Hostile work environment

Hostile Work Environment or Outrage?

Do you believe that you are the victim of a Hostile Work Environment? Maybe the correct legal term is Outrage.

by Chalmers Johnson, employment attorney

The Seattle Times recently reported on a state case involving a claim of “outrage”. A man did not like the fact that his neighbor was giving piano lessons in her home. He filed a complaint to stop her and then sued.  He lost, and paid $30,000 for court costs and her legal fees. In response he parked his big truck outside of her house. He then repeatedly remote-started it, revved the engine and sounded the alarm. This tended to scare off students and interfere with her lessons. The music teacher sued and won. Continue reading

gender employment discrimination

Pronouns and gender employment discrimination

 

by Chalmers Johnson, Employment Attorney

Trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming employees in the workplace

This week, The Seattle Times reported that Merriman-Webster added “they” to the American/English language as a pronoun for a “single person whose gender is nonbinary.” As an employment lawyer, I had to ask myself, “how is this going to affect the workplace?”

My inquiry led me to a chat with my brother, an employee of the City of Portland, Oregon. To him, this issue is an old one. Apparently the City requires its employees to include, a sign-off on their emails, to state a preferred set of pronouns, including they/them, and other employees are required to use that pronoun set when addressing the employee in the third person. 

Trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming employees and the law

Continue reading

gender discrimination

Gender Discrimination: Equal time for Dads

 

Dads should have equal time to bond with their new children, according to a $1.1 million settlement in a gender discrimination lawsuit. Estee Lauder’s parental leave policy gave new moms six weeks paid leave. And yet, it awarded dads only two weeks leave. In addition, dads did not have the same flexible schedule benefits after returning to work. Best of all, Estee Lauder agreed to up to 20 weeks of paid leave for all new parents and six weeks flexible schedule.

Parental leave is a separate benefit from medical leave for childbirth. Although there is no federal law that requires parental leave. Yet, when an employer offers it, they must not discriminate based on gender. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued on behalf of 210 new fathers. Continue reading

You have something in common with Stormy Daniels

Surprised? You both have arbitration agreements. We all agree to arbitration as the means of resolving disagreements dozens of times. Arbitration agreements are standard to most agreements, including all those times you click “yes” before signing for a new app.

arbitration

Photo credit: © Glenn Francis, https://www.PacificProDigital.com

Why should I care?

Most arbitration agreements you sign will have no effect on your life. Arbitration clauses in employment agreements, on the other hand, may cause you problems. Moreover, most financial agreements, including your bank accounts and credit card accounts, have arbitration clauses. Perhaps more ominous is the use of arbitration clauses in nursing homes. The recent growth of the use of arbitration clauses also degrades the quality of American justice.

What’s the problem with arbitration clauses?

Some lawyers refer to arbitration courts as “secret corporate courts” for several reasons.
  • Most arbitration clauses limit you to individual hearings. It puts the brakes on class actions. While they usually result in small individual settlements, they have a much stronger impact on the way businesses operate in the future. Studies show that few people pursue small violations through arbitration. When many small legal violations are combined in a class action lawsuit, the size of the settlement sends a strong message to the business. As a result, businesses are much more likely to abandon unfair and illegal practices.
  • Indeed, in 2014 attorneys general of 14 states sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warning that “unlawful business practices” could flourish with the growth of arbitration clauses.
  • Arbitration essentially shields the wrongdoer from the public exposure that a trial in open court brings, hence the “secret corporate courts” designation. Many times the most potent tool the injured person has is the threat of exposure of the wrongdoer.
  • Arbitration rules favor businesses who can often steer cases to friendly arbitrators.

What can I do about the arbitration clauses in my life?

There are some situations in which you may be able to negotiate and different means of resolving contract issues. In addition, there are a few situations in which you can have your case heard in court. There are not many. If the money amount or the issue is significant, do explore the options with an experienced employment or personal injury attorney. At GSJones Law Group check out Chalmers Johnson and John Groseclose.

A few states are beginning to enact laws that limit the use of these clauses. If you are concerned about the creation of a separate legal system in the U.S. find out if your state has laws to address the issue and talk with your representatives about the issue.

Want to know more? Check out this excellent deep dive into what’s happening with arbitration clauses in the New York Times.

Business law and business formation

Business law

Good business law advice supports your success

Partnering with a business law attorney increases your chances of success. That is true whether you are a new entrepreneur or an established business, a sole proprietor or a corporation,

GSJones Law Group partner, Norman Short, stands ready to put his 25+ years of experience in Washington State business law to work for your business.  Due to his lengthy experience in the formation of business entities Norm offers seasoned advice to businesses. He advises businesses every step of the way through business formation, starting with drafting the first documents and preparing and reviewing business contracts.

Norman Short works with most business structures.

  • Sole proprietors
  • Limited liability companies
  • Cooperatives
  • Corporations
  • S corporations
  • Partnerships

We are flexible to meet your needs. Whether you need a retainer to provide regular advice or contract review on an as-needed basis, we structure our relationship to meet your needs. In addition, Norm often serves as general corporate counsel to local businesses.

Business law experience plus advanced training and experience in tax law

As a tax attorney with an advanced legal degree (LL.M.) in tax law, Norman Short’s business tax knowledge is especially relevant to the needs of most businesses. He also represents clients before the United States Tax Court and the Internal Revenue Service.

Additionally, employment law advice saves your business time, staff and lawsuits

Alongside business legal advice and tax advice, good employee relations is another key to business success. A review of your employee manual, personnel contracts and practices helps you to:

  • retain good employees
  • ensure that you are treating your employees fairly
  • terminate and discipline in a legal manner
  • prevent lawsuits

Labor law attorney, Chalmers Johnson, works with businesses to support good employee relations. And, good employee relations with clear policies contribute much to the success of the business. Put his 20+ years of experience to work for you.

Chalmers Johnson, personal injury attorney, employment lawNorman Short, tax and business law attorneyAttorneys

Chalmers Johnson, employment and labor law

Norman K Short, business law and tax law

 

Call or message for a business law consultation today!

Tax law, business law and employment law appointments available at both our Port Orchard and Bainbridge Island offices.

Based in Port Orchard, WA with a branch on Bainbridge Island, GSJones Law Group, P.S., represents Kitsap County residents, as well as business clients from throughout surrounding counties and communities. Among the communities are Gig Harbor, Bremerton, Silverdale, Seabeck, Belfair, Banner, Olalla, Poulsbo,  Bethel, Navy Yard City, Fernwood, Purdy. Clients also come from Bainbridge Island and Vashon Island, as well as surrounding areas in Mason County, and Jefferson County.