Initiative 124: Penalties & Union Carve-Outs

Initiative 124: Penalties & Union Carve-Outs

Seattle voters passed Initiative 124 on Nov. 8, 2016.

Initiative 124 concerns health, safety and labor standards for Seattle hotel employees.

This is your final installment of the mini series: Penalties & Union Carve-Outs

Private Right of Action
Employees are eligible for a private right of action regardless of civil penalties. Any person claiming injury from a violation of this initiative may file a lawsuit against the employer. Upon prevailing, he or she may be awarded costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses including lost compensation and other damages, reinstatement, declaratory or injunctive relief and prejudgment interest.

Each work day a hotel employer is in violation of the initiative is deemed a separate violation and will be assessed a penalty of at least $100 per day per employee, and not more than $1,000 per day per employee, in an amount determined by the court. These penalties are exclusive of any damages recovered by or awarded to any employee.

Civil penalties must be distributed as follows: 50 percent to the Office of Labor Standards; 25 percent to the aggrieved employee(s); and 25 percent to the person bringing the case.

Enforcement Agency
The Office of Civil Rights/Office of Labor Standards may investigate charges alleging violations of this initiative. The division director of the Office of Labor Standards is authorized and directed to promulgate rules consistent with this initiative.

Most Ordinance Requirements Can be Waived in a Collective Bargaining Agreement
The requirements of this ordinance, with the exception of the portion protecting employees from violent assault and sexual harassment, may not apply to any employees covered by a bona fide, written collective bargaining agreement, if such a waiver is set forth in clear and unambiguous terms.