About Attorney Nicole Gainey

My photo
Seattle, WA, United States
Seattle Attorney, Nicole Gainey, founder of Gainey Law PLLC, represents Washington State employees who have been sexually harassed, discriminated against and wrongfully terminated in legal disputes against their employers. To date, she was litigated against employers large and small seeking justice for her clients.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Workplace Bullying Project

        I just had the pleasure of meeting with the Workplace Bullying Project's founder Lauri Lilli. What a breathe of fresh air for this lawyer. I am so weary of having to tell people I can not help them if they are still employed - because the employer has not taken that final "adverse employment action" or because though they are being horrifically bullied it is not unlawful under the law, or even if it is there is no remedy (yet). 

There are no employment police you can call to show up at your workplace and make your boss, manager, supervisory or co-worker stop targeting, undermining, or backstabbing you. The law provides you the right to fight for damages only after unlawful workplace actions have risen to a level of severity. The case law defines a hostile work environment as harassment that changes the conditions of your job. It must be either severe or pervasive. In most cases it must also by based on some discriminatory animus. Meaning most workplace bullying is not unlawful. 

But there is help, and I am not talking about your company's human resources department. Human resources department's are generally helpful up to the point your interests conflict with the company's interest. That means most of the time human resources despite all assurances to the contrary are going to protect the company and it leaders and not you. However, Lauri Lilli is working to fill the gap between human resources on the one side and the law on the other.

Ms. Lilli makes it clear that she is not a lawyer and not a licensed mental health professional. What she is, is someone who lived through her own workplace bullying nightmare and is now working to help others navigate toxic workplaces and protect thier livlihoods. 

Her services include, 

Navigating the Bullying Dynamic and Toxic Environment

-Documentation Training, Review and Support
-Human Resource Management and Support Services
-Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) Support
-Healthy, Safe, Bully-Free Job Search Support and Guidance
-Resignation and Exit Support
-Career Planning and Growth Support
-Group Coaching Support

Ms. Lilli offers a free intial meeting that you can book right online here

For all of you suffering bullying at work, I wish you the very best. 

Next: When is workplace bullying illegal?

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Battle Tactics for your Racist Workplace

 The story of this pod cast: Battle Tactics for Your Sexist Workplace is a lesson in how far we (in this case “progressive” public radio still have to go to achieve anything close to equity in  the workplace 

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Articles by Nicole Gainey

October 2023 Book Review: Update on Dodd's Deposition Guide Read the Review Here

June 2022 Book Review: Damages Evolving: A collaboration by David Ball, Artemis Malekpour, Courtney Rowley, and Nicholas Rowley. WSAJ Trial News. Read The Review Here. 

January 2021: Article: Corporate Accountability in the Age of COVID: Pandemic-weary jurors provide justice for plaintiffs while holding corporations accountable - WSAJ Trial News. Read the Article Here. 

Corporate Accountability in the Age of COVID: Pandemic-weary jurors provide justice for plaintiffs while holding corporations accountable
Publication Date: January 2021
Volume: 56-5
Author: Nicole Gainey
Categories: In the News, Asbestos, Product Liability, Verdicts & Settlements, Wrongful Death, COVID-19

It’s 1962. In Moses Lake, Washington, a ten-year-old boy named Ray Budd splashes water into a bucket of Kaiser-Gypsum joint compound (aka drywall "mud"). Dust fills the air as he mixes the compound into a smooth mud-like texture. Together with his father, Ray applies the mud to the drywall. Later, when it dries, they will sand the hardened mud down to hide the tape lines. More dust will fill the air. They will sweep and vacuum the dust – breathing more of it in during the process. The process will be repeated by Ray and his father, and by workers and do-it-yourself-home-improvers day after day – on construction sites, and in homes – for decades.

