Advancing Justice, feedom and Equality
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A Big Step Forward for Pregnant Workers
On Monday, April 10, 2017, the Washington State Legislature passed a pregnancy accommodation bill (SB 5835) - unanimously! It is now headed to the Governor’s desk for signature.
When the new law takes effect, it will require employers to provide requested reasonable accommodations to workers who are pregnant and need accommodation – whether their pregnancy has complications or is normal. An employee will not need to prove she has a disability or prove sex discrimination.
The law will require accommodations such as: more frequent restroom breaks; modification of no food or drink policy; job restructuring; modified work schedule; reassignment to a vacant position; modification of equipment, seating, or work station; temporary transfer; assistance with manual labor and limits on lifting; and flexibility to attend pre-natal visits.
The law will make it illegal for an employer to (a) fail to make a reasonable accommodation unless it is an undue burden; (b) retaliate against an employee who requests or uses an accommodation; and (c) require an employee to take leave if a reasonable accommodation can be provided instead.
MHB lawyers are proud to have worked tirelessly in support of securing legislation to advance pregnant workers’ rights.
For more information about pregnant workers’ rights, please visit our website at https://www.mhb.com/practice-areas/pregnancy-leave-discrimination-employment/.
mhb.com Pregnancy Discrimination and Medical Leave This Q&A is intended to provide general information about pregnancy leave, medical leave, and discrimination laws. It is not intended to provide legal advice or guidance as to whether such laws apply to you. Advice can … Continue reading →
David Whedbee of MHB is cooperating as counsel with ACLU of Washington to challenge the unconstitutional use of solitary confinement on juveniles in Grays Harbor County. Below is the ACLU Press Release and here is a link to an article written about the suit in The Daily World: http://www.thedailyworld.com/news/county-sued-over-allegations-of-solitary-confinement-at-juvenile-facility/
March 15, 2017
Contact: Amy Roe, ACLU of WA
Grays Harbor County Policy of Putting Kids in Solitary Confinement
Is Unconstitutional, Asserts Teen’s Lawsuit
A 16 year-old boy who was repeatedly put into solitary confinement, subjected to filthy conditions, and denied adequate food while in the Grays Harbor County Juvenile Detention Facility is suing Grays Harbor County for violating his constitutional rights.
The ACLU of Washington has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Theresa Doe and her son M.D., who was put in solitary confinement more than 40 times between 2013 and April 2016 by County Detention Staff. During that time, M.D. spent a total of about 75 days locked in a room or in a padded cell with little human interaction or access to his mother, for minor infractions like talking back, leaving a glob of toothpaste on the door to his room, passing notes, spilling water, “being rude,” and cursing. During one 8-day stretch, he was locked in a room that was spattered with food and blood, with a feces-covered grate over a hole in the ground to use for a toilet.
The lawsuit asserts that Grays Harbor County’s repeated and unconscionable treatment of M.D. violated his due process rights as a juvenile to be free of unnecessary and harsh detention conditions and subjected him to unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. The lawsuit seeks to stop Grays Harbor County’s pattern and practice of subjecting children to this type of unconstitutional solitary confinement.
Isolation from other people has particularly destructive effects on children, who are still developing and vulnerable, as courts and the scientific community widely recognize. This is why the law prohibits putting kids in solitary confinement, especially as the County does, for common teenage misbehavior.
“There is a growing recognition that solitary confinement is inhumane and should only be used in adult corrections facilities, and even then, only as a last resort,” said ACLU-WA Legal Director Emily Chiang. “Longstanding research shows solitary confinement can really harm kids, so we were shocked to find it is being used in a juvenile detention facility in Washington State routinely, repeatedly, and for a prolonged time period.”
The lawsuit asks the Court to halt Grays Harbor County’s unconstitutional policy and practice of placing juveniles in solitary confinement for ordinary misbehavior and seeks compensation for the constitutional injuries and associated emotional distress suffered by the plaintiff.
M.D. was repeatedly detained in the Grays Harbor County Juvenile Detention Facility over the last four years, largely for minor probation violations. Throughout these stints in juvenile detention, Detention staffers routinely placed M.D. in solitary confinement, during which time he variously was locked in his cell for at least 23 hours a day, with all his belongings removed, barred from contact with other people, not allowed visits from his mother, and given only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and water when he was placed in the padded cell.
Courts across the country recognize that, even for adults serving years in prison for violent felonies, solitary confinement causes serious harm and should be used only sparingly. M.D. was no such adult. He was a child, in the temporary care of County officials. Because their brains are still developing, children are psychologically more vulnerable than adults and thus more susceptible to the prolonged stress that comes from being isolated in prisons and jails. This stress can inhibit development of parts of the brain—such as the pre-frontal cortex, which governs impulse control— causing irreparable damage. Recognizing these scientific findings, at least 21 states have prohibited the use of solitary confinement to discipline juveniles.
