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Please click on the link below for an eye opening look at this urgent issue
KOMO News Special: Seattle is Dying

by Eric Johnson | KOMO News Thursday, March 14th 2019
Seattle Is Dying. It’s a harsh title. Someone on social media even called it a “hopeless” title. I’ll admit to you
that I wrestled with the name for some time. Too dramatic, I wondered? Too dark? In the end I went with it
because I believe it to be true. I believe that Seattle is dying. Rotting from within.
This show, that we’ve been working on for several months now, is really the third in a kind of trilogy.
The first was called “There But For the Grace of God…” It explored homelessness from the inside out in
The second was called, “Demon at the Door.” It was about the hellish existence of heroin addiction.
This one is about everyone else. It’s about citizens who don’t feel safe taking their families into downtown
Seattle. It’s about parents who won’t take their children into the public parks they pay for. It’s about filth and
degradation all around us. And theft and crime. It’s about people who don’t feel protected anymore, who don’t
feel like their voices are being heard.
This program is not about demonizing those who are struggling with addiction and homelessness and mental
illness. On the contrary. Instead, it asks the question, “Why aren’t we doing more? Why don’t we have the
courage to intervene in lives that are, in the face of a grave sickness, reeling out of control?”
It’s called, Seattle is Dying, and I believe the title to be true. But it’s not a hopeless program. There are ideas
and concepts in the show that could start conversations about change.
I hope.
Mostly, I want it to be a reminder that this is not normal. This is not the way it has to be. This is not

We will be closed Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day
We will re-open at 9:00 AM, Tuesday, May 28th

From the courtroom: What you can and can’t do with FMLA

Human Resources: BusinessManagement Daily
FMLA isn’t just about maternity leave and medical concerns – but it does have its limitations. As employers can
see in these recent court cases, it’s important to document decisions and know what you can, and cannot do when
it comes to the FMLA.

You CAN break the FMLA shield by documenting when you began considering discipline …

Make sure you track exactly when you begin disciplinary action, especially when it comes to the FMLA.
Reason: It’s not unusual for a worker facing an uncertain employment future to “check out” for a while on FMLA
Sometimes, she may even think taking FMLA leave will prevent serious discipline such as being terminated. She may
believe the employer won’t risk an FMLA retaliation lawsuit by firing her while she is on leave or right after coming back.
That strategy won’t work if you can show the disciplinary process had already begun before she asked for FMLA leave.
Recent case: Lisa worked for the Franklin County Jail as a correctional officer. An inmate filed a complaint against
alleging they had engaged in an inappropriate relationship. The county told Lisa it was launching an investigation. The next
day, Lisa went out on FMLA leave for 30 days to deal with an alleged mental health issue.
The investigation into her interactions with the inmate continued. When she returned to work, the county interviewed her
about the inmate’s allegations. It concluded the investigation a few days later. Lisa was fired for unprofessional conduct
based on her relationship with the inmate. She sued, alleging she had been fired in retaliation for taking FMLA leave.
The court dismissed the case. It reasoned that the county had shown the investigation into Lisa’s behavior began before
she asked for and took FMLA leave. Therefore, she could not have been disciplined because of that request.
(Hatch v. Franklin County Jail, et al., 3rd Cir., 2018)
But beware close timing between discipline and employee’s request to take FMLA leave
Employees who ask for or take FMLA leave are protected from retaliation for doing so. However, they aren’t protected
from the consequences of workplace problems unrelated to the FMLA that lead to discipline.
But timing is everything. If you intend to discipline someone who is on or is about to go on FMLA leave, be sure everything
about the disciplinary process looks legitimate and fair.
Recent case: Michele worked for a retailer and earned great reviews for several years. Then she asked for FMLA
leave to
have foot surgery. She was asked to postpone the surgery in order to attend a meeting on June 6. She did as requested.
At the meeting, she was fired for alleged poor leadership. Management outlined a long list of problems dating back months,
which they said contributed to her termination.
Michele sued, alleging retaliation and interference with her right to FMLA leave.
The company told the court the discipline had already been in the works when she asked for leave. Therefore, Michele’s
termination wasn’t connected to FMLA leave.
But the court said the circumstances and the timing were suspect. A jury will decide whether Michele’s discipline was
already in the works before her request or whether the disciplinary reasons were merely an excuse to prevent her from
taking FMLA leave. (Borton v. Lowe’s, SD TX, 2018)

You CAN deny FMLA leave if you aren’t given any notice

Employees have to let their employers know when they need FMLA leave. Although they don’t have to specifically mention
the FMLA, they do have to pass on enough information so the employer can reasonably understand that’s what the
employee is requesting.
Recent case: Michelle was fired for poor attendance after she left work without permission. She alleged that she
had suddenly become ill. She had her father drop off a note the next day. By then, she had already been terminated. She
sued, alleging she had been denied FMLA leave. But the court said, under the circumstances, Michelle had ample opportunity to tell one of several supervisors why she was leaving before she did so. (Stringfield v. Cosentino’s Food Stores, No.
18-1925, 8th Cir., 2018)

We will be closed Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day
We will re-open at 9:00 AM, Tuesday, May 28th

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