The result of the widespread sale and use of products like Kaiser Gypsum’s joint compound has been tragic. The products contain asbestos. Asbestos is lethal; it causes mesothelioma. The disease is brutal, painful, and causes a slow death, as the person’s lungs are filled with fluid. It is excruciating both for the patient and for their loved ones. Many of these deaths could have been avoided. Lawsuits aver that Kaiser Gypsum and similar manufacturing companies knew that asbestos-containing products were deadly for years, if not decades, before the public was ever warned, or the products ever regulated. So, like thousands of other Americans, decades after Ray Budd began working with Kaiser Gypsum’s dry wall compound, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Ray Budd, now 64 years old, lives in Ohio and is terminally ill from mesothelioma. When negotiations with Kaiser Gypsum failed, Budd’s lawyer, Chris Madeksho, brought his lawsuit to Washington State, where Budd’s exposure occurred, to try in state court. Madeksho associated with a local law firm, Weinstein Caggiano. The firm focuses on trying mesothelioma cases. I interviewed Alex Caggiano, named partner and fellow WSAJ EAGLE member. Caggiano, who has only been practicing since 2014, has already had much success at trial. She was part of a team who won an 81-million-dollar mesothelioma verdict pre-COVID. This case, however, was her first jury trial since COVID caused the courts to shut down.

Associating with other attorneys and law firms is something Caggiano and her firm do often. Caggiano says finding the balance necessary to create a successful collaboration can be tricky. She finds that taking a team-first approach is helpful. She says, "Taking on more [work] or sitting back some, depending on what the team needs, helps the work move forward smoothly." In this case, she and Madeksho meshed well by having clearly defined roles. Caggiano’s main focus was on the science. She presented the critical causation witness for three days of testimony and cross-examined the defense causation expert. She also delivered the rebuttal closing. Madeksho was the face of the case providing the plaintiff a voice. He presented and cross-examined all other witnesses, conducted voir dire, and delivered opening and closing statements. Phil Chu, also of Weinstein Caggiano, managed researching and drafting motions during trial, and senior partner Brian Weinstein worked behind the scenes to make sure the team prepared and developed the record properly for appeal.

The trial courtroom was familiar, but the set-up was reconfigured to accommodate COVID-era safety requirements. Socially distanced jurors were in the gallery instead of the jury box. Attorneys wore safety masks throughout the entire trial. Witnesses appeared remotely via video conference. These accommodations were all hurdles the trial team faced while trying to present their case and connect with the jury.

While the setup for the trial was novel and technologically progressive, there was one thing that could not have been more familiar and worn – the defense. From initial negotiations to closing argument, the defenses were predictable – to deny liability, to deflect blame, and to devalue damages.

In closing argument, Madeksho empowered the jury and gave them a road map to a fair verdict. He talked about Budd’s losses carefully, creatively, and with heart. The team had had to be very careful during the entire trial to keep from opening the door to Budd’s past, which included a criminal conviction. During his closing statement, Madeksho could not rely on any simple allusions to a happy and loving family now destroyed by cancer. He had to focus narrowly on Budd’s personal loss. He had to dig deeper and know his client from a different angle to help the jury see him in all of his humanity and to value that humanity. So Madeksho talked about how Budd, who started working at age 10, was finally, after retirement, able to enjoy some fun in his life. How in effect he was able to have the childhood he had missed out on the first go around, because he had started working at such an early age, and how that second childhood – that best part of life – was taken away from him by the defendant when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 62.

Then came the defense closing statement. David Shaw, of Williams Kastner, spent over half of his closing refuting proximate cause using a mix of hard and soft science and bits of history. He walked through the experts’ testimony, denying any scientific association between drywall work and mesothelioma. He recounted a lengthy history of asbestos use from the 1930s forward. He claimed Kaiser had no reason to put a warning on its products because they were in fact not dangerous. It was when he moved on to discuss damages that his closing became particularly callous. In effect, he flat out told the jury, "So what?"

Shaw’s closing was an homage to everything plaintiffs fear jurors think – that jurors will find the corporate defendant more credible, that they will blame plaintiffs for their own injuries through negative attribution, and that they will undervalue the damages through a combination of selfishness and cynicism – as in, "I’m hurt, and no one pays me for my pain." Shaw blamed Budd for failing to avoid exposure. He claimed even if Kaiser had put a warning on its product, Budd would not have heeded it – after all, he had been a smoker for a couple of years.

Then Mr. Shaw went straight for the jurors’ amygdales. He said, "Every day throughout this country millions of men and women undergo surgery … they have terminal illness highlighted by our current situation with COVID. They do it all without compensation. There is no compensation at all. Is Mr. Budd’s situation so different, so different from those who suffer similar disabilities, similar pain, similar restrictions, that an award of that staggering size is justified? I don’t think so."

He went on to ruminate, "we will all die someday."

Caggiano sat watching defense’s closing with a mix of anxiety and anger. By then, nearing the end of trial, she was sick with adrenaline, but when she rose to give her rebuttal closing, she was calm. She was ready to let her belief in her client and her belief in the case do the work. She dismantled the defense in broad strokes, then polarized the case before resting. In doing so, she neutralized any inertia Shaw had created and cleared the path for a judicious verdict. First, she summed up Shaw’s defense by calling it a "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" defense. She quickly walked through the steps of the defense’s logic, showing it for the misdirection and deflection it was. Next, she compared Budd, a person, to Kaiser Gypsum, a person under the law – "but not a person who can breathe, not a person who can bleed, not a person who can undergo chemotherapy."

Then, she compared the defense’s and Plaintiff’s experts’ contrasting motives. Comparing Kaiser’s expert data – funded by industry in order to keep dangerous products on the market, with Plaintiff’s expert data – funded by the National Institute of Health, whose mission is to protect people’s health. Then she walked through the science again and clarified what the defense had muddied – that poison is deadly, and Kaiser Gypsum’s product was poison.

Lastly, she restored the juror’s ability to do the right thing, the righteous thing, by illuminating the truth inherent in Kaiser’s actions. She told the jurors, "They think you won’t value Ray’s life." And she said, "That’s what they think. That’s what Mr. Shaw just told you. He just told you everyone dies." Then she dismantled that grossly cynical misdirect by clarifying the point: "Everyone does die. But they killed him."

She walked through damages one last time and polarized the case before putting the verdict in the jurors’ hands. The jurors returned a verdict in favor of Ray Budd and found economic damages in an amount of $400,000, and non-economic damages in an amount of $13 million.

Sometimes, a jury trial is the only place an individual flesh and blood human being can hold a corporation accountable for harm. Personal injury lawyers like Alex Caggiano who try wrongful death cases further the cause of justice for all of us and for all of our clients. Caggiano and her team showed that given the opportunity to get [the case] in front of a jury, justice can and will prevail, even in the time of COVID.

Nicole G. Gainey is an EAGLE member who also serves on WSAJ’s Diversity Committee and on the editorial board of the Trial News. She owns her own Seattle law firm, Gainey Law, PLLC, where she focuses on plaintiff’s employment law.

September 2020: Book Review: The Plaintiff Lawyer’s Playbook. WSAJ Trial News. Read the Book Review Here

The Plaintiff Lawyer’s Playbook
Publication Date: September 2020
Volume: 56-1
Author: Nicole Gainey
Categories: Book Review, Giving back, Practice tips, Young Lawyers

