Archive for washington law

New Washington Law Initiates Job Posting Requirements

Beginning January 1, 2023, employers in Washington with 15 or more employees will be required to disclose the wage scale, salary range, and a general description of benefits and compensation offered when posting job openings. This new law was signed on March 30, 2022, and is a revision of a 2019 amendment to the Washington Equal Pay and Opportunities Act which required employers to disclose the wage scale and salary range only if requested by an applicant. The applicant’s request is no longer needed under the new law. The information is automatically provided as part of the application process.

The 2019 amendment is not changed by the new law when transfers and promotions of current employees are transacted. The employer only provides the required compensation information when the current employee makes the request. A portion of the 2019 amendment was removed by the legislature that stated that if there was no wage scale or salary range, the employer is only required to give a minimum wage or salary expectation before posting the position or making the internal transfer or promotion.

Creating job postings is not what the new law requires employers to do. The posting obligations are imposed on those that the employer chooses to create. Posting, according to the law, is defined as “any solicitation intended to recruit job applicants for a specific available position…” This is either through the employer or a third party, whether electronic or hard copy. Based on the definition of posting, a Help Wanted sign will not trigger a posting requirement. The law does not make it clear whether employers will be liable for any noncompliance by third-party posting boards. This includes third-party internet search engines.

New positions or promotions that will trigger the posting obligations are not defined by the law. If an aggressive approach is followed by Washington, a new position can be created by changing an employee’s job title. Employers who are considering reorganization or restructuring can avoid uncertainties by implementing these changes before January 1, 2023. General descriptions are required by the new law that includes benefits and compensation. Violation of the new law may result in the same consequences as any other violation of the Washington Equal Pay and Opportunities Act.

Navigating Forest Trail Politics

Battles over land use are not new in the American West.  Indeed, not counting the obvious examples documented between pioneers and Native Americans, at various times, our western heritage has witnessed conflicts exploding between all manners of groups.

Cattle barons and sheep ranchers fought over foraging areas, gold miners and farmers disputed water allocations between their two respective industries, and loggers and fishermen battled over erosion conditions in forest streams as each group attempted to dominate the environment in a seeming zero-sum game that could only see one victor to cite just a few.

Seemingly, the echoes of those battles continue to this day in the recreational realm as a new contest of wills has shaped up in the Evergreen State over who should have access to the off-road trails of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Washington Lawsuit Halts Forest Service Off-Road Plan

wa-at-vlawThe United States Forest Department’s decision to open up six routes available to wheeled ATVs (WATV), has sparked a lawsuit aimed at baring street-ready, all-terrain vehicles from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Under Washington law, WATVs are ATVs modified and designed to be street legal.  As such, these vehicles are equipped with state issued license plates, and drivers must conform to all licensing requirements while complying with all applicable road rules.

The move, which would have opened up 350-miles of forest roads to WATV use, is opposed by an array of environmental groups including the Alpine Lakes Protection Society, Sierra Club, and the Kittitas Audubon Society.  Their suit alleges that the federal forest department violated not only the National Environmental Policy Act, but they also bypassed their own Travel Management Rule before more a proper, comprehensive, public process has occurred.

Potential Impact of Increased Trail Usage

watv-routesThe forest service action is designed to link new WATV routes to existing ATV trail usage, which has the potential of dramatically increasing traffic that has the real possibility of degrading the quality of existing habitat through overuse, and impairing the other recreational uses of other outdoor enthusiasts.

While forest officials claim that the proposed routes honors the forestry service’s goal of providing public access to as wide a group of people as possible.  For their part, the early opening of the park routes without proper environmental impact studies upset environmentalists.