A standard provision in employment contracts for some time has been an “Arbitration Clause.” This clause sweeps almost all employment disputes into private arbitration.
New to Washington State from 2018 is RCW 49.44.085, which prohibits Arbitration Clauses in certain employment related claims (discrimination, harassment, etc.). Though this law will likely be tested against current Federal standards, it is currently the law of the land in Washington State.
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For our employer clients, we encourage using the beginning of each year to take stock of employee procedures. Perhaps the changing law (or maybe an over the top holiday party) has prompted a decision to update polices and procedures. In either event–we’re happy to help!