On March 17, 2014, a bill (S1717) was introduced that would prohibit an employer from taking adverse action against an employee because he or she is not working due to a declared state of emergency (by the Governor or municipal emergency management coordinator). It also would prohibit employers from requiring employees to use their accrued paid or unpaid leave for such time. Employers that violate this new law would be subjected to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for the first violation, and up to $10,000 for the second violation; there is no private cause of action for violations. Employees absent due to a state of emergency would need to make every effort to notify their employers about their absence, and would be required to return to work as soon as possible (i.e., no later than the first scheduled shift or hour after the state of emergency is rescinded, accounting for travel time).
In a case of first impression, the Third Circuit held that women who elect to terminate their pregnancies are protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The PDA prohibits discrimination “on the basis of pregnancy, child birth, or related medical conditions.” Relying on the plain language of the statute, its legislative history, and EEOC guidelines, the Third Circuit concluded that the term “related medical conditions” includes abortions.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 20, 2020, that it will relax the in-person verification requirements of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification for employers operating remotely due to COVID-19. Beginning March 20, 2020, employers will not be required to review an employee’s identity and/or employment authorization documents while in the employee’s physical presence.
On January 25, 2016, the Spokane City Council overturned the Spokane mayor’s veto and passed Ordinance C-35300, which provides paid sick and safe leave to employees performing more than 240 hours of work in the city of Spokane in a calendar year. Spokane follows the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, and SeaTac in implementing paid leave ordinances in Washington. The ordinance requires employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours worked starting on January 1, 2017.