Seattle Employment Lawyer | Lawyers For Employee Rights Law

Seattle, Washington

Lawyers Who Fight For Workers' Rights

Hones Law PLLC is a law firm located in Seattle, Washington focused on representing workers. Our firm is passionate about using our expertise to advance workers’ rights, especially for those workers who have been illegally targeted because of their disability status, gender, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics and protected activities.

Our Lawyers have been recognized as having attained the highest degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in the field of employment law. We have handled cases involving age discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment in the workplace, race discrimination, religious discrimination, unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, wrongful termination, and illegal retaliation.

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Employment lawyer in seattle

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Frequently Asked Questions

Employment law is the area of law concerning employer/employee relationships. These laws can involve employee compensation, contracts, unemployment claims, workers’ comp, unpaid overtime, minimum wage violations, discrimination, wrongful termination, among many other things.

Employment lawyers can help explain their client’s rights to them, and if needed, will help the client bring their claim in court. However, not all claims require a court. Sometimes, a lawyer can help their client negotiate a fair resolution without ever getting the court involved. But really, employment lawyers do the same things that all lawyers do. The only difference is that employment lawyers generally focus on claims involving employers and employees.

Usually, the biggest cost in any lawsuit is the attorneys’ fees. Employment attorneys that represent employees in Washington usually charge $300-$600 an hour. However, most plaintiff-side attorneys take cases on a contingency basis, which means that the attorney does not charge anything up front to the client, and instead only takes a portion of the recovery. Usually the contingency portion is between 33%-40% of the recovery.

You should hire an employment lawyer if you think you were subjected to an illegal practice at work. Employment law, and the civil legal system generally, is complex and intimidating for anyone unfamiliar with it. Bringing a case against a powerful company will present many pitfalls that regular folks would not know to look out for. But an experienced attorney has the tools and expertise to help you navigate the law and the legal system.

At-will is a type of employment relationship between employer and employee. Under an at-will relationship, either party has the ability to end the relationship at any time for any reason. However, even under an at-will relationship, employers can never terminate an employee for an illegal reason.

The illegal reasons for termination in Washington are as follows: (1) discrimination, (2) retaliation, (3) violations of public policy, and (4) violations of contract. See my Employment Law Guides to learn more about each type of illegal termination.

Yes, Washington is an at-will state.

Yes, you can sue your employer for Wrongful Termination even in an at-will state! Wrongful Termination is the exception to the at-will employment rule. Under the at-will employment rule, employers can fire employees for any reason, even a made up reason or no reason at all. However, employers can never fire an employee for an illegal reason. And that is what a claim for Wrongful Termination is essentially stating–that your employer fired you for an illegal reason. To learn more about these illegal reasons, read my guide on Wrongful Termination in Washington State.

Yes, you can sue your employer for firing you IF they fired you for an illegal reason. And that’s a big “if.” Most terminations are totally legal. If you were terminated for a reason that does not break the law, then you cannot sue your employer for firing you.

Attorneys for employees are generally referred to as plaintiffs employment attorneys. Generally, in employment claims, employees sue their employer, not the other way around. And when one party sues another, the party doing the suing is called the plaintiff. The party being sued, on the other hand, is called the defendant.

Sometimes, but not always. If your employer asked you to do something illegal and you refused, and in response, your employer terminated you, then you can sue your employer for violating public policy. But public policy claims require your employer to terminate you first before you can sue.

Yes, in fact most of the time when a worker brings a claim against their employer, they are no longer working for the employer. The reason workers generally sue their former employer is because, much of the time, the employer’s illegal conduct included firing the worker for an illegal reason.

Employment lawyers in Washington usually charge somewhere between $300-$600 an hour. However, employment lawyers who represent workers generally take cases on contingency basis, which means they will not charge the worker anything up front, and instead only take a portion of the recovery.

Contingency employment lawyers are lawyers who take cases on a contingency basis instead of charging their clients by the hour. Under a contingency fee agreement, the lawyer usually does not charge the client anything up front and instead takes their fees as a portion of the recovery if they win the case. This portion of the recovery is usually somewhere between 33%-40%.

Sometimes, but not always. Some lawyers charge a fee for consultations. This fee can range from $100-$600. However, many lawyers offer free consultations because consultations can be a great opportunity to find new clients. The attorneys that offer free consultations will usually make it apparent on their website that they offer free consultations.

For most employment claims in Washington State, you have three years to file your state law claim. However, federal claims have a shorter deadline ranging from 45-300 days to file your claim with the EEOC or EEO office. So, if you are a government employee, or for any other reason have to file with the EEOC, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

It depends on the kind of case you are filing. If it is a case involving federal law, like Title VII of the Equal Rights Act, then you will need to file that case with the EEOC or Washington’s Human Rights Commission first. If the case involves Washington’s laws, you can file directly in state court. You can file your claim on your own, but we suggest first talking to a lawyer to make sure you are correctly alleging all the important pieces of information.

The best lawyer for you will be different from the best lawyer for someone else. Over the course of litigation, you will spend a substantial amount of time talking to and interacting with your lawyer, so it is important that you get along. So, talk to as many lawyers as you can before you decide which one is best for you.

Yes, you can hire a lawyer to sue your employer. However, lawyers have a duty to only bring valid legal claims. So, as long as you have a valid legal claim, you can hire a lawyer to bring the claim.

The most common claim that workers bring against their employers include the following: (1) discrimination, (2) retaliation, (4) hostile work environment, and (5) wrongful termination.

Under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination, workers who win their claim can recover lost wages, emotional distress, and attorney fees. So, the value of your case will depend on how long you worked with the company, how long you have been out of work, how long you expect to be out of work, the extent of your emotional harm, and the length of time your attorney spends on your case.

