• WA First To Honor Vets With Private Sector Employment Preference
    Yesterday, Gov. Gregoire signed HB 1432 into law.

    HB1432/SB5841 is modeled on the same laws that permit Federal and state agencies to prefer veterans in employment.  However, it allows – but does not require – private employers to give employment preferences to military veterans and certain spouses and widows, without running afoul of Title VII, or state or local equal employment opportunity laws.

    Passage of this bill is obviously a great boon for the many veterans in our state, but it also creates a legal shield for employers, who wish to take advantage of Work Opportunity Tax Credits by hiring qualifying veterans or who simply want to honor veterans with employment opportunities.

    Washington State Representative Jay Rodne championed the legislation for the State of Washington on Jan 21, 2011 and engaged a bi-partisan group of Washington State legislators to support him in his efforts.

    The veterans’ employment preference legislation is an initiative of Hire America’s Heroes with the support of the Washington State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management, the Association of Washington Business, the Washington Lodging Association, the Washington Retail Association, Washington Veterans’ Legislative Coalition, Washington Military Department, Helmets to Hardhats, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Boeing, Allied Waste, a Republic Services Company, and Setracon, Inc.

    The bill becomes effective in 90 days — July 19, 2011.

  • GINA Notice on ALL Med Info Requests

    Although the proposed rule said that the acquisition of genetic information as the result of an inquiry about an individual’s current health status would be considered inadvertent if the request was lawful, the Final Rulesays that when an employer makes a request for health-related information (e.g., to support an employee’s request for reasonable accommodation under the ADA or a request for sick leave), it should warn the employee and/or health care provider from whom it requested the information not to provide genetic information. The warning may be in writing or oral (if the employer typically does not make such requests in writing).


    “The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers and other entities covered by GINA Title II from requesting or requiring genetic information of an individual or family member of the individual, except as specifically allowed by this law. To comply with this law, we are asking that you not provide any genetic information when responding to this request for medical information. “Genetic information,” as defined by GINA, includes an individual’s family medical history, the results of an individual’s or family member’s genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual’s family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or an individual’s family member or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving assistive reproductive services.”

    For more, see Q&A here

  • New WA Health-care Worker Safety Law

    April 13, 2011                                  

    Governor signs bill giving health-care workers more protection on the job

    TUMWATER – One of the long-standing ironies in the health industry has been that the chemotherapy drugs that cancer patients and others depend upon for treatment can harm the medical providers caring for them.

    Today, Washington became the first state in the nation to require protection for these health-care workers when Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law Senate Bill 5594, a bill that directs the Department of Labor & Industries to adopt requirements for the handling of chemotherapy and other hazardous drugs.

    “There is strong and convincing evidence that these drugs pose a significant risk to health-care workers,” said Dr. Michael Silverstein, assistant director, L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “This legislation ensures workers who provide lifesaving treatment for others aren’t placed at risk themselves.”

    Much of the credit for the new protections is due to state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who recognized the hazard workers face in providing chemotherapy treatment and, in championing this bill, found a way to address the problem.

    The same properties that enable chemotherapy drugs to kill cancer cells can also damage normal cells in healthy workers. Without precautions being taken, such as proper ventilation or protective equipment, the preparation, administration, even the disposal of these drugs exposes hundreds of thousands of workers to potentially harmful levels of the chemicals involved.

    Some of these drugs have been known to cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, allergic reactions, and other harmful effects that can be irreversible even after low-level exposures. Both theOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggest precautions when handling these hazardous drugs, but Washington will be the first state in the nation that says health-care employers must take these precautions.

    The bill requires L&I to adopt rules consistent with NIOSH provisions adopted in its 2004 alert on preventing exposures to these drugs, and the 2010 update of that same alert. L&I will now establish a stakeholder group and develop this rule.

  • Medical Marijuana Seattle PI Article
    Fellow SHRM Members,

    Here is the link to an interesting article regarding the Medical Marijuana Law impending in our government & yesterday’s Legislative activity as reported out by the Seattle PI. 


    Nichol Graham-Mathers

    LWHRA Legislative Director

  • US HR 4 / 1099s
    As early as today, President Obama is expected to sign into law a bill that repeals a new business reporting requirement involving IRS Form 1099. The objectionable provision had been created by the March 2010 health care reform law. It is the first substantive change to the health reform law – additional efforts to modify the law will be difficult in the current environment.
    In passing the bill (H.R. 4), Congress eliminated a measure that . . .  click here for more
  • Permissive Veterans’ Employment Preference to Become Law

    HB 1432: AN ACT Relating to veterans’ relief by permitting private employers to exercise a voluntary veterans’ preference in employment — passed the Senate today by unanimous vote (49-0-0-0).  Many thanks to all who contributed to the legislative effort that was supported by WSC and AWB!!!

    A special thanks to Rep. Jay Rodne (5th – North Bend) — one of the most brilliant and hard-working legislators in either Washington — for sponsoring the legislation and working tirelessly for its accomplishment.

    Bill Info Here

  • ALJ Attacks Nonunion Employer with Individual Arbitration Agreements

    Most sophisticated nonunion employers have mandatory arbitration for employment disputes due to the extreme cost savings, privacy and speed of resolution.

    Earlier this year, an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that a nonunion employer, D.R. Horton, violated Sections 8(a)(1) and 8 (a)(4) of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) by maintaining mandatory individual arbitration agreements that did not specifically inform employees of their right to file NLRB charge despite the agreement.

    See full opinion here.


    1. To not have a mandatory arbitration agreement is to flirt with folly.
    2. Make sure you update yours to inform employees that despite the agreement, they have the express right to file administrative charges with the NLRB.

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