Elden Rosenthal. The Plaintiff Lawyer’s Playbook: Insights and Recommendations on How to Prepare for Success in Settling and Trying Cases. 
Trial Guides, LLC (2019). Paperback: 161 pages; 1st edition (2019); $45.00. https://www.trialguides.com/products/the-plaintiff-lawyers-playbook
Please use the Trial Guides’ Book Review Loyalty Program discount coupon code ‘WSAJTN10’ when ordering at https://www.trialguides.com/products/the-plaintiff-lawyers-playbook to receive a 10% price discount.  Direct questions or to place an in-person order, call 1-800-309-6845; 
New Lawyer Program: Trial Guides offers a 25% discount for law students and new lawyers who have been in practice for five years or less, after admitted to Trial Guides’ New Lawyers Program. 
Apply at https://www.trialguides.com/pages/new-lawyer-program
Elden Rosenthal is a Pacific Northwest treasure and his Playbook—a succinct yet compassionate beginner’s treatise on the practice of plaintiff’s law—is a bountiful gift to our bar. 
Rosenthal is a long-time Portland, Oregon attorney and an avid fly-fisherman. He claims inspiration for The Plaintiffs’ Playbook was derived from two sources, one being The Curtis Creek ManifestoAn Introduction and Guide to Fly Fishing by Sheridan Anderson. In the introduction to his book, Rosenthal states that for him, The Curtis Creek Manifesto was a principle source of guidance into the mysteries of fly fishing, a source that he relied on for many years as he was learning the craft. More experienced attorneys have likely long forgotten that, like fly-fishing, plaintiffs’ law can often be confusing, and the process of working up cases opaque, to newcomers. To the uninitiated, plaintiffs’ attorneys talk and write in a strange, unknown language. Rosenthal’s Playbook not only deciphers the strange language of the law but also illuminates the path of the trial attorney. His Playbook is a concise and carefully crafted map laid out to help the new attorney navigate the often-treacherous path from client selection to trial. I do not know if the Curtis Creek Manifesto helped Rosenthal become a first-rate fly-fisher, but it surely got him headed in the right direction. Likewise, Rosenthal’s Playbook is a first step primer and overview to plaintiffs’ work that will get any new attorney headed in the right direction on the path to becoming a successful plaintiffs’ attorney. 
 The second, and truly primary, source of inspiration for The Playbook derived from Rosenthal’s last few years of practice. In 2015, he and Bill Gaylord, another successful trial attorney, formed a partnership. The sole function of that partnership was to mentor less-experienced lawyers. During those mentoring years, Rosenthal realized the tremendous advantage he had enjoyed early on in his career by being actively mentored by numerous seasoned trial attorneys. According to the introduction of the Playbook, teaching others reminded Rosenthal of the many lessons and fine points the new attorney must master. Lessons and fine points that others walked him through by example and guidance on a daily basis in the first few years of his journey. Lessons that, he realized while mentoring, are not intuitive or easy to master. 
 Likely because he wished to someday spend more time fishing and less time mentoring, he committed to sharing that mentoring practice via his Playbook. In this way, Rosenthal imparts his knowledge and experience to the next generation of plaintiffs’ attorneys. Sharing lessons learned during his 47-year career and informed by his years of focusing directly on mentoring new attorneys. His Playbook will help the new attorney conquer the steep learning curve of the first few years of practice in the same way that a good senior partner would—with compassionate understanding of what the new attorney does not yet know and with laser sharp focus on what is important and necessary to successfully resolve the case. Rosenthal’s Playbook is just that—a stand-in for the mentor that every new plaintiffs’ attorney needs but does not necessarily have. 
The Playbook is an artful guide. The new attorney will find that Rosenthal has included nothing superfluous. At only 159 pages, Rosenthal’s book is a powerhouse of concisely targeted advice. Illuminating the processes necessary for the competent work-up of the plaintiffs’ case, it focuses on the work that attorneys spend most of their time on—pretrial litigation. But it also briefly covers trial topics—from voir dire to rebuttal argument—just enough to demystify the process. 
Clearly the Playbook can be used as a checklist of the basics and of the most important aspects of plaintiffs’ case preparation. The new attorney will also find it refreshingly full of advice on not only what needs to be done; but also, most practically, how to do it. Rosenthal’s years of mentoring clearly informed the guide in this way. His advice is both practical and reassuring in its depth of detail. At times he literally advises the newbie attorney to “use these words.” Similarly, the appendix contains some helpful templates to make common tasks less grueling. The appendix includes retainer agreement language, a model stipulated protective order, a letter to send to the client regarding deposition, and a focus group questionnaire. 
Rosenthal is an award-winning trial attorney who racked up numerous accolades over the course of his career. Additionally, Oregon employment law attorneys (and employees) can thank Rosenthal for bringing (and winning) the first Oregon common law wrongful termination in violation of public policy case: Nees v. Hocks, 272 Or. 210 (1975). The Supreme Court in Nees ruled in favor of the plaintiff when she was terminated for serving on jury duty. In 1991, Rosenthal received national attention when he co-counseled with the Southern Poverty Law Center in the landmark case of Seraw v. Metzger. The case tied white supremacist Tom Metzger, a member of the California Ku Klux Klan and who formed and led the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), to the murder of Mulugeta Seraw, a Black college student in Oregon in 1988. The lawsuit which included a $12.5 millon verdict against Metzger bankrupted WAR. In 2006, he represented a fellow attorney who was wrongly detained by the FBI, securing a $2 million settlement and an apology on behalf of his client.
When I spoke with Rosenthal in July, I asked him if he wished he had included anything else in his Playbook. He jokingly replied that he never figured out how to illustrate it to keep it in line with Anderson’s Manifesto. Then, after a moment of contemplation, he answered more grimly. He said that he wished he had included more about working civil rights cases. He added that there are not enough attorneys who focus their practices on civil rights. He seemed to be encouraging attorneys to do so, when he said, “the skills transfer, you just have to learn a new area of law.” 
Rosenthal is not quite finished mentoring and teaching. Perhaps he has another book in him? Something like, The Plaintiff Lawyer’s Civil Rights Playbook? I hope so. 
Nicole G. Gainey is an EAGLE member who also serves on WSAJ’s Diversity Committee and on the editorial board of the Trial News. She owns her own Seattle law firm – Gainey Law, PLLC—where she focuses on plaintiff’s employment law. 

