Within the past week, roughly 30 class action lawsuits were filed against myriad employers alleging violations of Washington's new(ish) pay transparency law. This is a good time for employers to review their job postings, especially any job postings that are currently active, to ensure compliance. Employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide in all job postings a salary or wage range, a general description of all benefits, and any other compensation the employee will receive. The law is described in greater detail in this earlier advisory and this webinar.
The lawsuits are largely identical and assert claims that the employers' job postings do not include salary or wage ranges, benefits, and "other compensation" information. The plaintiffs seek to represent a putative class of all applicants who applied for any job at the employer, for which postings were allegedly insufficient. The plaintiffs seek damages, on behalf of themselves and the putative class, under two theories. First, they allege they "lost valuable time" applying for the position. Second, the plaintiffs claim that because they did not have the salary information for the job posting, they were unable to "evaluate the pay for the position, negotiate that pay, and compare that pay to other available positions in the marketplace." The plaintiffs seek $5,000 or actual damages, whatever is greater, and their attorney fees.
Employers with questions about the law are encouraged to contact legal counsel. In the meantime, DWT tracks all legal developments related to the law, including the new cases as they are filed, and will provide periodic updates.