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Washington Employment Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Washington on
Q: If a company sends you a letter offering employment and you sign and accept is it legally binding?

The letter offers the position and the start date. I signed it and sent back to my HR department. Now they are pushing the start date back and saying first letter is not valid. In the letter there is no mention of changing hiring dates.

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Dec 1, 2020

Unfortunately, an offer letter is not a contract, meaning it is not legally binding. While it is inconvenient for you, your employer is permitted to push your start date back and issue a new letter with updated terms.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Tax Law for Washington on
Q: I am taking severance pay. They are classifying as a gift and taking 35-40%in taxes. Is there a way to make it pay?

My position is being eliminated. I'm taking severance pay. Want to get it as pay not a gift with huge taxes taken. Can that be done?

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 17, 2020

This seems strange. In a business context and where services are involved, it seems unlikely that any payment can be considered a gift. This sounds like taxable income to me. Regardless of how the employer treats it, you still have the responsibility to report all of your taxable income and if... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Washington on
Q: Can my employer have a work week of Sunday thru Saturday and a pay period of the 1st thru the 15th and the 16th - end?

Can they chop up my wks on time card to get out of paying me overtime?

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on Oct 26, 2020

Hi the employer can use whatever period it wants for the workweek and pay period. If you work more than 40 hours in that workweek, you should be paid overtime.

1 Answer | Asked in DUI / DWI, Employment Law, Personal Injury and Workers' Compensation for Washington on
Q: How do I know that I need a lawyer?

I live in Kirkland, WA and am not currently employed.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Oct 4, 2020

A Washington attorney could advise best, but your post remains open for four weeks. From the brief description, it isn't clear what the matter involves, as it is posted across several categories. For starters, if you were injured (you posted under Personal Injury), you could reach out to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Employment Law for Washington on
Q: What does executed confidentiality and invention assignment agreement mean?

I received a termination email saying I executed confidentiality and invention assignment agreement from amazon.

What does this even mean? All I do is work and come home so I'm not this makes sense to me

Floyd Edwin Ivey
Floyd Edwin Ivey answered on Oct 1, 2020

Termination Email sounds like termination from employment from Amazon. If you work or worked for Amazon then their terms of employment likely required you to retain in confidence and to assign any inventions you created to Amazon.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Employment Law and Personal Injury for Washington on
Q: I'm physically disabled and paid friend to work for me and they didn't and left me in a very dangerous situation what do
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Aug 2, 2020

A Washington attorney could advise best but your question remains open for two weeks. Although you posted this under personal injury, it could be a more complex and fact-intensive setting than generic auto accident or slip and fall personal injury cases. If you contact an attorney, one of the first... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Washington on
Q: I believe I've been the victim of workplace discrimination and wrongful termination of employment

I am transgender, and stated that I am transitioning and would like to use my preferred name. They said they couldn't because their system would mess up when clocking in, despite using a numerical entry clock in. Furthermore, I was terminated the next day on the basis of I stated that I hoped... Read more »

Carrie Dyer
Carrie Dyer answered on Jul 1, 2020

It sounds like you may have a claim for discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII. Additionally, if your employer was aware of your arthritis and your request for an accommodation, and failed to offer you a reasonable accommodation for your condition, you may have a claim under... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Workers' Compensation and Employment Discrimination for Washington on
Q: Should I file EEOC and sue?

My employer cut my hours and days due to my "negative energy" aka my depression. It has never affected me with my clients but my coworkers were "concerned" and told my manager who the district leader told her to cut my hours without talking to me before doing so.

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on Jun 10, 2020

I would recommend reaching out to an employment attorney in your state for a consultation. Your depression may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, so an adverse employment action (pay cut, termination, etc.) taken on the basis of your depression may be unlawful.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Washington on
Q: I have been terminated from my employment due to company restructuring. What happens if I sign a separation agreement?

My employer restructured the business and eliminated my position. The separation agreement states in order to be paid out my severance and vacation, I must agree not retaliate or seek legal action against the company. I am an older employee with a 23 year work history. If I refuse to sign, can they... Read more »

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on Jun 10, 2020

Yes. The employee handbook is not a binding contract. I would recommend reaching out to an employment attorney in your state for a consultation and/or severance review. During the meeting, you can discuss the circumstances surrounding the position elimination, whether or not you have any legal... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Personal Injury and Education Law for Washington on
Q: I used to be a mascot in college and got a skin disease from it that has now lasted years. Is there Anything I can do?