“Under the Constitution, the County is supposed to reserve the harsh sanction of solitary confinement for circumstances such as when a juvenile might be violent and hurt someone,” said David Whedbee, cooperating attorney for ACLU-WA. “The County’s own records show that staffers routinely subjected M.D. to isolation for ‘bad behavior.’ And even where the County might have had procedures to protect juveniles, it’s clear from the records that staffers regularly failed to enforce those safeguards, which compounds both the constitutional injury and the practical risks to these young people in County custody.”
Representing the plaintiffs are ACLU-WA cooperating attorney David J. Whedbee of MacDonald, Hoague & Bayless, and Nancy Talner, ACLU-WA Senior Staff Attorney.
MHB Immigration Attorney Quoted about Potential Consequences of Trump Policies
MHB attorney Lola Zakharova offered insight on how President Trump’s immigration crackdown might affect Northwest employers seeking highly skilled workers. American firms might lose talent to employers in Canada and Europe, Zakharova said in this article in GeekWire. http://www.geekwire.com/2017/president-trump-turn-vancouver-b-c-tech-boomtown/
geekwire.com As an immigration attorney who often represents big Seattle-area corporations, Lola Zakharova is used to getting inquiries from people who want to immigrat
City of Tacoma fined maximum penalty allowed for violating Public Records Act
MHB attorneys David Whedbee and Angela Galloway successfully challenged the city’s failure to produce public records related to the Tacoma Police Department’s controversial use of “Stingray” surveillance equipment. The court ordered the city to pay approximately $50,000 in penalties, and to reimburse attorney’s fees to MHB client Center for Open Policing. For more information, check out this article in The News Tribune.
thenewstribune.com The city of Tacoma will have to pay $50,000 in penalties as well as legal fees to the Center for Open Policing after a Pierce County Superior Court judge ruled this week the city wrongly redacted a nondisclosure agreement regarding police use of a cell site simulator, commonly known by the brand nam...
MH&B lawyer, David Whedbee tells the Seattle Times, “I actually wept, that is a moment you dream about in law school.” Click on the link below for the full Seattle Times story about the events this past weekend at Sea-Tac airport.
seattletimes.com Lawyers got to Sea-Tac Airport just in time Saturday to prevent two men from being flown out of the country because of President Trump’s executive order on refugees and visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. But the legal drama continues.
On Saturday, January 28, 2017, Joe Shaeffer, Andrew Chan and David Whedbee from MacDonald, Hoague and Bayless assisted efforts to keep two men from being deported. The results gained the release of the two individuals who were detained at Sea-Tac Airport after an executive order that was signed by the president on Friday essentially closed the United States borders for immigrant travelers from selected countries. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project released this statement: “Two clients represented by Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the ACLU of Washington and collaborating attorneys from MacDonald Hoague and Bayless and Pacifica Law Group have been released from the custody of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at SeaTac airport. One of the clients is an engineer originally from Sudan but now residing in the United Arab Emirates and was attending an engineering conference in the U.S. The other individual who was detained by CBP is a Yemeni citizen who was born in Saudi Arabia and was coming to visit family here in the U.S. Both clients expressed their gratitude for the support of so many Americans. While in the custody of CBP, they were able to watch coverage of the protests at the airport and they both expressed gratitude for those expressions of solidarity. We are grateful to the many political leaders who urged their release.”
For additional details, click on these links:
cornellsun.com Shaeffer told The Sun that he joined his law firm — MacDonald, Hoague & Bayless — primarily because of its commitment to civil rights and social justice.
The Seattle Times cite MHB’s Lola Zakharova for her work on the King County Refugee Task Force.
Attorney's Jesse Wing, Joe Shaeffer and Tiffany Cartwright deserve a pat on the back for this one.
therepublic.com The state Supreme Court has ruled that Western State Hospital violated the state's anti-discrimination laws when it made race-based staffing decisions in response to a patient's race-based threats
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The Law Office of Kurt E. Boehl, PLLC is a Seattle law firm.
Founded in 1994 by attorney Chris Davis, Davis Law Group, P.S. is a personal injury law firm located in the Belltown neighborhood of downtown Seattle.
Watson Immigration Law is a Seattle, Washington, USA, based firm with a practice exclusively in the area of US Immigration and Naturalization Law. We assist companies and individuals with all areas of immigration law.
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project strives for justice and equity for all persons, regardless of where they were born.
Representation of clients in family law matters, including marital dissolutions involving complex financial and parenting issues, internatiional custody.
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