Employers found by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) to be in violation of workplace standards during a state of emergency would catch a break on their first offense under a bill proposed by Rep. Gina Mosbrucker.
House Bill 1244 would prohibit civil penalties from being issued for first-time violations of workplace standards regulated under emergency procedures.
“The governor’s pandemic shutdown orders have been absolutely devastating to employers and small businesses across the state. Many have exhausted their savings just to stay open. Others have closed altogether,” said Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale. “In times like these, we need to provide assistance for businesses to come into compliance with workplace standards, not fines.”
Under the bill, if L&I finds a violation during an emergency proclamation, it would provide the employer with a written warning and educational materials on the state’s guidelines and restrictions under the proclamation.
“This bill is a start, as we learn to provide safety to our valued customers. We all want to safely reopen. Thousands of people have lost their jobs over the last 10 months because their employer has been shut down. We should not be inflicting further damage through fines,” said Mosbrucker. “This is about protecting jobs and fostering economic recovery across our state.”
The bipartisan-sponsored measure has been referred to the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.