Franchisee group calls ruling on Seattle wage law discriminatory

September 28, 2015 0 COMMENTS

Franchisers in Seattle are faced with phasing in the city’s $15-an-hour minimum wage more quickly than they had hoped now that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected their bid to be classified as small businesses, a decision the franchisers call discriminatory.

In 2014, Seattle passed a minimum wage law that requires employers to phase in the new $15 minimum wage over the next few years. Employers with 500 or fewer employees have more time to implement the change than employers with more than 500 workers.

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Seattle’s new minimum wage ordinance takes effect April 1

March 06, 2015 1 COMMENTS

by Valerie Hughes and Aurora Janke

Seattle’s new minimum wage ordinance goes into effect April 1, meaning employers—regardless of size—must pay employees working in the city at least $11 per hour.

Employers with 501 or more employees must pay a “minimum wage” of $11 per hour, while employers with 500 or fewer employees must pay a “minimum compensation” rate of $11 per hour. The definition of “minimum wage” includes wages, commissions, piece-rate pay, and bonuses received by employees. “Minimum compensation” includes wages, tips, and money paid by an employer toward employees’ medical benefits. Thus, small employers are able to count tips and medical benefit payments to help them reach the $11 minimum compensation rate.

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New Washington marijuana law doesn’t require employers to change policies

December 03, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Javier F. Garcia

Washington’s new law concerning recreational marijuana use takes effect December 6, but it doesn’t require changes in employer policies.

Initiative 502 (I-502), approved in the November 6 election, is intended to make the production and sale of marijuana a regulated, state-licensed system similar to that for controlling hard alcohol. It means that adults over 21 no longer will be prosecuted under state law for possessing limited amounts of marijuana and using it in private.

Marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. Therefore, federal contractors and employers receiving federal funding will want to avoid policies that allow consumption of marijuana on the premises to prevent loss of funding and federal prosecution. Also, many employers have drug-free workplace policies and/or collective bargaining agreements that prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs, including marijuana in the workplace.

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Employer Groups Fighting Back Against NLRB

September 19, 2011 2 COMMENTS

Recent actions taken by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have sparked enough anger among employers to prompt a lawsuit, an ad campaign, and support for a bill in Congress that’s seen as a way to curb what one employer group calls a “rogue agency.”

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed a lawsuit on September 10 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop the NLRB from moving forward with a recently approved plan to require most employers — both union and nonunion — to display a new poster outlining worker rights.

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Boeing’s Right to Relocate Some Operations to South Carolina before NLRB

June 13, 2011 1 COMMENTS

Tuesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will begin its unfair labor practice case against Boeing, insisting that the company may not move some of its operations from Washington to South Carolina because the move might somehow violate workers’ rights. The outcome of this case goes well beyond South Carolina, but it is vitally important to the state — in particular, the Charleston area.

The complaint alleges that Boeing’s decision to move some operations to South Carolina was made in retaliation against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) for work stoppages in the past. According to the complaint, the IAM had engaged in strikes against Boeing in 1977, 1989, 1995, 2005, and 2008. The union hasn’t represented Boeing employees in North Charleston since 2009, when employees at the facility voted to decertify it. The complaint asks the NLRB to require Boeing to relocate the production line to the Puget Sound facility.

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Six States Increase Indexed Minimum Wages for 2011

December 27, 2010 0 COMMENTS

As the new year approaches, a number of states will see index-driven increases to their minimum wage rates. Specifically, Arizona, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington will each add around 10 cents per hour to their existing wage rates, based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of a little more than one percent from August 2009 to August 2010. Two other states, Florida and Missouri, have chosen not to adjust their indexed wages.

In Arizona, the state minimum wage will increase from $7.25 to $7.35 per hour and will remain at that rate throughout the next year. Tipped employees’ hourly wages also will increase 10 cents, from $4.25 to $4.35. The new minimum wage must be posted in an area where employees can read the poster, such as the break room.

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Wal-Mart Asks Supreme Court to Review Huge Class Action

August 26, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Nancy Williams

Last April, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the green light to a nationwide sex discrimination class action against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the nation’s largest employer. Unwilling to permit the suit to proceed without a further challenge, Wal-Mart has now petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the class certification issue. The Ninth Circuit’s decision had defined a class of up to 1.5 million women who worked at any Wal-Mart in the last 12 years, making the lawsuit the largest potential class action ever pursued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Wal-Mart’s petition argues that the case raises important questions under Title VII and affects operations at some 3,400 separately managed stores. Permitting the massive suit to proceed on a class basis risks violating the rights not only of Wal-Mart but also potentially of many class members. The company also urges the Court to consider whether class treatment is the appropriate mechanism for an action that focuses primarily on monetary damages and highly individual claims and defenses.

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