Washington State Supreme Court Decides That Damages For Wrongful Denial Of Health Benefits Can Include Deferred Costs And Lost Health And Longevity Of Employees

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

bad money 2In Becker v. Community Health Systems, Inc., Division III of the Washington State Court of Appeals determined that a Chief Financial Officer could sue his former employer for firing him when he refused to submit a false or misleading financial report. Although the Company sought to dismiss the CFO’s lawsuit, the Court decided that the former CFO could pursue a state common law claim for “wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.”

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Washington State Supreme Court Decides that Damages for Wrongful Denial of Health Benefits Can Include Deferred Costs and Lost Health and Longevity of Part-Time Employees

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

BacteriaIn Moore v. Washington State Health Care Authority, the Washington State Supreme Court determined that State employees who were wrongfully denied health care benefits were entitled to the value that the benefits would have cost the State. Although the State argued that it should only be responsible for the out-of-pocket costs that employees paid for healthcare during the time they were denied benefits, the Court determined otherwise. The Court decided that such a method for measuring what the State owed the employees would fail to account for all of the damage that was inflicted on the employees through the denial of benefits.

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Washington Court of Appeals Determines that Civil Service Commission Lacks Authority to Oversee Remedies for Employer Wrongful Conduct

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

pickpocket-illustration-thieving-43027673In City of Medina v. Skinner, the Washington Court of Appeals, Division I, determined that the Civil Service Commission lacks the authority to award back pay for wrongful terminations or suspensions. The City of Medina asked the State Court system for relief from a Commission decision in which the Commission modified the discipline of a Medina Police Lieutenant and specifically awarded him back pay and benefits at a pay scale starting from the time when he would have returned from the modified suspension. The Court determined that the Commission lacked the authority to award back pay and overruled the Commission’s decision, as far as it ordered the City to pay the former Lieutenant.

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PERC Holds that Kitsap County Failed to Bargain in Good Faith After it “Effectively Hamstrung” Employer Representatives with Insufficient Authority at the Bargaining Table

By Chris Casillas and Jordan L. Jones

kitsap hogtiedIn Kitsap County, PERC Examiner Dianne Ramerman held that the Employer “failed to bargain in good faith and committed a ULP in violation of RCW 41.56.140(4) and derivatively interfered with employee rights in violation of RCW 41.56.140(1).” Examiner Ramerman found that Kitsap County’s “representatives at the table [with the Kitsap County Juvenile Detention Officers’ Guild] did not have sufficient authority to engage in meaningful bargaining.” Specifically, Examiner Ramerman found that Kitsap County’s representatives at the table were:

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PERC Holds that Pierce County Did Not Discriminate Against a Sergeant for his Union Activity and Dismissed an Interference Claim for Being Untimely Filed

By Chris Casillas and Jordan L. Jones

wolf_in_sheeps_clothing_drawingIn Pierce County, PERC Examiner Lisa A. Hartrich held that the Employer did not commit an unfair labor practice (ULP). Examiner Hartrich stated that the Union did not make a prima facie case for their discrimination claim and that the interference allegations were untimely filed.

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PERC Holds that Spokane County Did Not Interfere With Employee Rights Nor Dominate or Assist the Union in Violation of RCW 41.56.140(1) and (2)

By Chris Casillas and Jordan L. Jones

threatIn Spokane County, PERC Examiner Dianne Ramerman held that Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich did not interfere nor dominate or assist the Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association when he sent an e-mail to the Union.

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PERC Holds that the Port of Anacortes Did Not Unilaterally Change a Past Practice Nor Discriminate Against an Employee When It Discontinued His Light Duty Assignment

By Chris Casillas and Jordan L. Jones

gg58789833In Port of Anacortes, PERC Examiner Jamie L. Siegel held that the Port did not unilaterally change a past practice when it ended maintenance mechanic David Bost’s light duty assignment. Examiner Siegel also found that the Port did not discriminate against Mr. Bost for union activity when it ended his light duty assignment.

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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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