Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Employee Illness Protection Act

The Employee Illness Protection Act


Employee is defined as any non-agricultural employee as defined by Washington State Law.

Insurance is defined as any underwritten health policy that requires a premium be paid at a regular interval which covers services relating to health and/or dental care and maintenance. 

Employer is defined as any entity which employs a person for the purposes of working for that entity's interests.

Sick or Illness is defined as a state of condition in which a person's health is not in homeostasis caused by exposure to micro-organisms, physical injury of any kind which causes a person to be unable to work with reasonable accommodation, or any mental condition which my impair a person's ability to function in a manner that is safe and with standard mental function which is able to be diagnosed by a medical professional.

Doctor is defined as one who is medically licensed to practice medicine in the State of Washington.


The purpose of this law is to protect employees who attempt to take responsibility for their own health and protect the health of those they work with and serve by ensuring that such actions of responsibility do not result in an employee being disciplined, censored, or terminated. It is also designed to help prevent the spread of work-borne and food-borne illness by employees.


1) No employer shall, through threats of disciplinary action, coerce an employee who is ill to report to work. This includes threatening a poor evaluation of an employee's work performance, reduction in pay, reduction in hours, changing or altering the nature of the employee's work, or any such related action deemed to be derogatory.

A) However, in regards to evaluation of an employee's work record, the employer MAY keep note of sick absences for the purposes of determining promotion and advancement as sick days may impact a business' ability to further its goals.

2) No employer shall require a doctor's note for an employee who is absent from work for three (3) or fewer scheduled working days within a work-week (Sunday through Saturday) with the following exceptions:

A) The employee has health insurance of any kind that will not create a financial burden for the employee.

B) The employer may require a doctor's note if the employer pays for the doctor's note. If this is the case, the employer must pay for the visit up front or request the office bill the employer directly.

C) The employee is a student in a state or private institution of higher learning and has access to a student clinic run by the institution.

3) Any employee fraudulently calling in as sick may be subject to immediate dismissal by their employer without notice if one of the following are true:

A) The employee admits it to their employer or is heard admitting it by their employer.

B) The employee is witnessed in public areas in which a normally sick person would not be. I.E. the employee is seen with their friends at the mall or movies or in a public area engaging in recreational activities that would not be engaged in if said employee was sick.

*) The employer is encouraged to seek an explanation from the employee in question before terminating an employee for this purpose.

4) Employers may not terminate an employee who attempts to protect the health of his or herself and those around them by refusing to work sick.

5) Any Employee that is ill for more than (3) three days, is required to get a doctor's note for their employer if requested to do so.

A) The requirements in Section (1) are lifted after the 3rd day of illness and the financial burden is solely the employee's responsibility.

6) Employers who violate this law are subject to a minimum of a $3000 fine per violation, and are subject to civil court action by the employee for violation of their rights under this law with a minimum judgment of $2,000+ court expenses. Other factors may increase the judgment to a maximum of $7,500.


1) This act does not cover self-inflicted substance abuse side effects such as hangovers and other related conditions. Employees who are sick due to intoxication are not protected by this legislation unless the employee is using a controlled substance with a doctor's prescription in proper dosage who's warning label expressly warns the user of said drug to not engage in activities which may endanger his or herself and others around them.

2) This act does not apply to employers which are under contract through labor unions. The worker will contact the labor union for their specific rules relating to staying home from work due to illness. In the event that Labor Union rules are more relaxed than the contents of this law. Any parts of this law that have greater requirements than Union contracts supersede those contracts specific requirements.

3) This act does not apply to public employee's of any kind unless they are not represented by a union. State-created government entities such as counties, cities, municipalities and localities' employees are protected by this act and are afforded all the rights and protections there-in provided they are not represented by a Union.

4) Tribal lands' employers are exempt from this law as it has no jurisdiction over them. However, the tribal governments are encouraged to adopt this law in hopes that it helps people within tribal communities feel more secure in their place of employment.

5) Any Tribal member who works off the reservation area IS protected by this law and is afforded all its protections.

6) All workers who physically work for a contracted labor job in the State of Washington, but who's company is not based physically in Washington are afforded the protections of this law. The contractor is subject to the obligations of this law as a condition of accepting contract agreements in this state.

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