New state law aims to protect mental health patients – Potential fines to employers who violate privacy

Jul 31, 2019
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Written by Washington Retail
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Employers should be aware of a new state law that took effect this week regarding workers compensation claims with mental health conditions.
HB 1909, unanimously approved by the Legislature this year, distinguishes job-related mental and physical injuries and adds financial penalties for violating the confidentiality of mental health patients. Employers or their duly authorized representative(s) are now subject to civil penalties of $1,000 for each occurrence for disclosing the confidential information in a workers’ compensation claim, specifically any mental health condition or treatment.
The bill originated after firefighters requested that state law be strengthened in cases of post-traumatic stress. The law aims to ensure that all patients with mental health challenges will be motivated to get the care they need.
If you have questions about the law, contact Bruce Beckett, WR contract lobbyist specializing in labor law, at 360-480-5258 or [email protected].