Washington Labor Law Blog: Insights on the Law for Washington Employers

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How to Implement Your Social Media Policy

Maria Ogneva from Yammer, an internal social network product for companies, recently wrote an article highlighting several tips on getting employees to buy-into your social media policy.  I especially like her focus on educating, empowering, and teaching employees WIIFM (“What’s In It For Me”) rather than on disciplining them: The best way to ensure buy-in… Continue Reading

Tips for Using Social-Networking Sites to Screen Applicants

Molly DiBianca recently wrote a helpful 3-part series on The Delaware Employment Law Blog regarding tips for employers to follow when using Facebook or other social-networking sites to screen applicants.  Here are a few of her key suggestions: Do not try to gain access to an applicant’s profile directly through tactics such as asking a… Continue Reading

Independent Contractor Issues Continue to Plague “Employers”

The ABA Journal published an article this month by Susan A. Berson concerning increased scrutiny by the IRS and DOL regarding classification of workers as independent contractors. I strongly agree with the recommendations in the article regarding business auditing use of independent contractors: We recommend businesses conduct a comprehensive audit of the written independent contractor… Continue Reading

New Pattern Jury Instructions

The entire chapter on pattern jury instructions for state employment cases was just updated.  Pattern instructions are templates used by lawyers and judges to draft instructions to be read to the jury.  The instructions tell the jury what an employee has to prove for each type of employment claim and, where applicable, employer defenses to… Continue Reading

National Labor Relations Board Expands Definition of Concerted Activity

A company recently implemented a new casual dress rule requiring that shirts be tucked in.  While waiting for a sales meeting to begin, one salesman asked the Vice President of Sales about the new policy.  Another salesman then made several statements to the VP including “It [the rule] is pretty restrictive.  You know, I might… Continue Reading

Final ADAAA Regulations Issued

The EEOC as finally released the new ADAAA regulations to the public.   You can get a copy of the new regulations here.   The regulations will be published in the Federal Register on Friday. We are still analyzing the  regulations, but one significant change from  the proposed rule is  the inclusion of nine rules of construction… Continue Reading

Risks of Misclassifying Independent Contractors

For those participating my National Business Institute presentation on Dealing with Independent Contractors, here are several of the documents I will be discussing: the May 28, 2010 Illinois FedEx Decision holding that drivers are employees under Illinois law the  August 11, 2010 Kansas FedEx Decision holding that drivers are independent contractors under Kansas law the Sample… Continue Reading

Do You Really Need that Employee Policy?

I enjoyed reading the new book Rework, by 37 Signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, which is filled with straight-forward tips for running a successful company.  Regarding employment policies, they say: The second something goes wrong, the natural tendency is to create a policy.  “Someone’s wearing shorts?”  We need a dress code!”  No,… Continue Reading

How to Avoid Misclassifying Independent Contractors

I just finished preparing an upcoming presentation for the National Business Institute on independent contractors.  To determine whether a worker is an independent contractor, the courts and agencies apply a number of complex tests that focus on different factors.  The consequences of misclassifying an employee as an indpendent contractor can be significant including back taxes,… Continue Reading

Protecting Employees from Workplace Violence

The horror in Connecticut today reminds us of how real the danger of workplace violence is.  It was not that long ago that a former employee here in Seattle was convicted of killing two coworkers and wounding two others at a local shipyard. Dennis Schwartz, himself in Connecticut, provides some valuable insights about workplace violence… Continue Reading