to implement procedures for handling sexual harassment complaints. By failing to do so, you place your business a risk for a civil lawsuit which can have lasting financial repercussions and also result in reputational harm.
The best decision you can make to protect your business is to consult Human Alchemy, PLLC. We have extensive experience helping businesses establish training programs to ensure that employees across all levels of the organization understand their responsibilities under applicable anti-harassment laws.
Because Washington is “at-will” state for employment purposes, an employment relationship can be terminated at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. On the other hand, it is unlawful to terminate an employee for a discriminatory reason or for complaining about illegal, fraudulent or unethical conduct (whistleblowing). In this situation, your business can be held liable in a wrongful termination lawsuit based on retaliation. Our employment law attorneys routinely work with employers in preparing severance agreements that can help to mitigate the risk of litigation.
Contact Our Vancouver Employment Compliance Attorney
At Human Alchemy, PLLC, we believe that it is in the best interest of any business to foster a positive work environment. Doing so is not only beneficial for employees, but it is also good for business since it will enable you to continue attracting highly skilled workers. By having clearly defined employment policies that protect you and your workforce, you can protect your business from civil lawsuits and enhance your reputation in the marketplace. From our offices conveniently located in Vancouver and Portland, we represent clients throughout the states of Washington and Oregon. To ensure your business is in compliance with applicable employment laws, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Human Alchemy, PLLC helps employers located throughout the states of Washington and Oregon with their compliance of state and federal employment laws.