April - June 2022

Seattle City Light, a department of the City of Seattle, settled allegations under the Fair Chance Employment (FCE) Ordinance. OLS investigated allegations the department failed to conduct a legitimate business reason analysis when it took an adverse employment action against a job applicant and failed to hold the position open for two days before taking that adverse action. In addition to undergoing labor standards training and updating their job ads and hiring process, the department agree to settle the matter and pay a single job applicant a civil penalty of $1,092.13, representing a second violation of the ordinance by a City department. 

OLS initiated an inquiry into alleged labor standards violations by Trader Joe’s Company, a grocery store chain with -five stores and several hundred employees in Seattle and more than 500 stores and over 50,000 employees nationwide. Following OLS’s inquiry into Store 137 in the University District, Trader Joe’s Company agreed to an informal resolution under the Secure Scheduling Ordinance, settling allegations it failed to post work schedules with 14 days advance notice between May and October 2021. As part of the settlement, the company agreed to undergo labor standards training, create and distribute a Secure Scheduling policy to employees, and pay $44,528.22 in civil penalties to 129 employees and a $575.31 fine to the City of Seattle. 

After an OLS inquiry into alleged labor standards violations by Great Pacific Ironworks dba Patagonia, the company agreed to an informal resolution under the Secure Scheduling Ordinance. The retail store for outdoor clothing and related goods operates one Seattle location where it employs approximately 25 people and has approximately 2,600 employees worldwide. The company settled allegations that it failed to post work schedules with 14 days advance notice between May 2019 and April 2022 and agreed to pay $54,654.45 in civil penalties to 95 employees and a $575.31 fine to the City of Seattle. 

OLS investigated Addioz Corporation dba Evergreen Employment Solutions, for alleged violations of the FCE Ordinance. The Issaquah-based staffing agency placed workers in Seattle. OLS alleged the company failed to conduct a legitimate business reason analysis when it processed a worker’s application for placement in Seattle and maintained that the person’s criminal background was an automatic bar to employment. The employer settled and agreed to develop and implement a written policy to comply with the FCE Ordinance if, in the future, it places workers in Seattle. It also agreed to pay a $575.31 civil penalty to one job applicant. 

OLS investigated the sushi restaurant Wagokoro, LLC dba Wataru and its owner Kotaro Kumita for alleged violations of the Wage Theft Ordinance. OLS investigated allegations the restaurant, which has one Seattle location, and its owner, misclassified sushi chefs as exempt from overtime and failed to provide rest and meal breaks to employees. Wataru and its owner reached a settlement with OLS and agreed to adopt policies and practices that allow employees to take paid, 10-minute rest breaks for every four hours worked and unpaid, 30-minute meal breaks during shifts over five hours, unless waived by the employee. Additionally, they agreed to pay $65,588.77 in back wages and interest to 43 employees. 

OLS investigated a Seattle household employer for alleged violations of the Domestic Workers, Minimum Wage, Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST), and Wage Theft Ordinances. OLS alleged that the employer failed to pay the correct minimum wage for part of a live-in domestic worker’s employment, provided no PSST, failed to pay for all hours worked, failed to pay overtime, and did not maintain required records or provide required payday information. The household employer settled the matter and agreed to implement a PSST policy, track employee hours worked, maintain payroll records, and provide notifications with wage payment, employment, and PSST information if it employs a Seattle-based employee in the future. Additionally, the employer agreed to pay the worker a total financial remedy of $71,610.03 in back wages, interest, and civil penalties to the worker. This was OLS’s first investigation and settlement under the Domestic Workers Ordinance. 

OLS issued a determination of violation against Premier Roofing Services LLC and owner Carlos Da Silva (collectively, “Premier Roofing”) in April 2021, finding the Kirkland, Washington-based re-roofing contractor violated the PSST Ordinance by not permitting employees to accrue or use PSST, failing to provide employees with notifications of PSST balances, and failing to have a written PSST policy. Premier Roofing neither appealed the determination nor paid the amounts assessed. While the City sought to enforce the order and obtain a judgment against the business, Premier Roofing agreed to settle the matter and pay a total financial remedy of $27,433.44 to 13 affected employees – $5,130.34 more than the amount ordered to employees in the original determination. 

Joint employers Vishal Enterprises Inc. dba 7 Eleven 14373C, Ravinder Enterprises Inc. dba 7-Eleven #35532B, and owner Vishal Sehijpal settled with OLS after an investigation of alleged violations of the PSST and Wage Theft Ordinances at two Seattle stores on 819 Virginia Street and 8250 Lake City Way NE.

Allegations included failure to pay regular and overtime compensation, interrupted meal breaks, no rest breaks, and failure to provide any PSST to employees. The employers agreed to pay a total financial remedy of $57,209.98 to eight workers. Additionally, the employers agreed to undergo management training by OLS, implement a functioning system for tracking employee hours worked, and implement lawful PSST, rest break, and meal break policies for their employees.