Businesses that open before the governor’s orders allow them to could be fined nearly $10,000. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Businesses that open before the governor’s orders allow them to could be fined nearly $10,000. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Emergency rules allow L&I to fine businesses violating governor’s orders

The fine is nearly $10,000.

Washington’s department of Labor and Industries just announced that businesses that violate Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to re-open Washington state’s economy in phases may be cited and fined for unsafe workplace conditions, according to new emergency rules filed today, May 26.

The new rules, filed by L&I, stipulate that the department can levy a closure order on businesses that “are operating illegally,” a press release stated. If those businesses decline to close, they can receive a fine of nearly $10,000.

“We’re all in this together, and most businesses are doing the right thing for our state and our communities. Unfortunately, there are some that are choosing not to,” L&I Director Joel Sacks said in a press release. “The coronavirus is a known workplace hazard and businesses must follow the requirements to keep their workers and the public safe.”

“It’s not fair to employers who are following the law when other businesses defy it,” the release continued.

Tim Church, the department’s director of communications, said businesses will be contacted through a “three-step process”.

“This is more important, if you ask me — our goal is for businesses to be operating in the correct way under the current governor’s order and current phased approach. That’s why it’s a three-step process,” he said, saying the first thing L&I will do after receiving a complaint is to come out, check the situation, and discuss the complaint. “If it turns out they are violating the rules, we’re going to make sure they understand that, and we’re going to send them a letter… to reiterate what the discussion was, that they are violating a rule. The third step is to be doing some spot checks to see if the ones we’ve contacted and informed that they’re violating a rule, and sent a letter that they were violating a rule and asked them not to, then we do spot checks.”

If the spot check reveals the business remains open when it shouldn’t, or if they’re performing work they’re not supposed to be performing, then the fine will be levied.

Businesses are able to contest these fines like they would any other L&I fine.

Church added that L&I highly recommends any complaints previously filed against a business should be re-filed, as the department is not going to go back through past complaints and perform check-ups.

“We not going to go backwards in time,” he said.

An online form for people to report suspected violations of the Governor’s orders is available at https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/09349a1c56844b539fea1c2cabd16d56?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery. This form can be used to report non-essential businesses opening, restaurants allowing dine-in services, businesses not following social distancing rules, large gatherings, and more.

If you’re unfamiliar with the essential business guidelines, visit https://coronavirus.wa.gov/whats-open-and-closed/essential-business.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

File photo
As new COVID-19 variant looms, vaccination disparities linger in King County

County data shows gaps among age, geography and race.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn
King County Councilmember Dunn will challenge Rep. Kim Schrier for U.S. Congress seat

The current County Councilmember would be following in his late mother’s footsteps

Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO
King County and Port of Seattle to collaborate on waste-to-fuel study

The study is aimed at identifying logistics of developing aviation fuel out of municipal garbage.

file photo
Department of Health announces QR code verification program to prove vaccination status

WA Verify is intended to make vaccine verification simpler and more efficient.

Patti Cole-Trindall
King County Executive appoints Patti Cole-Tindall as interim sheriff

Cole-Tindall has a background in the sheriff’s office and county government.

Elaine Simons, former foster mother of Jesse Sarey, addresses a crowd outside the Maleng Regional Justice Center on Aug. 24, 2020, moments after Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson was formally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the May 31, 2019, shooting death of 26-year-old Sarey in front of a north Auburn convenience store. File photo
Jesse Sarey’s family wants people to know who the real Jesse was

He was killed by Auburn police officer Jeffrey Nelson in 2019.

A Snoqualmie Officer was involved in a shooting Tuesday night, Nov. 16. Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Police Department.
Man killed by Snoqualmie Police was homeless, living in car

The 33-year-old man who was killed by a Snoqualmie police officer late… Continue reading

Mid-afternoon traffic on northbound Interstate 5 on Nov. 22 near Everett. Dan Bates/The Herald
Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic

Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go.

Comparison map between current district map and proposed draft. (Screenshot from King County’s website)
King County proposes redistricting map, asks for feedback from public

Public invited to comment at November 30 public hearing.

The Washington State Redistricting Commission held a public meeting over Zoom on Monday night to draw the final legislative and congressional district boundaries. Most of the five-hour session was spent in "caucus meetings" which were unavailable to the viewing public. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Bipartisan commission fails to draw new political boundaries

For the first time in state history, the Supreme Court will define new congressional and legislative districts.

Homeless encampment in a wooded area in Auburn on Aug. 27, 2021. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
What the history of homelessness in our region can teach us about our current crisis

A talk with the author of “Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City.”

courtesy of PropertyShark
State’s richest zip codes are all in East King County, according to home value study

Medina zip code ranks among top 10 most affluent in the nation.