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Court Upholds L&I Emergency Rule to Fine Businesses

June 22, 2020

We are troubled to report that last Friday, Thurston County Superior Court Judge John C. Skinder denied BIAW’s request to stay the emergency rule recently adopted by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). The court ruling allows the agency to continue issuing fines of up to $10,000 to businesses L&I inspectors deem out of compliance with Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. These fines are in addition to the state’s authority to shut down businesses, revoke business licenses and pursue criminal penalties.

While today’s decision was not a final ruling on BIAW’s lawsuit contending the L&I emergency rule violates due process and exceeds the statutory authority given to the agency by the Legislature, the new fining authority will now continue to be utilized by the agency if BIAW persists with the case. (We are still considering all of our legal options.)

We will be watching very closely how L&I utilizes this expanded enforcement authority to punish employers, many of whom are already on the verge of bankruptcy due to no fault of their own. If your business receives such a fine, please contact me ( or BIAW General Counsel Jackson Maynard ( as soon as possible.

BIAW will continue to fight for you, your business, and your employees as you work to recover from the economic shutdown ordered by Gov. Inslee. We will also keep you updated on further action on L&I’s emergency rule.

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