Wilcox calls on L&I to rescind new policy requiring employers to confirm if employees are fully vaccinated

On May 21, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) released new state COVID-19 workplace safety and health guidance relating to masking and social distancing policies. L&I said, in part:

  • Before ending mask and social distance requirements, employers must confirm workers are fully vaccinated – by having the worker either sign a document attesting to their status or provide proof of vaccination.
  • Employers must be able to demonstrate they have verified vaccination status for workers who are not masked or physically distanced. Verification methods may include:
    • Creating a log of workers who have verified they've been vaccinated and the date of verification;
    • Checking vaccination status each day as workers enter a job site;
    • Marking a worker's badge or credential to show that they are vaccinated; or
    • Other methods demonstrating an employer has verified worker vaccination status may also meet the standard.

House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox released the following statement today:   

“Our state should not require employers to ask their employees if they are fully vaccinated for any reason. Forcing employers to ask and record this personal medical decision violates employee privacy and is fundamentally wrong. People never envisioned having to do this and the question is, what's next? Governor Inslee's Department of Labor and Industries needs to rescind this new, unworkable policy immediately.

“Once again, the executive branch is making unilateral decisions and advancing poorly constructed COVID-related policies. The inaction of legislative Democrats means that the governor has seen no check to his authority and this has naturally led to overreach. In one week, the governor has burned bridges with legislators in both chambers, tribes, employers and employees. We need legislative Democrats to understand these problems, and their real-world ramifications, and work with us on solutions to address them.”

Background:

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov