Will these new employment laws affect your business?

Apr 14, 2022
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Written by Washington Retail
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Salary disclosure mandateSB 5761 will require employers with 15 or more employees to disclose the wage scale or salary range and a general description, including all the benefits and other compensation to be offered upon hiring.

Effective January 1, 2023, this new law will replace the current requirement for employers to provide salary information after an initial job offer upon request. These new job posting requirements include all forms of publications—paper or electronic—and apply to recruitment by employers directly or via third parties.

One challenge for employers and human resources professionals is the lack of clarity and definitions of “all the benefits” and “other compensation.” This article offers additional views from both supporters and opponents of this bill.

Nondisclosure policies regarding workplace sexual harassment, assaults, and more, prohibited. Proponents of HB 1795 have nicknamed it the “Silence No More Act” because it puts an end to nondisclosure agreements related to a number of alleged conducts in the workplace or at off-site work-related events.

Work-related events are broadly defined as “work-related” events on or off-site and “coordinated by or through the employer, between employees, or between an employer and an employee.”

The prohibition is retroactive as it will void prior nondisclosure agreements of this nature, except for the disclosure of any settlement amounts paid. Employees protected by this new law include current and former employees, prospective employees, and independent contractors. A minimum $10,000 penalty is attached to each violation, plus reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in any civil suit filed under this law. The effective date of this law is June 8, 2022.

The law will create several new and extraordinary challenges to employers, especially small business owners:

  • These new rights go beyond the current prohibition on nondisclosure for sexual harassment or assaults. The new law gives employees the right to file a civil suit with a very low legal standard, which is whenever an employee “reasonably believed” that the nondisclosure agreement attempted by an employer falls into any of these categories: illegal discrimination, illegal harassment, illegal retaliation, a wage and hour violation, sexual assault, or any acts prohibited by a state, federal or common law.
  • Employers need to know statutes at the state and federal level and all legal precedents due to the inclusion of “common law” in the bill passed.
  • Besides the extraordinary challenges to employers stated above, the “silence no more act” may also silence employers who need to discipline an employee for just cause, but their hands could now be tied even more so.

Attorneys recommend that all employers should review their current nondisclosure agreements to ensure compliance with this new law. For additional information, please review this article.