Seattle Employment Lawyer
Hones Law PLLC is an employment law firm located in Seattle, Washington. 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 Seattle Employment 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Employment law is the area of law concerning employer/employee relationships. Employment law consists of hundreds of state and federal laws that regulate employment relationships in the United States. These laws can involve employee compensation, employment contracts, unemployment claims, workers’ comp, unpaid overtime, minimum wage violations, discrimination, wrongful termination, among many other things. But generally, employment lawyers who represent workers focus primarily on discrimination and wage laws.
Employment lawyers can help explain their client’s rights to them, and if needed, an employment lawyer will help the client bring their claim in court. However, not all claims require a court. Sometimes, employment lawyers merely 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 employment attorneys who represent workers 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 your employer subjected you to an illegal employment practice. 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 employment attorney has the tools and expertise to help you navigate the law and the legal system.
At-will employment is a type of employment relationship between employer and employee. Under an at-will employment relationship, either party has the ability to end the relationship at any time for any reason. However, no matter what kind of employment 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 employment state. Most states, apart from Montana, are at-will employment states.
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 employment lawyers charge a fee for consultations. This fee can range from $100-$400. However, many employment 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 (like Hones Law).
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. 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.
You have several options for filing your employment law case. In Washington State, you can file your claim with the Washington Human Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or you can file directly in state court. You can file your claim on your own, but I suggest first talking to a lawyer to make sure you are correctly alleging all the important pieces of information.
The best employment 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 employment lawyers as you can before you decide which one is the best employment lawyer 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 against your employer, you can hire a lawyer to sue your employer.
You can sue your employer for many reasons, but the most common employment claims for workers to bring against their employer 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 attorneys 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 Hones Law’s experience, most claims settle somewhere between $10,000 and $100,000. 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 employment 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 an employment 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 to your employer, and we will be able to use that complaint as evidence if you end up bringing a claim later.
In most employment law 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 employer firing you? 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 employment law 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 instance, if you are a government employee, you may have to file with the EEOC shortly after the illegal conduct occurred. 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 your employment, 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 an employment lawyer. If you live in Seattle, Washington, reach out to a Seattle employment lawyer because they will know the laws around leave in Seattle, Washington.
Why Do I Need An Employment Lawyer in Seattle?
Having a skilled employment lawyer by your side is crucial for navigating employment law disputes in Washington State. Many employees 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.
Employees 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 Employment Lawyers, our team of Seattle employment lawyers have the experience and expertise to fight on behalf of those who have been victimized by their employers’ illegal workplace practices. We understand employment law in Washington state 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.
Our Seattle employment lawyers also provide empathetic legal support for our clients. We approach each case with the utmost dignity and respect for our clients, crafting individualized strategies to address your specific legal needs.
Our Seattle employment lawyers are adept at handling a variety of workplace disputes, including but not limited to the following:
• Discrimination based on age, race, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender
• Sexual harassment
• Disability discrimination and refusal of reasonable accommodation requests
• Hostile work environments
• Unlawful termination
• Unpaid wages (including rest and meal breaks)
Don’t face employment discrimination alone. Contact our Seattle employment lawyers to represent you today!
What Are My Rights as an Employee in Seattle?
In Seattle, Washington, employees have a variety of protections including local, state, and federal employment laws. These laws broadly cover aspects such as an employer’s practices regarding hiring and firing, work environment conditions, workplace safety, compensation and benefits, among other things. These laws also ensure that employees are protected against discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation for reporting illegal conduct or participating in protected activity like utilizing disability leave or pregnancy leave.
Some key examples of state and federal employment laws applicable to employees in Seattle, Washington, include, but are not limited to the following:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Washington State’s Laws Against Discrimination
- Seattle’s Municipal Ordinance
- Fair Labor Standards Act
- Washington State’s Minimum Wage Act
Employment Law Cases We Handle
Advocating For Employee Rights in Seattle Washington
Hones Law PLLC is recognized as one of the leading law firms in the field of employment law in Seattle, Washington. 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 a Seattle employment lawyer from Hones Law PLLC today. We are ready and waiting to help you fight for your rights in the workplace.