The school was in Washington state and I was paid for being the mascot. I told them about it and had to stop working after I got a child’s skin infection from the suit.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on May 8, 2020

A Washington attorney could advise best, but your post remains open for two weeks. Unfortunately, this looks like it would be a tough case. When you say "years," that raises concerns about statute of limitations issues. That aside, if other mascots did not suffer similar reactions to the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Appeals / Appellate Law and Employment Law for Washington on
Q: My unemployment claim is under investigation for fraud. If I am denied benefits, can I file an appeal and if so, should

I furloughed because of covid 19 and applied for unemployment benefits (in Washington D.C). My claim was not being processed, so I called their office and the representative I spoke with said that I was under investigation for fraud because I did not list myself as having a job in Maryland.... Read more »

Charles William Michaels
Charles William Michaels answered on May 5, 2020

I sounds like that you should be prepared to file an appeal. There are very good lawyers in Washington DC who handle appeals on unemployment benefits. Talk to any one of them, before the 21 days is up.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Washington on
Q: employer goes into time clock & deducts 30 minutes from everyday I work knowing I work through my lunch
Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on Apr 8, 2020

Do you work 40 hours per week otherwise? I would reach out to an employment lawyer in your state for a consultation. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires you be paid for time worked, and if you are not able to take an uninterrupted lunch because you are working, you may have a claim.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Washington on
Q: I feel discriminated against, my co-worker misses 50% of her scheduled shifts, she does not get reprimanded, I miss 1 dy

I miss 1 day and get written up and threatened to be fired. There is more to the story, but this one was brought to my attention 1 month after the fact. Can this be considered discrimination?

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Mar 18, 2020

Whether you have a claim for discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will depend on WHY you feel you're being discriminated against. If you are being treated differently than other employees based on your race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age (if you're... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Washington on
Q: I havent been accumulating pto and instead they've just been adding the 1 hour of pto pay to my check.
Greg Mansell
Greg Mansell answered on Mar 4, 2020

Have you informed Human Resources or the payroll department? It sounds to me like this is a mistake, especially if there is a set PTO policy. I would contact your HR/payroll immediately so the amount they are paying you on your paycheck for the PTO does not get to a level you cannot pay back.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Washington on
Q: Can a employer require you to on site for a specified time but only pay when are doing a specified task?

As a ski instructor I am required to be on site for the day but am only paid for the time I have a class.. Possible to be there all day and not get a class and receive no wage.... No pay at all for time between classes... Is this legal?

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Jan 22, 2020

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees must be paid for all time spent performing compensable work. This includes "on-call" time, where employees are not actively performing work for the employer but where their freedom to perform other activities is restrained. If you are required... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Employment Law for Washington on
Q: Can a company pursue whoever they want to reimburse them for relocation allowance?

I’m leaving my current company who relocated me to Seattle. Like many of my coworkers we signed a contract for relocation money. Some people have quit or been terminated and haven’t been pursued for the money but they are coming after me. Can the company pick and choose who they go after?

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on Dec 13, 2019

Generally speaking, yes they can. You may want to consider reaching out to an employment law attorney in your state for a consultation.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Washington on
Q: Is this illegal and do you think I would stand a chance if I took it to court???

So my situation is this. I applied for this front desk job at this local hotel a couple weeks ago and in the interview I disclosed my severe anxiety disorder to them. (I have also been diagnosed by a doctor) and they still hired me. I worked for a little over a week and the job was making me have... Read more »

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on Dec 13, 2019

Your severe anxiety disorder likely qualifies as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It sounds like, because your anxiety was causing panic attacks at the front desk, you requested a reasonable accommodation of being placed in a housekeeping position. Your termination... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Tax Law, Workers' Compensation and Business Law for Washington on
Q: Can I sue for getting paid under the table?
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Oct 5, 2019

It would depend on what the basis of the lawsuit was, but an attorney in each of the categories you list could probably advise you on the downside of working off the books. Maybe one of the most pressing issues is workers' comp coverage for an on-the-job injury. Good luck

Tim Akpinar

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Tax Law for Washington on
Q: Is it normal for your total amount on withholdings on your w2 not match your total amount on your last pay check

Should your w2 info match info on your last pay stub

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Apr 8, 2019

Many companies use two separate programs when creating paychecks and W-2 forms; and this is especially true in companies that use third party payroll companies and third party CPAs to prepare 1099s and W-2s. In most cases the difference is too tiny to be concerned about. When choosing which one to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Employment Law for Washington on
Q: Is it illegal for a boss to have his family/friends on company payroll even if they don't work for the company?

Mr. Y, is a religious man and head of a seafood company branch owned by the church he attends. 5 years ago, he hired his friend, Reverend K, who "quit" the company after 6 months. Recently, upper management received an e-mail they were not suppose to get. It was HR asking Mr. Y who half... Read more »

Brent Bowden
Brent Bowden answered on Sep 12, 2018

It could be argued that he was sealing money and committing fraud, especially if he turned in timesheets/employment applications/etc that contained false information.

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