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If you have any questions or concerns related to these articles, please contact Tom Malone ([email protected])  or Meredith Davison ([email protected])  at Malone Law Group, PS, 206-527-0333.

By Tom Malone

A new Washington State law passed in April, 2019, is intended to address the gap in wages and advancement opportunities among workers in Washington, especially women.  The legislature’s intent is to update the existing Washington State equal pay act (not modified since 1943), to address income disparities, employer discrimination, retaliation practices, and to reflect the equal status of all workers in Washington State.  The new law (Substitute House Bill 1696) provides as follows

An employer may not:

  1. Seek the wage or salary history of an applicant for employment from the applicant or a current or former employer; or
  2. Require that an applicant’s prior wage or salary history meet certain criteria. 

    An employer may confirm an applicant’s wage or salary history:
  1. If the applicant has voluntarily disclosed the applicant’s wage or salary history; or
  2. After the employer has negotiated and made an offer of employment with compensation to the applicant.

In addition, a section in the new law (applying only to employers with fifteen or more employees), requires that upon request of an applicant, after an employer has offered the applicant a position, the employer must provide the minimum wage or salary for the position;

and upon request of an employee offered an internal transfer to a new position or promotion, the employer must provide the wage scale or salary range for the employee’s new position.  If no wage scale or salary range exists, the employer must provide the minimum wage or salary expectation set by the employer prior to posting the position.

Violations of this law may subject the employer to civil penalties and payment of wages and interest as provided in RCW 49.58.060.

Tax Advantages of 1031 Exchanges

Two things in life are certain: death and taxes.

You cannot determine the time of your death, but sometimes you can determine when you  will pay taxes. A dollar not spent is a dollar earned. Internal Revenue Code § 1031 allows you defer paying taxes on investment/business property.   In an ordinary sale transaction, the property owner is taxed on any gain realized by the sale of the property.  In a 1031 exchange, however, you roll the gain from the sale of your “old” investment/business property into the purchase of your “new” investment/business property.  To defer all of your capital gains tax, you must buy a property equal or higher in value than the one you sold.  If you receive additional money or other property, then gain is recognized to the extent of such money and other (non-like-kind) property.

A Qualified Intermediary, an independent third-party, must be used to hold money during the 1031 Exchange.  The lawyers of Malone Law Group PS  are qualified to serve as intermediaries in 1031 Exchanges.

Seattle Business Owners Alert: Criminal Background Checks Prohibited in Hiring Decisions; $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance

Seattle City Council recently enacted two ordinances that significantly impact Seattle Business Owners.

Chapter 14.17, entitled “Fair Chance Employment Ordinance” prohibits employers from failing to hire or promote an applicant/employee on the basis of criminal, conviction or arrest records, or criminal back ground checks.  Employers are prohibited from basing hiring decisions on background checks except when such information will have a negative impact on the employee’s or applicant’s fitness to perform the job, or will cause harm or injury to the employer or employer’s clients.  Employers are required to notify applicants or employees of any adverse employment decisions based on their criminal background record.

In addition, in 2014, Seattle City Council established a $15 per hour minimum wage for all persons employed within the City of Seattle.  The wage increases will be phased in over a three-to-seven year time frame starting in 2015.