I have a friend who began a job at a large firm as an auditor at the end of 2017. The nature of this work is that there are two seasons: a busy season (Q1 and part of Q2 of any given year) and a slow season (the rest of the year). This feature of the work is part of what is advertised to new employees. This friend worked the busy season (60-80 hr weeks) and was recently fired as the slow season (20-40 hours) approached. Is it lawful for an employer to terminate an employee under the (here false) pretense of receiving some benefit (here shorter hours) for extremely difficult work (very long hours) at the beginning? This is of course assuming that the employee was doing fine work and was only fired since their use had already run its course. It feels as though this should not be allowed since, as an employer, I could continually higher people to do difficult work in the promise that something great will return later. It seems like a way to (essentially) hire hourly workers and require them to work overtime while not paying overtime (after reading the laws I believe this friend was exempt from overtime pay).
If it helps, the state is Washington.