The Washington State Senate passed HB 1762, Protecting Warehouse Employees, with several amendments supported by the Washington Retail Association. Although WR was hopeful the bill would fail to move forward, in the end, Senate leadership agreed to several changes to get the bill passed. The changes include:
- Removing the ability of an employee, former employee, or their designated representatives to file a private right of action for injunctive relief and, in the case of retaliation, for damages.
- Removing the ability of the Attorney General to bring a civil action for violations.
- Changing the standard for rebutting a presumption of retaliation from “clear and convincing” to “a preponderance of the evidence.” Although the bill contains a prohibition on retaliation, discrimination, or adverse action against an employee who exercises their rights under the bill, this is a much fairer standard.
Despite the changes, WR and our coalition partners remain opposed to the bill. HB 1762 now returns to the House for concurrence, where we expect the unions and trial lawyers to ask the prime sponsor, Rep. Beth Doglio, not to concur. Accordingly, this bill will likely be active until adjournment.