Davis Wright Tremaine alerted employers previously about a swath of nearly 30 class action lawsuits filed in late 2023 against a myriad of employers under Washington's new pay transparency laws. As Western District of Washington District Judge Barbara Rothstein notes, in the first decision analyzing these arguments, within a few months of the pay transparency law becoming effective, "multiple plaintiffs, represented by Emery Reddy, PLLC, filed multiple putative class-action lawsuits against various companies who had job postings that are alleged to be non-compliant with the EPOA job-posting provision." The law is described in greater detail in this earlier advisory and this webinar.

Many of the employers in those cases sought to dismiss these lawsuits, arguing the plaintiffs lacked standing. Specifically, the employers averred that the plaintiffs in these cases were not "bona fide" applicants for the posted position, were not seeking to represent a class of bona fide applicants, and did not suffer a cognizable injury. Judge Rothstein ruled that simply not including a pay range in a job posting is a mere technical violation and not enough for an applicant to have standing to bring a private cause of action. Instead, Judge Rothstein agreed with the employers and ruled that plaintiffs must be bona fide applicants before there is risk of harm.

The reason this decision is significant is because it substantiates the employers' position that the pay transparency law was not meant to give a windfall to individuals who are scouring the internet looking for job postings without pay ranges solely with the intent to file bad faith lawsuits either individually or on behalf of a class.

Davis Wright Tremaine is closely monitoring the other class action lawsuits alleging the same claims and will periodically post updates.