Employee Handbooks - Work Rules - Employee Conduct: Washington
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Gloria Ju
- Washington is an employment at-will state, and it recognizes that an employee handbook can alter the at-will relationship. See At-Will Nature of Employment.
- State employees have the right to vote, express political opinions and participate in a political campaign. See Work Rules Concerning Political Activity and Employee Expression of Views.
- State and municipal officers must comply with Washington's laws on ethics. See Work Rules Concerning Employee Codes of Conduct, Ethics and Conflicts of Interest.
- The Washington Law Against Discrimination prohibits discrimination based on marital status, with exceptions for actual and potential conflicts of interest. See Work Rules Concerning Personal Relationships and Personal Activities.
- Although Washington legalized medical marijuana, employers are free to establish drug-free workplace policies that do not accommodate the use of medical marijuana. See Work Rules Concerning Alcohol, Drug Use and Smoking.
- Washington prohibits smoking in any place of employment. See Work Rules Concerning Alcohol, Drug Use and Smoking.
- Employers can have a policy prohibiting employees from bringing their pets to work, but must make an exception for service animals. See Work Rules Regarding Safety and Health.
- State agencies and schools must have written sexual harassment policies. See Work Rules Regarding Workplace Violence and Harassment.
- Washington requires the consent of all parties to a communication in order to legally intercept or record the communication. See Work Rules Regarding Use of Employer Equipment, Vehicles and Communication Systems.
- Employers with gender-specific dress codes must understand how to apply it to transgender employees. See Work Rules Regulating Employee Dress, Grooming and Personal Appearance.
- Employees are entitled to 30-minute meal breaks and 10-minute rest breaks. See Break Times and Meal Times.
- Employees must be paid at least monthly, and employers must establish regular paydays. See Regular Payday.
- Attendance policies must take into account state laws regarding military leave; pregnancy, parental, and family leave; emergency services leave; and domestic violence leave. State and school employees have additional leave rights. See Work Rules Regarding Attendance, Tardiness and Timekeeping.
- Employers must understand that an employee terminated for misconduct according to the company handbook may be able to collect unemployment benefits. See Work Rules Concerning Employee Misconduct.
- Localities including SeaTac, Seattle and Tacoma have requirements pertaining to employee handbooks, work rules and employee conduct.See Local Requirements.