January 2020: Interview: Seizing the Opportunity for Autonomy. WSAJ Trial News. An interview with Plaintiff's Attorney Preet Kode. Read the Interview Here.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Justice Served - Race Discrimination Case


Jury Awards $1 Million to Woman Who Was Told, ‘I Don’t Serve Black People’

Rose Wakefield was ignored by an attendant at a gas station in Beaverton, Ore., near Portland, as white customers who pulled in after her were served first, according to the lawsuit.

A woman in Oregon was awarded $1 million in damages this week after a jury found that she was discriminated against when a gas station attendant told her he didn’t “serve Black people.”

The decision by the jury in Multnomah County, which came after a four-day civil trial, included $550,000 in punitive damages.

Greg Kafoury, a lawyer for Rose Wakefield, the plaintiff, said his client felt “vindicated” and was looking forward to putting this case behind her.

“This company deserved to be publicly humiliated just as they had publicly humiliated my client by calling her a liar in court for four days when she had been telling the truth,” Mr. Kafoury said in an interview on Saturday.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Washington State Medical Board about average in its lack of enforcement of abusive Doctors - and that's terrible.

A 2017 - 2019 (published in March 2021) study found a "wide variation in serious disciplinary actions taken per 1,000 physicians across states and the District of Columbia, [making] it is clear that many, if not most, state medical boards are doing a dangerously lax job in enforcing their states’ medical practice acts.

 "There is no evidence that the observed differences in state disciplinary action rates can be explained by differences in the competence or conduct of the physicians practicing in the various states and, therefore, must be related to differences in how well or poorly the licensing boards adhere to their legal responsibility to protect the public from incompetent or miscreant licensees."

Low rates of serious disciplinary actions suggest that medical boards are not adequately taking actions to discipline physicians responsible for negligent medical care or whose behavior is unacceptably dangerous to patients. See the study Washington State ranked 29th. 

According to the report, one [inexcusable] problem is that the boards evaluate each complaint in isolation. They specifically do not look for repeat offenders. This may be because the boards largely operate to protect professional's livelihoods not the public. 

This study was cited in a Seattle Times article in 2020 titled: 

Discipline delayed: Washington state struggles to stop sexual misconduct in health care, leaving patients vulnerable 

That article dealt largely with the repeat abuse by a male massage practitioner. Licensed Massage Practitioners are the number one medical practitioners sanctioned by the Washington state Department of Health. Likely because the relatively low bar to admission into the field attracts predators, but it could also be that LMPs are also the lowest paid and therefore the least powerful medical professionals in the State. Though the public should be protected from all predators, the lack of discipline against medical doctors and psychiatrists is appalling. 

