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Every day, hardworking employees across Washington State become victims of workplace discrimination, harassment, or have their wages stolen and rights denied.

Employment law violations may often be gradual, it may take time for employees to realize that their employer is breaking the law. Whether it’s a comment about how you look, or a rude joke about your ethnicity or culture. Sometimes it’s blatantly obvious – inappropriate touching or comments said in front of you. Or maybe your paycheck was short with no explanation, or you were asked to work overtime without pay or denied a lunch or break. It’s hurtful, and it leaves you feeling ashamed, confused, angry, anxious, and afraid. And more often than not, employees feel like they can’t say anything, or they’ll lose their job or ruin their career.

Getting harassed or discriminated at work is NEVER ok and having your hard-earned wages or your workers’ rights denied is WRONG and illegal. If you’re experiencing issues at work due to harassment, discrimination, wage issues, or employee rights’ being violated and need help, call the employment lawyers at Emery Reddy.

Most Common Employment Law Violations

Here are the most common employment law violations. Click on the links below to learn more about each one.

Find out if you have a case – call now for a free case review with our legal team

What are my rights as an employee?

Washington employees are protected by several state and Federal laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is one of the Federal bodies that make and regulate the laws that protect workers’ rights. Some of those protections for workers include:

  • Receive equal pay for equal work
  • Receive reasonable accommodations for medical or religious beliefs
  • Not be sexually harassed or discriminated for your race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or genetic information.
  • Medical information shared with your employer will remain confidential
  • Report discrimination or other labor violations without fear of retaliation.

Washington State Labor & Industries protects workers further:

  • Safe & healthy working environments
  • Meal and rest breaks
  • Fair wages, paid regularly
  • Equal pay protections regardless of gender
  • Whistleblower protections

What do I do when my worker rights are being violated?

It can be scary, confusing and upsetting when you’re facing harassment or discrimination at work, been wrongfully terminated or had your paycheck shorted with no explanation. Here are some tips for how to handle workplace discrimination, harassment, or other illegal activities.

Documentation – A case requires evidence, so it’s important to document everything that is happening. Get everything you can in writing and keep copies of it at home (not at work) in a digital format and a hard copy. If you don’t have a way to get it in writing, use a notebook and write down everything that happened. Try and keep emotion out of it; state the facts of what happened, who was involved and nearby, where it took place, and the time and date. If you have co-workers who are willing to provide witness statements, ask them to do the same thing and give it to you. Having some sort of documentation and record is better than nothing! A note about recording: Washington is a two-party consent state, which means you can’t record another person without their permission.

Read your employee handbook – If your employer has an employee manual or handbook, it’s important to read through it and keep a copy of it at home. Not only do employers outline their policies and procedures, but many will also have a process for dealing with workplace issues that is detailed within, like how to report it and to whom. Reading your employee handbook can answer a lot of questions for you and leave you better prepared if you end up needing to consult an attorney.

Contact HR – Most companies require employees to report workplace issues to HR as a first step. Besides hiring new employees and managing benefits, HR reps are trained to help resolve problems at work, from disagreements with coworkers to more serious concerns like harassment or safety violations. Their loyalty lies with the company, however, and if they aren’t taking your claim seriously, it may be time to contact an employment attorney.

Visit the EEOC and L&I websites – The EEOC lists out the Federal laws and regulations that employers must follow. Additionally, while most people think of L&I as the Washington workers’ compensation organization, it also oversees Washington state laws and regulations regarding workers’ rights. Reviewing both of these websites can educate you further on your rights and help you decide if you need to consult with an attorney.

EEOC
L&I

Do I need to hire an employment attorney?

If you tried to work things out with your employer and nothing has been done, then it’s time to consult with an attorney. They can help you determine if you have a case, and what your options are. If needed, they can help you bring the case to court or help you negotiate a deal with your employer instead without ever stepping into a courtroom.

Employment law is complicated and can be overwhelming for anyone not familiar with it. Trying to hold a big company accountable for bad business practices requires a skilled attorney on your side to navigate the different laws and tactics an employer may use.

How do I know if I have a good case?

It’s not always easy to prove whether a client has a case against their employer.

For example, if you complained to your boss about an unsafe working environment multiple times and then were fired, that’s probably a good case. Another example would be whether negative comments about your age or appearance were made by your employer prior to you being placed on an improvement plan. Or maybe you and several of your coworkers got to talking and realized your paychecks weren’t paid out correctly for several months.

When in doubt, call us. Our highly trained legal team will review your information and determine if you have a case, or if you need additional information. They can also help you understand what your rights are and what options are available to you. Having facts and documentation that prove your employer violated your rights is essential.

Why hire Emery Reddy?

Getting harassed or discriminated at work is NEVER ok and having your hard-earned wages or your workers’ rights denied is WRONG. If you’re experiencing issues at work due to harassment, discrimination, wage issues, or employee rights’ being violated and need help, call the employment lawyers at Emery Reddy.

We know how employers think and what tactics they use, and we use that knowledge to help our clients hold employers accountable when they break the law and violate your rights. Here at Emery Reddy, we are passionate about helping workers with employment law issues and protecting workers’ rights. It’s our motto and what drives us every day: We Help Workers.

If you’re struggling with an employment legal issue, please call us and see how the Emery Reddy employment attorneys can help you! Everything you disclose to us when you call is protected by attorney client privilege, it is entirely confidential, and your employer will never be notified that you called us.