Seattle hotel workers have finally achieved victory in their fight to gain new rights despite hotel corporations repeated efforts to block workers. Legal Voice senior attorney Andrew Kashyap provided technical assistance to UNITE HERE! Local 8 throughout this effort, including providing strategy on rulemaking after I-124 originally passed, drafting an amicus brief to the Washington State Supreme Court to support hotel workers arguments, and finally by offering legal support t
We all deserve workplaces that are safe, equitable, and free from discrimination. Legal Voice and our allies have long worked to make that a reality. But one group of workers has often been left behind in these efforts: domestic workers.
That's because people who work in private homes as nannies, home care workers, house cleaners, gardeners, and other jobs have historically been—and continue to be—excluded from basic worker protections such as overtime, workers compensation
Amy didn't give up. After suffering severe physical and psychological abuse from her child's father, Amy did the things we encourage domestic violence victims to do: she fled her abuser, got a protection order, obtained full custody of her child, and moved away to seek safety. But she had difficulty finding safe housing, her son began experiencing serious health problems as a result of the abuse, and her post-traumatic stress disorder became almost unmanageable. She didn't gi
Have you been following the progress being made for sexual assault survivors in Olympia? The Washington Legislature has passed bills that extend the statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes, redefine third-degree rape to be more aligned with affirmative consent standards, and take important steps to eliminating the rape kit backlog. But another bill that will improve the law for survivors is still awaiting its final vote—and it must get this vote by 5:00 tomorrow eve
This morning, the Washington Supreme Court stood up for a second chance for Christal Fields, who was wrongfully denied the opportunity to work in her chosen field because of a 30-year-old conviction. Christal was successfully working in childcare when the Department of Early Learning conducted a background check, found a decades-old conviction for attempted robbery, and swiftly disqualified her from her work. She went from thriving in a profession she loved to being banned fr
No one should be harassed for being who they are. No one. But it happens, in public spaces, every day. People are targeted and harassed for wearing a hijab, for the color of their skin, and because they are transgender or gender non-conforming. They are sexually harassed at work, at restaurants, and even when they seek medical care. That’s exactly what happened to Rev. Christopher Floeting, who sought health care services on a near-weekly basis from a Group Health clinic. Dur
Across Washington State, women are unjustly being denied the right to work and thrive in their chosen fields by the Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS). DSHS bars people with findings of child neglect from working as adult caregivers for 35 years. This may sound reasonable, until you learn about the women fighting this practice. Take Ana, a mother who has a Child Protective Services (CPS) finding of neglect for being charged with driving under the influence with her
The #MeToo movement has created a powerful and needed platform for sexual assault survivors to find their voices and use them to demand change. Through this critical movement, an undeniable spotlight has been cast on workplace sexual violence and the power dynamics that perpetuate it. But this movement hasn’t fully recognized the years-long effort to elevate the voices of low-wage workers—including farmworkers, domestic workers, restaurant workers, office cleaners and hotel w
We're sure you know the (disappointing) facts: the gender wage gap persists, there are countless factors that contribute to it, and the disparity is greater for women of color and mothers. But one fact that is often left out of this conversation is the impact of incarceration on the wage gap. Women, especially women of color, are being incarcerated in record numbers. While there are many barriers a woman faces while she is in prison—having inadequate access to reproductive he
Big news! The Reproductive Parity Act (SB 6219) has officially been signed into law! Today, legislative champions and community advocates gathered in Olympia as Gov. Jay Inslee signed this powerful bill into law. The Reproductive Parity Act (RPA) requires health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods free of cost-sharing requirements and over-the-counter contraceptives without a prescription. The bill goes even further, requiring health plans that cov
Do you have a few minutes to speak out in support of improving workplace protections for survivors? House Bill 2661 strengthens Washington law to ensure survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking cannot be fired, denied employment, or subject to other discrimination at work because they are victims of abuse. The bill also requires employers to make reasonable safety accommodations as requested by the survivor. Here's how you can help: WHO TO CALL: Your senat
No one should be placed in the double bind of needing protection and being punished when they ask for it. But this happened to Amy, a war veteran and domestic violence survivor who had her child taken away when she reached out for help. We're defending Amy's rights to parent her child, and to not be blamed for the abuse committed against her. So today, we filed a lawsuit against Washington State's child welfare system to hold them accountable for wrongfully separating familie
Newsflash: Washington's equal pay laws have not been updated since 1943. Let's let that sink in. Have you joined us in outrage? Good. Now let's do something about it! Both the House and the Senate have the opportunity, right now, to update our equal pay law. But they are being pressured by employers and business lobbyists to weaken this bill by adding language that prevents local jurisdictions—our cities and counties—from creating stronger laws now and in the future. It is cr
You may remember Megan, a campus sexual assault survivor who was wrongfully denied the protection she sought—the protection she needed—from a Washington court. Though her account of the assault was uncontested, the court denied her petition for a sexual assault protection order (SAPO). The reason? She didn't prove she had a reasonable fear of future dangerous acts by the man, even though—like many victims of campus sexual assault—she had to continue to attend school with him.
Washington State just took a groundbreaking step toward equality for transgender and gender non-conforming folks! The state Department of Health issued a new rule that makes it easier for you to change the gender marker on your Washington birth certificate.
Even better, starting on January 27th, Washingtonians will be able to change their gender marker to male, female, or X, which represents a gender that is not exclusively male or female (such as intersex, agender, gender
Great news! The Washington Department of Health has proposed a new rule to make it easier for a person to change the gender listed on their birth certificate. It also creates a gender marker in addition to male or female. If the rule is approved, you could change your gender marker to X, which represents a gender that is not exclusively male or female (such as intersex, agender, genderfluid, genderqueer, Two Spirit, non-binary, and more). Currently, state law requires either
In a time when it feels like we wake every day to a new challenge, we were heartened on Monday to receive a justice-filled reminder that progress is still possible. The Court of Appeals stood with Sandra and survivors across Washington—just in time to help us celebrate the final days of Domestic Violence Awareness Month! Sandra had asked the court for a domestic violence protection order (DVPO) against her husband, Joshua, but she didn't receive a full protection order until
Victims of domestic violence are over five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser has access to a firearm. And even if a gun is never fired, just knowing that an abuser has access to one causes domestic violence survivors to fear harm. That's why the Washington Legislature unanimously passed a 2014 law to prohibit gun possession by abusers who are subject to domestic violence protection orders that meet specific requirements. But tragically, abusers—and
Legal Voice represents a group of health care providers, researchers, clinic staff, and others who are involved in fetal tissue research programs with the University of Washington’s Birth Defects Research Lab. They fear for their safety if their personally identifying information is disclosed in public records requested by anti-choice extremists. As one of our clients explained, "I fear that having my identity and personal information released to the public would lead to hara