Employment Issues FAQ

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Is an employer free to ask whatever questions they want during an interview?

Are there any restrictions to how an employer can monitor an employee during work?

Can I be fired for refusing to work overtime?

Can an employer fire me without any reasonable cause?

I believe I am being sexually harassed at work, but am afraid to take action out of fear of being fired. What should I do?

Can I be fired for taking medical leave?

What is the minimum wage an employer can pay me?

Is An Employer Free To Ask Whatever Questions They Want During An Interview?

There are some limitations to the types of questions a potential employer may ask you in an interview. Questions relating to your personal life (whether or not you are married, if you have been divorced, etc) are not questions that you have to answer. If they are asked in an interview, politely tell the interviewer that those questions are personal and have no bearing on the work you would perform for them. Questions that deal with common discrimination issues such as those about your race, sexual orientation and age do not have to be answered either. If you believe you were denied a job because you refused to answer a question that you think might be illegal to ask, give us a call at 206-285-1743 to speak with one of our experienced employment attorneys immediately.

Are There Any Restrictions To How An Employer Can Monitor An Employee During Work?

In general, if the employer owns the means of communication that you are using, they are allowed to monitor you. Emails you send over the network server may be read by your employer, as can any web surfing in which you partake. Phone calls over business lines can be monitored as well. An employer cannot look into your private means of communication, such as your cell phone.

Can I Be Fired For Refusing To Work Overtime?

Washington is what is known as an “at will” state. If there is not an expressly written employment contract, the employer and the employee can terminate the employment at anytime without reason or cause. There are protected reasons that an employer cannot fire you for, but refusing to work overtime is not one of them.

Can An Employer Fire Me Without Any Reasonable Cause?

As an “at will” state, an employer may fire any employee without reasonable cause as long as there is no contract in place that the termination breaks. If the cause for being fired is due to a protected right such as your religion, race or gender, then you may have a case against your employer. There are some statutory exceptions, and if you think you may have a case, it doesn’t hurt to give our experienced employment attorneys a call at 206-285-1743.

I Believe I Am Being Sexually Harassed At Work, But Am Afraid To Take Action Out Of Fear Of Being Fired. What Should I Do?

When people are sexually harassed by a superior at work, this is a very common concern. The fact of the matter is you absolutely do not have to put up with this kind of behavior. If you are being sexually harassed by a superior, or have reported sexual harassment by a peer to a superior and they haven’t taken action, then you have every right to take legal action. You are protected by the law in this situation and should speak with an experienced employment attorney about the best course of action to take.

Can I Be Fired For Taking Medical Leave?

This question has a rather complicated answer. In large part, it depends on the employer you work for. If they have more than 50 employees within 75 miles of where you work, and you have worked more than 1250 hours over the previous year, then you may be eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It also depends in large part on the seriousness of the injury or illness you have sustained. If you meet these requirements, but were still fired for taking Medical Leave, then you should speak with one of our experienced employment lawyers immediately.

What Is The Minimum Wage An Employer Can Pay Me?

In the state of Washington, the minimum wage is currently $9.19. This does not apply to every single job, though, as there isn’t the obligation to pay certain contract employees a certain figure and there can be unpaid work such as internships that are compensated for through school credit. For 14 and 15 year olds, their minimum wage is 85% of the state minimum wage, which is currently $7.81.

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