Employee Rights & Discrimination

The right to work without unfair or discriminatory treatment is one of the most important of our legal protections.  A system of laws protects employees from employers and managers who  discriminate against an employee or prospective employee due to his or her race, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability or other protected status.  The law also protects an employee from retaliation for engaging in activity that opposes discrimination against the employee or others in the workplace.  And it protects against employers who violate or break the agreements they have made.  Further, an employer may be liable for permitting or creating a hostile work environment, or failing to take prompt, remedial action when a legitimate complaint of discriminatory treatment is raised.

Employers and managers are rarely open about unlawful acts, and proving that discrimination or retaliation did occur is not easy.  Co–workers usually have great difficulty sharing negative information about the employer or the workplace because they are afraid of losing their jobs.  For decades, our trial attorneys have successfully pursued employment claims in state and federal courts, and have gone to trial in employment cases when a satisfactory resolution could not be reached.  Careful consultation with one of our attorneys can help you determine how to protect yourself from overreaching or taking improper actions in the workplace.

Representative Cases

  • We represented three deputy prosecuting attorneys in gender discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims against Thurston County.  After more than two weeks of trial, the jury unanimously found in favor of each of our three clients on all claims. In addition to verdicts totaling approximately $1.5 million, the court awarded all attorneys' fees and costs, further granting a multiplier of 1.5 for the quality of representation and the risk of the case resulting in a supplemental award of approximately $1.5 million.  The county appealed and lost on all issues, ultimately paying approximately $3.4 million to resolve the matters with additional fees on appeal and interest.

  • We successfully represented a woman who was terminated from her position at Alamo Rent-A-Car when she was six months pregnant, allegedly as part of a company-wide reduction-in-force.  The parties’ employment contract mandated arbitration of these claims.  We successfully established at arbitration that in the months following the purported reduction-in-force, dozens of employees who were not pregnant were rehired at the same location where our client worked.  The arbitrator found entirely in our client’s favor, awarding damages for back pay, front pay and emotional distress.

  • We served as trial counsel for a U.S. Air Force Reservist who was terminated from employment after his return from active service.  The case was tried before a federal jury resulting in an ultimate award of approximately $615,000 for our client.

  • We represented an employee of the Washington Department of Ecology in a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination and retaliation.  After four years of litigation, and a successful appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the case ultimately settled for $700,000 prior to trial.

  • We represented a former Western State Hospital employee in a case involving a racially hostile work environment.  The case resulted in a judgment in our client’s favor against the State of Washington for $119,000.

  • We represented Kirkland Police Department Officer in employment-related claim against the City of Kirkland.  A settlement was reached before trial.

  • We represented an activated Army Jag Officer in a Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) case against the United States Department of State.  A settlement that provided for promotion and payment of attorneys fees and costs was reached prior to hearing.