Notes

Trade Secrets

In certain industries and circumstances, employees may be required to sign agreements never to disclose confidential information or "trade secrets" which, under Washington law, are defined as:

information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process that:

a)  derives actual or potential independent economic value from not being generally known or readily assertainable; and

b)  is the subject at reasonable efforts to keep it secret.

The obligation to preserve trade secrets usually extends past termination or separation and violations may trigger suit for court injunctions and damages.  I represent both employers and employees in the mediation and litigation of such disputes in state and federal court.

Invasion of Privacy

The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 7 of the Washington State Constitution protects the public from governmental action that invades reasonable expectations of privacy.  I represent people whose constitutional right to privacy is threatened or invaded by illegal search and seizure or unauthorized governmental release of private, confidential health and other information.

The Washington state courts now recognize 4 different kinds of invasions of privacy that may lead to legal liability under state tort law including:

1)  public disclosure of private facts

2)  intrusion upon seclusion

3)  misappropriation of name or likeness

4)  fasle light protrayal

Please see my article for more information:  

Whistleblower Retaliation

there are several state and federal laws that protect "whistleblowers" -- people who report illegal activities to the government or to their governmental or private employer -- fromillegal retaliation, including termination, suspension, or demotion.  I represent whistleblowers in the investigation, mediation, and litigation of retaliation claims.

Wage and Hour Violations

State and federal laws require employers to timely pay all earned wages, salaries or other compensation as agreed or risk stiff penalties which may include punitive damages, interest and costs of collection.  i represent both employers and employees in investigation, mediation and litigation of wage and hour disputes.

No Compete Agreements

Its increasingly common in certain industries and sectors for employers to condition hiring on signing a confidentiality and/or a no-compete agreement.  The no-compete agreements prohibit the employee from working in any competing job in a specified geographic area for a specified period of time.  Such agreements many or may not be enforceable in a court of law depending on whether the particular judge feels the terms are reasonable or not.  In general, courts like to see people honor their written word, but not always if the agreement is so lopsided it unfairly interferes with a person's right to earn a living.  I represent both employers and employees in disputes over no-compete agreements i mediation and litigation.   

Resignation and Severance

I have handled many cases which begin when the client is wrongfully terminated.  I have aslo negotiated many employment separation and severance agreements, however, which are designed to achieve an amicable split.  If you are ever confronted with a termination or separation agreemtn, it may behoove you to consult with an attorney to make sure the terms are fair and you know your options.

Anti-Harassment

Washington law defines "unlawful harassment" as a knowing and willful course of sonduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, harasses, or is detrimental to such  person, and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose.  the course of conduct shall be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and shall actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitionaer, or, when the course of conduct would cause a reasonable parent to fear for the well-being of their child.  RCW 10.14.020.

Someone who is being unlawfully harassed, may file a petition for an order of protection with the local court under RCW 10.14.040.  The petition for relif must be accompanied by an affidavit signed under oath stating the specific facts and circumstances of the case.

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