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Most employment is considered “at will” in Washington. This means you are free to quit your job at any time. And your employer is also free to fire you at any time and for any reason. Indeed, in most cases your employer does not even have to give a reason for terminating your employment.

That said, there are still certain basic protections that all workers have under the law. And if your employer is not following the rules, you have a right to take action and demand fair treatment. A skilled lawyer can help. The team at Emerald Law Group represents Tacoma workers who have been the victims of illegal workplace discrimination, wage and hour violations, and illegal termination. We can help you seek compensation and other damages from an employer who failed to respect your rights.

What Are My Rights as an Employee in Washington?

Despite the general at-will nature of employment in Washington, there are still laws of rules that employers need to understand and follow. Some of the more common employment law issues that we assist clients with include:

  • Discrimination and Harassment. Federal and state law prohibits workplace discrimination based on a number of protected characteristics, such as race, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or marital status. This means an employer cannot base any employment-related decision on such characteristics. Nor can an employer subject you to–or tolerate–workplace harassment based on such traits.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act. Federal law guarantees the right of many employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave to care for a serious medical condition, either their own or that of a close family member. Employers may not interfere with these rights. This includes not taking disciplinary action against an employee who requests leave.
  • Wage and Hour Claims. Washington law sets a minimum wage that employers must pay their employees ($15.74 per hour as of 2023). Similarly, if you qualify for overtime pay, your employer must pay you at least 1.5 times your normal hourly wage. If your employer is paying you less than what you are owed, you have the right to take legal action.
  • Whistleblower Claims . There are a number of federal and state laws designed to protect “whistleblowers,” i.e., employees who report illegal activity by their employers to the appropriate authorities. If your employer has taken any retaliatory action against you for acting as a whistleblower, you may be entitled to compensation and other relief, such as reinstatement to your job.
  • Wrongful Termination. In addition to cases involving discrimination, it is against the law for an employer to fire you for exercising any legally protected right, such as requesting an accommodation for a disability or filing a worker’s compensation claim.

Contact Emerald Law Group Today

Employment law claims are often complicated to investigate and pursue. Many workers are not even fully aware of their rights under the law. That is why it is important to speak with a qualified Tacoma employment lawyer anytime that you have questions or concerns about your treatment at work. Contact Emerald Law Group today to schedule a free confidential consultation.

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