Despite our filing suit on behalf of injured worker Cheryl Riley and as I wrote about earlier: Dr. Douglas P. Robinson a physiatrist often hired by Washington State's Department of Labor and Industry (DLI / LNI) has continued to evade censor or any accountability for that matter despite numerous complaints. See the King 5 Coverage Here. and Lawsuit Here.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

If you have information about Dr. Douglas Robinson please contact this law firm.

Gainey Law, PLLC currently represents client(s) related to the wrongful acts of Dr. Douglas Robinson and the Washington State entities that enabled his bizarre and harmful behavior for decades. Despite numerous complaints, the Department of Labor and Industry did nothing to protect Washington workers against Dr. Douglas one of LNI’s highest paid medical examiners. If you received a forced medical exam (IME, independent medical exam) from Dr. Robinson we want to here from you. Please call our office at 206-354-4211. 

Despite serious complaints against this doctor dating back years, neither the Department of Labor and Industry nor the Washington State Medical Commission has taken any action agaisnt this doctor. 

King 5  Coverage State Paid Psychiatrist Never Held Accountable. 

Prior Complaints to the Department of Labor and Industry against LNI IME doctor, Douglas P. Robinson  

Date Logged / IME Date Reported by SI/SF Complaint Quality Concern / Concern / Provider Name

8/17/2020 / 6/10/2020 IW SF IW disagrees with outcome of IME Report Other Robinson, Douglas 10/1/2020 / 5/21/2020 IW SF IW felt exam was unprofessional Provider Brief exam Robinson, Douglas 6/9/2021 / 3/16/2021 ATTORNEY SF Scheduling Error Other Other Robinson, Douglas 

6/9/2021 / 1/27/2021 IW SF IW contends inappropriate and unprofessional conduct by examiner Provider Inappropriate Comments/Actions Robinson, Douglas 

9/3/2021 / 7/22/2021 IW SF IW disagrees with outcome of IME Report Other Robinson, Douglas 

1/26/2022 / 2/10/2021 IW SF IW claims sexual harassment Provider Other Robinson, Douglas Claim # 

IME date Problem Examiner 

8/24/2016 deposition- testimony Robinson, Douglas 6/14/2017 late IME report…>1 mo to receive Robinson, Douglas 

8/8/2017 does not address accepted dxs. Relates everything to Robinson, Douglas 6 6 6 6 p. 5 10/9/2017 late report Robinson, Douglas 

8/22/2017 late report Robinson, Douglas Claim Problem Examiner Atty refuses to have client seen by Dr Robinson - "inappropriate" Robinson, Douglas 

Original Data can be found here.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Forced Labor (Slavery) is still a thing in the United States, but hopefully not for long


More than 150 years after slaves were freed in the U.S., voters in five states will soon decide whether to close loopholes that led to the proliferation of a different form of slavery — forced labor by people convicted of certain crimes.

None of the proposals would force immediate changes inside the states’ prisons, though they could lead to legal challenges related to how they use prison labor, a lasting imprint of slavery’s legacy on the entire United States.

The effort is part of a national push to amend the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that banned enslavement or involuntary servitude except as a form of criminal punishment. That exception has long permitted the exploitation of labor by convicted felons.

“The idea that you could ever finish the sentence ‘slavery’s okay when ... ' has to rip out your soul, and I think it’s what makes this a fight that ignores political lines and brings us together, because it feels so clear,” said Bianca Tylek, executive director of Worth Rises, a criminal justice advocacy group pushing to remove the amendment’s convict labor clause.

Nearly 20 states have constitutions that include language permitting slavery and involuntary servitude as criminal punishments. In 2018, Colorado was the first to remove the language from its founding frameworks by ballot measure, followed by Nebraska and Utah two years later.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness Month: Don't neglect your healing in your fight for justice.

