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
The Trump Administration is proposing radical policy changes that will make it exponentially more difficult for immigrants to enter the U.S. and become lawful permanent residents if they use public benefits.
This dangerous and discriminatory rule will force immigrant families to choose between meeting basic needs and keeping their families together in this country. This move is part of the Administration's devious plan to further reduce the number of immigrants in the Unit
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
Calling all recent and soon-to-be law school grads! Legal Voice is seeking fellowship proposals for 2019-2021, and the deadline is approaching.
Specifically, we invite proposals that aim to advance the rights of women and LGBTQ workers in low-wage industries such as domestic work, hotel work, restaurant work, and other industries where women and LGBTQ people are disproportionately employed. We have an explicit focus on advancing the rights and economic security of women of
Big news! Hotel workers in Seattle will soon have stronger protections against sexual assault and harassment by guests, a defense against overwork that regularly results in their injury, and increased access to affordable health care!
As you may recall, in 2016, Seattle voters passed the Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative (I-124), which sought to improve protections and working conditions for the city's hardworking hotel workers. Since then, Seattle's Office of L
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
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
Christal Fields wasn't allowed to explain. She was successfully working in child care when the Department of Early Learning conducted a background check and found a decades-old conviction for attempted robbery. For that reason only, the Department denied her the right to continue working in her chosen field. Christal wasn't allowed to explain that the conviction was from nearly 30 years ago when she tried to steal a stranger's purse. She wasn't allowed to explain that, at the
This is huge! Late last night, the Washington State Legislature passed a comprehensive paid family and medical leave law! Starting in 2020, Washington workers will be able to take paid leave for the birth or placement of a new child, to take care of an ill family member, or for their own serious health conditions. Washington is only the 5th state in the nation, plus DC, to pass such a law - and ours is the strongest of its kind! While this law will benefit all workers and the
The Washington State Legislature unanimously passed the Healthy Starts Act! This groundbreaking law will protect pregnant workers' economic security and move Washington closer to ending maternal health disparities. After more than two years of advocacy, we are beyond thrilled that this issue received the bipartisan support it deserved. While it has long been unlawful to discriminate against workers because of pregnancy, unfortunately workers still lose their jobs because thei
Recent research shows that caregiver discrimination lawsuits—including discrimination based on pregnancy, parenthood, and caring for sick family members—have risen nearly 270% in the last ten years. Surprising? Not really. Upsetting? Completely.
Yet on the bright side, people are regularly winning these lawsuits, illustrating the growing recognition of family caregivers in the workforce and how employer policies can support—or harm—their economic security.
Legal Voice has long advocated for all women to have access to the economic security they and their families deserve. Nearly 15 years ago, we helped pass the Washington Family Care Act, which allows a worker who receives paid sick days to use that leave to care for her child, her spouse, or another family member. This was a great victory, except for one detail: there was no law that required employers to provide paid sick leave to workers. And there still isn't one. For years
Today, Legal Voice joined bill sponsors Rep. Jessyn Farrell, Sen. Karen Keiser, and allied organizations to introduce the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which would guarantee that no woman has to choose between a healthy pregnancy and a paycheck. Too often, pregnant women are still forced to take unpaid leave or are fired because of a pregnancy, when slight modifications would enable them to safely continue working. The bills (HB 2307 & SB 6149) would require that empl
On behalf of Washington State organizations that serve and advocate on behalf of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, Legal Voice submitted a letter to Senator Patty Murray in support of the Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act. The SAFE Act would help to reduce the need for survivors to choose between economic security and their safety by creating strong workplace protections, including: Enabling survivors to take up to 30 days off from work
We are disappointed that today, the Washington Supreme Court ruled against a part-time worker who sought unemployment benefits after her job was converted to full-time. Linda Darkenwald was employed as a dental hygienist for 25 years, but had been working only two days each week during the last four years due to a work-related neck and back injury. In July 2010, her employer informed Ms. Darkenwald that she would need to begin working three days per week. Ms. Darkenwald could
Legal Voice, along with the Washington Employment Lawyers’ Association, recently joined Northwest Justice Project’s amicus brief to the Washington Supreme Court in Darkenwald v. State of Washington, an unemployment compensation case involving a disabled part-time worker. Linda Darkenwald was employed as a dental hygienist for 25 years, but had been working only two days each week during the last four years due to a work-related neck and back injury. In July 2010, her employer
Legal Voice joined the National Women’s Law Center and 65 other women’s rights and economic justice groups in signing a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in support of President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. While many federal contractors abide by the law, many others cut corners. According to the White House, every year tens of thousands of workers are denied overtime wages, not hired or paid fairly because of their gender or age, or have th
Today, Legal Voice submitted an amicus brief urging the Washington Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals’ decision in Brooks v. BPM Senior Living Company, a case regarding workplace discrimination and retaliation based on pregnancy and maternity leave. This case presents issues of significant public interest to Washington’s women workers, who frequently are subjected to changes in their working conditions after becoming pregnant or giving birth.
Elizabeth Brooks had