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5 Basic Rights of Employees in Washington State – Legal Reader

Under Washington law, an employee accrues at least 1 hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours of work.
The rights of employees, whether public and private, in Washington are protected under many federal and state laws. The problem is that many people do not know what their rights are and what to do when they are treated unfairly at work. One way of making sure your rights are respected is to talk to an experienced Washington employment lawyer whenever you have an issue with your employer. 
You cannot expect regular people to know all the paragraphs in the Washington Law Against Discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Washington State Family Leave Act. Employment attorneys do know what the labor laws in Washington say and can help you file a complaint with state or federal agencies.
Minimum wage
The federal minimum wage is set at $7.25, but in Washington state it’s almost double $13.69 and that’s not all. In Seattle, the minimum wage for people working in large companies and chains is $16.69. 
There are no special laws on overtime pay in Washington, so federal regulations apply. Overtime should be paid at 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate for any hours in excess of 40 hours worked per week. 
If your employer doesn’t pay you accordingly, this may be a case of wage theft and you should get in touch with a no-nonsense employment lawyer in Seattle. You can file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Industries or take your employer to court. 
Paid breaks
Workers in many  states do not have rest breaks, but in Washington employees are entitled to a 10-minute paid rest break every four hours of work, and a 30-minute meal break for any shift over 5 hours. Meal breaks, however, are not paid.   
Protection against discrimination and sexual harassment
Federal and state laws prohibit any form of discrimination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, family status, religion, age, disability, national origin etc. Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex-based discrimination. If you have a problem of this kind you should talk to a sexual harassment lawyer to understand the procedure for filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Many victims of sexual harassment are afraid to speak out, but you need to know that your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you if you file a complaint. 
Sick days

Photo by Brittany Colette on UnsplashUnder Washington law, an employee accrues at least 1 hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours of work. In other words, you get one sick day for every eight weeks of work. Employees can use their paid sick days when they are unwell, but also for medical appointments or to care for a sick family member. If your employer says otherwise, let them know it is illegal to deny you your earned sick days. 
Work safety
Employers in the state of Washington must provide a safe workplace, free from any hazards that might cause an injury. If you are exposed to toxic chemicals or other hazards you have the right to file a complaint and your employer is not allowed to retaliate by demoting or firing you. If they do, a skilled lawyer can help you win damages covering your lost wages. If the case goes to court you can also be awarded punitive damages, and your compensation will also cover your legal fees.

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