PERC Holds that the Seattle School District Refused to Bargain in Good Faith by Failing to Timely Provide Relevant Information Requested by the Union

 By Christopher Casillas and Jordan L. Jones

JAsIn  Seattle School District, PERC Examiner Ramerman held that the Employer refused to bargain in good faith by failing to timely provide relevant information requested by the International Union of Operating Engineers in violation of RCW 41.56.140(1) and (4). Examiner Ramerman noted that “although the [E]mployer acknowledged the [Union’s information] request two weeks after the request was made, the [E]mployer ‘dropped the ball’ and took no additional action for approximately five weeks from late August 2013 until early October 2013.”

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PERC Dismisses ULP Complaint Filed Against the Port of Anacortes for Unilaterally Changing the Health Insurance Benefits of the Union Because of Business Necessity

By Christopher Casillas and Jordan L. Jones

health_insurance_signIn Port of Anacortes, PERC Examiner Page Garcia dismissed an unfair labor practice (ULP) complaint filed against the Port of Anacortes for unilaterally changing the health insurance benefits of Union members. Examiner Garcia found that although the Port of Anacortes had “failed to maintain the status quo by changing the health insurance benefits offered to bargaining unit employees” and had “presented the change in health insurance benefits as a fait accompli”, the Employer “met its burden of proof to support its defense of business necessity.”

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Washington Supreme Court Reverses Court Of Appeals’ Ruling Granting Summary Judgment To Clark College On An Instructor’s Age Discrimination Claim Under WLAD

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Jordan L. Jones

Age DiscriminationIn Scrivener v. Clark Coll., the Washington Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ ruling granting summary judgment to Clark College on an instructor’s age discrimination claim under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). The Court held that the 55-year-old Plaintiff, who had applied for a tenure-track teaching position at the college, had:

[P]resented sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact either (1) that Clark College’s articulated reason [for not hiring her] was a pretext or (2) that although the reason is legitimate, age was a substantial motivating factor in Clark College’s decision not to hire . . . [the Plaintiff].

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Washington Supreme Court Holds that DSHS Violated the Implied Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing in its Contracts with In-Home Care Providers

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Jordan L. Jones

in-home-health-careIn Rekhter v. Wash. Social & Health Servs. Dep’t, the Washington Supreme Court (WASC) upheld a jury finding that the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS or State) violated the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing in its contracts with in-home care providers (providers). The WASC also held that the trial judge correctly granted summary judgment to DSHS on the providers’ claims that the State (1) wrongfully withheld wages in violation of RCW 49.52.050 and .070 and (2) failed to pay the providers for all hours worked, in violation of the Washington Minimum Wage Act (MWA).

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The Washington Supreme Court Holds That A Trial Court Improperly Granted Summary Judgment and Dismissed Plaintiffs’ Wage Claims

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Jordan L. Jones

minimum-wage_300x300In Becerra Becerra v. Expert Janitorial, LLC, the Washington Supreme Court (WASC) held that a trial court improperly granted summary judgment to Fred Meyer on the issue of “joint employers” and remanded for further proceedings. The WASC stated that “[s]imply put, we find the trial court did not consider all the relevant factors at summary judgment or sufficiently identify why it deemed certain factors to be not relevant.”

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Court Denies Boeing’s Summary Judgment Motion Against Former Employee For FMLA, WFMLA, and WLAD Claims

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Jordan L. Jones 

fmla 2In Alexander v. Boeing Co., the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington denied defendant Boeing’s motion for summary judgment. The court found that there were genuine disputes of material fact regarding the plaintiff’s claims that Boeing violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Washington Family Medical Leave Act (WFMLA), and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) when they terminated her employment.

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PERC Reverses Examiner on Triggering Event for Skimming Allegation

By Chris Casillas and Therese Norton

dominoeA ‘triggering event’ signals important deadlines for filing unfair labor practice complaints or else a party may risk losing the opportunity to file a complaint with the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC). In Lake Washington School District, the Commission found that the Examiner Page A. Garcia erred in dismissing the IBEW Local 46’s skimming complaint as untimely and beyond the statute of limitations. The Commission explained that, in a skimming case, the triggering event for the statute of limitations is when bargaining unit work is assigned to non-bargaining unit employees, and not when the union receives notice of the employer’s intent to transfer the work, as the Examiner had concluded.

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PERC finds Deputy Sheriff’s Association Bargained Regressively on Eve of Interest Arbitration

By Therese Norton

MaliceBoth employer and union can violate their good faith bargaining obligations under the state collective bargaining laws when one party advances proposals prior to interest arbitration that are regressive from proposals made earlier in negotiations. In Spokane County (Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association), PERC Examiner Stephen W. Irvin found, and the Commission affirmed, that the Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association breached its good faith bargaining obligations by submitting a regressive wage proposal after impasse and shortly before the parties’ scheduled interest arbitration hearing.

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Court Issues a Mixed Ruling on Kitsap County Deputy Fire Marshal’s USERRA Claims

By Jordan L. Jones

sad happyIn Hanson v. Cnty. of Kitsap, the court held that a Kitsap County Deputy Fire Marshal’s claims under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) relating to (1) reemployment, (2) benefits, (3) hostile work environment, and (4) constructive discharge should be dismissed under summary judgment. The court also held that the “[p]laintiff’s motion for summary judgment on his USERRA claim under § 4318 (pension) should be granted . . . . [T]he § 4311 USERRA claim and WLAD [i.e., Washington Law Against Discrimination] claim (to the extent they are based on the failure to promote him and his removal from the fire investigation rotation) and his USERRA claim under § 4316 (without cause discharge), is very thin, but is sufficient to allow to proceed on those claims.”

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State Supreme Court Holds Oral Argument on Kitsap Retroactive Insurance Case

By Jim Cline

healthcare costsAs we indicated in an earlier blog, the State Supreme Court has accepted review of the Kitsap County retroactive insurance case.  The issues in the case involve whether an employer can retroactively increase health insurance premiums and whether they may also deduct the amount needed to cover the increased premiums from the employee’s paychecks without employee consent.  Our previous blog provides a detailed review of the legal issues before the Court.

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