Law360 Quotes Chris Wall on Likelihood of Continuing Efforts to Pass ‘Private Attorney General’ Law in Washington

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Employment litigator Chris Wall was quoted by Law360 in an article titled “4 Types Of Failed Wage And Hour Bills States Could Resurrect,” published July 29, 2021. (Subscription required.) The article discusses four types of legislation advanced in several states this year that would make major changes to wage and hour law. Though in many cases the bills were not made law, experts expect they will be reintroduced by lawmakers in the future.

The legislation includes:

  • Salary history bans, which restrict an employer’s ability to ask about or use salary history to evaluate job candidates, passed in two states but failed in at least nine.
  • Just-cause firing protections, which would require terminations be for a specific reason such as breaking company policies, have been adopted in several cities but statewide only in Montana, though advocates hope for expansion of their use into other states.
  • Noncompete bans protecting low-wage workers, which bar contract provisions that restrict such employees from accepting a job offer from an employer’s competitor, have been passed in several states though similar proposals in others failed to advance this year.
  • Private attorney general laws, which would follow in the footsteps of California's Private Attorneys General Act in allowing workers to bring employment lawsuits in the name of a state, failed in several states, including Washington.

Wall said the Washington proposal was “aggressive” and could be reintroduced in a watered-down form. And he said that while it isn’t certain a pared-back version would pass, he does not expect the bill’s supporters to give up. “It’s very clear that the effort to pass legislation like this will continue,” he said.

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