     If you are someone who has suffered humiliation through discrimination or sexual harassment at work, you may need more than a path to justice, you may also need a path to healing. A way to reset your fight or flight neurological response which is likely working overtime in response to the trauma you suffered. It is not healthy to allow this system to remain revved up for extended periods of time. It can lead you to anxiety, depression, and exhaustion making reclaiming your life difficult even if you succeed in litigation. 

    Neglecting how workplace (or personal) trauma is effecting you while at the same time enduring the stressors of litigation is a recipe for failure - whether you win your lawsuit or not. Our civil legal system allows for little outside of the recovery of money damages. Likely the wrong-doer will not be fired, you definitely will not receive an apology or a glowing letter of recommendation admitting that every nasty thing your employer accused you of, prior to termination or during litigation, was false. So, many workers can end up feeling like even a substantial money recovery is a somewhat empty victory. Arguably, some of this reaction is because the person has not addressed the emotional, psychological and neurological toll the unlawful action took on them in the first place. So, I encourage all of my clients, even those who think they are "handling everything fine" to seek out emotional and psychological support even as they are looking for the right attorney to take their case. 

Nothing in this post is an substitute for a doctor's evaluation and advice. If you are suffering from PTSD, Anxiety, Depression or exhaustion please consult your primary care provider right away. If you do not have a primary care provider you can get help at:

Medical Doctors / Clinics

Local County Doctor Clinics 

Varies Mental Health and Substance Use Resources

Specific Recommendations for people who are generally healthy, but are struggling through litigation or other acutely stressful situation

Emotional Freedom Technique

    I have personally found much relief from professional stress and anxiety by utilizing EFT (emotional freedom technique). EFT is a guided combination of tapping on acupuncture points, while working with a recounting of emotions related to stressful events or negative beliefs, combined with positive affirmations. That is probably a gross over simplification, but you don't need to understand EFT for EFT to work. Not all EFT practitioners or offerings are equally effective.  One EFT guide that greatly helped me is Miranda Maher. She is located in Brooklyn, New York but thanks to zoom you can practice with her no matter where you are. She is also an experienced instructor, and offers (remote) classes, in Qigong, Neidan and Tao Meditation

    For more information, visit her website. Or request a free consultation with Miranda, here, or book your first 75 minute session here. As a chronically stressed out employment and public defense attorney I was amazed by how effective her version of EFT is. I had also tried a cheapo version on Daily Om which did not work and actually made me feel worse. As I relate below, when it comes to my mental health I am a firm believer in working with people live (or on zoom) and not via prerecordings or A.I. versions. However if you want a great arm workout I do like this pre-recorded 14-day program by Daily OM

Apps and AI

Some Apps I have personally worked with or have been recommended include:

Headspace - the very popular guided meditation App which has expanded to include music for focusing, and meditations to lull you back to sleep when you are suffering insomnia and frankly so much more than I have room to list. This app helped me meditate on a regular basis throughout the Covid Pandemic lock down and come out the other side a lot better off than I might have otherwise.

Calm - a lot like headspace but without the accents and cute cartoon characters. I like them both, but admit I used headspace a lot more often for the meditation and music and calm just for their music. 

Woebot - I have to admit this one freaks me out. Skynet anyone? I don't love the thought of sharing my emotions with the cloud. That said, though I am a fan, a lot of people don't love the thought of sharing their  emotions with a stranger they pay to listen to them either. Woebot claims to be grounded in clinical research and powered by AI, easy to talk to and fit into your life. "Your personal mental health ally that helps you get back to feeling like yourself." It is inexpensive, so not a big financial risk, but if you are really feeling depressed or anxious I recommend a live human person. 

Our mental health is an important part of who we are and it needs attention and care. Find what works for you and use it. I wish you all the best on your path to healing and justice. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Filed under DUH: Women face more harassment in the workplace than men.

