Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs For Individuals
Can I still get unemployment compensation benefits if I was fired?
Ironically, it is easier to get such benefits if you have been fired by your employer. In Washington and most places, the employer has the burden of proof to establish that you were fired for misconduct. The law identifies different kinds of misconduct such as dishonesty and insubordination. An employer usually must show an employee deliberately violated a rule or policy or otherwise violated standards of behavior that the employer had a right to expect of you. Most important, your inability to perform your job to an employer’s satisfaction is not disqualifying.
What makes a hostile work environment illegal?
Generally, an abusive boss or coworker who bullies you and cause you significant distress is not acting illegally. For such behavior to create an unlawful hostile work environment, the harasser’s conduct must be caused by or be motivated by the victim’s gender, age, race, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, religion, gender identity or expression, or other status protected by law. A hostile work environment does not have to cause a person to lose pay or to suffer a demotion or other employment action that affects you economically to pursue.
Isn’t an employer required to accommodate a disability that prevents me from doing my regular job?
Although this sounds like a simple question, disability accommodation usually involves a case-by-case analysis and an individualized assessment of an individual’s limitations and restrictions, including whether they are temporary or permanent, and other factors. Most large employers are required at a minimum to assist you in locating a suitable position if your existing job cannot be modified or if other adaptations such as flexible scheduling, are not successful. To be considered reasonable, an accommodation must not pose an undue hardship on the employer, and employers are not required to create a job or displace another person from a job. Many physical and mental health conditions are considered disabilities covered by insurance benefits or workers’ compensation because they significantly limit a person’s ability to work. These conditions are often, but not always, considered a disability that requires accommodation on the job under our civil rights laws.
What does “employment at will” mean and doesn’t an employer have to follow its written policies before firing me?
Employment “at will” means that a job is not guaranteed or permanent in nature. Washington law generally permits employees in non-union private sector jobs to be discharged because of arbitrary or unjust actions. Although there are exceptions for certain conduct, an employer generally does not need to have a good reason or language in many employment handbooks requiring progressive discipline is often not legally enforceable. Similarly, although many think the law requires an employee to give two weeks’ notice, employees are free to quit at any time. Some but not all employers are required to pay your accrued sick leave or other paid time off.
FAQs For Attorneys
What are your rates?
Rates vary from flat fees to hourly depending on the nature of the assignment, the time urgency, and other factors. Discovery and investigation may be charged at a different rate than legal research and briefing. A budget is always discussed and if it significantly underestimates the time needed for the desired work, Patty always consult with an attorney before incurring that expense.
Do you work remotely or at my office?
If there are extensive paper documents to review Patty is available to come to your office, but for research and writing projects, typically, she prefers to work remotely to avoid unnecessary expense.
What kind of legal research tools do you use?
Aside from LexisNexis and Westlaw, today there are many reliable online research tools available to small firms and solo practitioners including Casetext. Casemaker, Google Scholar, and Findlaw. In addition, with electronic filing increasing in federal, state and county trial courts, documents can be retrieved easily and remotely with minimal cost.