Settlements are generally kept confidential, so no official figures exist to quantify the average settlement value. However, in our experience, most claims settle somewhere between $20,000 and $200,000. And yes, that is a wide range, but the value of your case will depend heavily on the value of your lost wages and the extent of your emotional harm. So, the settlement amounts differ wildly depending on your income and how egregious your employer’s illegal conduct was.

Yes, under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination, workers who win their claims can collect lost wages, emotional distress, and attorneys fees.

Sometimes, but not always. If your employer subjected you to an illegal practice and you lost significant earnings, suffered a hit to your career trajectory, and/or suffered emotional harm, then suing your employer is probably worth it. Furthermore, you will be able to hold your employer accountable for its wrongdoing. And the more we hold employers accountable, the more we protect other workers.

If you were terminated for an illegal reason, you should call a lawyer at once. However, if you are still working for the company, the best option is usually to just document the employer’s conduct by submitting a formal complaint to HR and keeping a written record for yourself. Your formal complaint will serve as notice, and we will be able to use that complaint as evidence if you end up bringing a claim later.

In most cases, the hardest element to prove is the causal connection between your protected activity or protected characteristics and the adverse action your employer took against you. Facts that help you show that causal connection help you make a good case. For example, is there a close proximity in time between your protected complaint and your termination? That would make a good case. Alternatively, did your employer say anything negative about your protected characteristics shortly before firing you? That would also make a good case.

The statute of limitations is the deadline to file your claim. Most employment law claims in Washington state have a three-year statute of limitations. However, this three-year rule is not a firm rule. Some claims have much shorter statutes of limitations. For example, if you bring a federal discrimination claim, you generally have to file with the EEOC within 180 days (or 300 days in Washington state) of the date of the incident. And, if you are a federal employee, you have to file with your EEO office even sooner, usually within 45 days. So, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after you suspect any illegal activity.

Whether your employer can fire you for taking leave will depend on a few things such as what kind of leave you took, where you were working, and the size of the company you were working for. For example, certain forms of leave come with protections while other forms of leave do not. Pregnancy leave, disability leave, FMLA leave are all forms of leave that carry protections prohibiting employers from firing employees for taking those forms of leave.

However, not all forms of leave are protected. Generally, taking a company-provided Paid Time Off does not offer the same level of protection. Nevertheless, even if you take leave that is not protected, like a company-provided Paid Time Off, you may still have a claim depending on the reason for using the leave. The other things to consider are the location of the company, because some cities, like Seattle, Washington, provide added protections for employees using sick time, whereas other cities do not.

And finally, the size of the employer will be important because many of the protections only apply to employers of a certain size. So, if you were terminated after taking any form of leave, just make sure to talk to a lawyer.

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Why Do I Need An Employment Lawyer?

Having skilled attorneys by your side is crucial for navigating employment disputes in Washington State. Many workers who face illegal workplace conduct are unaware of the rights they have in the workplace or how to exercise those rights in a court of law.

Workers bringing claims against their employers need a legal advocate on their side with the experience and skill to fight for their rights. At Hones Law, our team of lawyers have the experience and expertise to fight on behalf of those who have been victimized by their employers’ illegal workplace practices. We understand Seattle employment law and labor law and how it applies to our clients, which makes us an invaluable resource to have on your side when you decide to stand up for your rights at work.

What Rights Do Workers Have?

In Washington state, employees have a variety of protections including local, state, and federal employment laws. These laws protect employees against workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, and workplace retaliation for reporting illegal conduct or participating in protected activity like utilizing disability leave or pregnancy leave. And the laws apply to all aspects of employment, but most commonly, these situations come up in the following circumstances: Hiring and firing, work environment conditions, workplace safety, and compensation and benefits.

Which Laws Protect Employees?

How Can An Employment Attorney Help Me?

The legal landscape can be difficult to navigate without specialized knowledge. An employment attorney can demystify these laws for employees, empowering them with the information they need to recognize when their rights have been violated.

Taking action is the next step. Whether it’s negotiating a fair settlement, filing a formal complaint with relevant authorities, or pursuing litigation, an employment attorney can provide strategic advice tailored to each unique situation. Having an attorney will ensure that you receive the justice and compensation you deserve, which may include back pay, front pay, and damages for emotional distress.

The journey through an employment dispute can be daunting, but you don’t have to face it alone. With employment counsel by your side, you gain not just a legal representative, but an ally committed to protecting your rights and interests. Through personalized attention and aggressive advocacy, our firm works tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for our clients, offering peace of mind and the opportunity to move forward from difficult situations.

Do Employment Attorneys Cost a Lot of Money to Hire?

Employment attorneys and labor attorneys generally work on a contingency basis. That means that the attorney agrees to represent the client without upfront fees, instead receiving payment as a percentage of the settlement or award obtained in the case. If the case is not successful, the client does not owe the attorney any legal fees. This arrangement makes legal representation accessible to individuals who may not afford to pay hourly or flat fees for legal services.

Contingency arrangements are most common in employment claims because victims of illegal employment practices usually do not have the resources to pay for an attorney’s hourly rate. 

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Seattle Employment Law Attorneys at Our Firm Have the Experience to Help You.

Hones Law PLLC is recognized as one of the leading law firms in the field of employment law in Washington State. Our firm has received a variety of awards, including mention in the national list of Super Lawyers®. If you have reason to believe you were wrongfully terminated, or your employer violated your rights in any way, contact Hones Law PLLC today. We are ready and waiting to help you fight for your rights in the workplace.

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