 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released data confirming what plaintiff's employment attorneys (and Human resources professionals) already knew: that not only is sexual harassment targeting women more prevalent in the workplace so are all forms of discrimination and harassment and retaliation. (read the full EEOC report here) Of the nearly 30,000 complaints filed between 2018 and 2021, 78.2% of complaints  of sexual harassment were reported by women, and women made of 62% of the 98,000 total harassments charges alleging any basis (e.g. race, national origin). Keep in mind the numbers are much more sobering as 87% of sexual harassment victims still do not report the sexual harassment they suffer in the workplace for fear of retaliation. This number is down only a few percentage points since 2016.

    The numbers on the lack of reporting of sexual harassment was originally published in a 2016 EEOC report. Now updated to focus on charges alleging sexual harassment under Title VII filed with the agency beginning in 2018, when the #MeToo movement went viral. But the 2-3% increase in reports to the EEOC  do not show the whole story. Title VII requires an employer be a certain size before the statute offers protection. This Employment lawyer bore witness to a steep rise in calls by employees suffering sexual harassment in workplaces not covered by Title VII. 

These women were emboldened by the #MeToo movement and many felt it was finally safe to raise their voices and push back agaisnt harassment and assaults in the workplace. One example was a local paralegal who, disgusted by the hypocrisy she was surrounded by at her employment law firm workplace reported and then brought suit against her Seattle employment attorney employer for long-term sexual harassment culminating in assault. That lawsuit Merrin v. Teller can be read here.

Unfortunately, as with rape cases, (see Washington State untested rape kits report) there is still scant accountability for sexual harassment in the workplace and employees must weigh the very likely risk of retaliation against their statutory right to a safe workplace free from harassment, discrimination and sexual assault. 

For more information, contact this Seattle employment lawyer by providing information here. We will contact you as soon as possible if we can be of service.

COVID-19 Does My Employer have to Accommodate my Religious Exemption to Vaccination?

Under Title VII it is best practice for, "an employer should proceed on the assumption that a request for religious accommodation is based on sincerely held religious beliefs, practices or observances," the EEOC said in its updated guidance. "However, if an employer has an objective basis for questioning either the religious nature or the sincerity of a particular belief, the employer would be justified in making a limited factual inquiry and seeking additional supporting information."

The EEOC added, "An employee who fails to cooperate with an employer's reasonable requests for verification of the sincerity or religious nature of a professed belief, practice or observance risks losing any subsequent claim that the employer improperly denied an accommodation."

The EEOC has identified the following factors that might undermine the credibility of an employee's claim:

  • The employee has acted inconsistently with the professed belief. However, the EEOC said, "employees need not be scrupulous in their observance."
  • The employee is seeking a "particularly desirable" accommodation that is likely to be sought for nonreligious reasons.
  • The timing of the request is suspicious. For example, the employee may have recently requested the same benefit for secular reasons and been denied.
  • The employer otherwise has reason to believe the accommodation is not sought for religious reasons.

While prior inconsistent conduct is relevant to determining the sincerity of an employee's beliefs, the EEOC cautioned that an employee's beliefs (and degree of adherence to such beliefs) may change over time.

"An employer should not assume that an employee is insincere simply because some of the employee's practices deviate from the commonly followed tenets of the employee's religion, or because the employee adheres to some common practices but not others," the agency said. Employers can get the EEOC accommodation request form from the EEOC here.

Employees should be reasonable and cooperative in seeking accommodation. If the requested accommodation would cost your employer more than a trivial amount of money the law could consider the accommodation unreasonable that is - even a small cost can cause the employer  "undue hardship" in religious accommodation cases. Notably be aware that costs include the risk of spreading the coronavirus and other safety hazards.

But a blanket statement about the risk of spreading the virus is not enough. When assessing risk employers should consider objective information, such as whether the employee works outdoors or indoors; works alone or in a group; or has close contact with co-workers, customers or other business partners. If they don't employees may have a valid claim for any adverse action or failure to accommodate their exemption.

Recently Posted Gainey Employment Attorney

Workplace Bullying Project

          I just had the pleasure of meeting with the Workplace Bullying Project's founder Lauri Lilli. What a breathe of fresh air for ...