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Training and Development: Washington

Training and Development requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Jessica Sussman


Sexual Harassment Training

Public Employees

Washington law requires public employees to be educated with respect to sexual harassment issues. +Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 41.06.395. Education may consist of the following:

  • Written materials;
  • Formal training;
  • Educational videos;
  • Orientation sessions;
  • Workplace discussions; or
  • Individual counseling.


School districts must adopt and implement a written policy concerning sexual harassment, post the policy and develop a process for discussing the policy. +Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 28A.640.020.

Hazardous Waste Generators and Users

Certain hazardous waste generators and users must implement an employee training program as part of a voluntary reduction plan. +Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 70.95C.200.

Healthcare Workers

Healthcare facility employees have specialized education and training requirements under Washington law. +Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 70.24.310.

Suicide Prevention Training

Mental health professionals have specialized training requirements regarding suicide prevention under the Matt Adler Suicide Assessment, Treatment and Management Act of 2012. +Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 43.70.442. Beginning January 1, 2014, members of the following professions, including those with retired active licenses, must receive training in suicide assessment, treatment and management that is approved by the relevant disciplinary authority:

  • Chemical dependency professionals;
  • Marriage and family therapists;
  • Mental health counselors;
  • Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants;
  • Psychologists; and
  • Advanced social workers and independent clinical social workers.

Covered professionals must receive this training at least once every six years. Depending on the particular profession, the training must be either three or six hours in length.

The following categories of employees are exempt from this requirement if an employee receives at least six hours of suicide prevention training every six years from his or her employer:

  • A state or local government employee;
  • An employee of a community mental health agency; and
  • An employee of a certified chemical dependency program.

Gambling Operators and Liquor Sellers

The following employers should institute controlled purchase programs for purposes of compliance monitoring and employee training:

Employees in these regulated industries may have to furnish proof of training for permitting and/or licensing purposes. +Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 66.20.310.

Apprenticeship Training

Washington's Apprenticeship and Training Council administers the federal apprenticeship program in the state.

Recordkeeping Requirements for Public Contractors

Public contractors may have recordkeeping and inspection requirements regarding employee training. +Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 39.29.055.

Targeted Training and Workforce Development Programs

Washington's employment security department has established several programs regarding training for specific workers. For example, the following programs have been implemented:

The Department of Veterans Affairs administers the following programs:

Job Skills Program

Washington law eases small businesses' financial burden in providing training to employees under the state's job skills program. +Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 28C.04.420.

Washington's job skills program allows small businesses to provide the cost of the trainees' salaries and benefits during training, rather than matching the cost of the job skills program grant amount. Larger businesses (i.e., with an annual gross business income of $500,000 or more) will continue to match the cost of the requested job skills grant.

Future Developments

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Prevention for Isolated Workers

Washington has strengthened its sexual harassment prevention requirements with respect to certain industries that employ isolated workers. +2019 Bill Text WA S.B. 5258, adding a new section to Chapter 49.60 RCW. See EEO - Harassment: Washington.

The law takes effect:

  • January 1, 2020, for hotels and motels with 60 or more rooms; and
  • January 1, 2021, for all other covered employers.

Covered Employers

The law covers employers in the hotel, motel, retail, security guard and property services contractor industries.

Employer means any person, association, partnership, property services contractor or public or private corporation, whether for-profit or not, who employs one or more persons.

Property services contractor means any person or entity that employs workers:

  • To perform labor for another person to provide commercial janitorial services; or
  • On behalf of an employer to provide commercial janitorial services.

The term does not include the Employment Security Department or individuals who perform labor under an agreement for exchanging their own labor or services with each other, provided the work is performed on land owned or leased by the individuals.

Security guard means an individual who is principally employed as, or typically referred to as, a security officer or guard, regardless of whether the individual is:

Covered Employees

Employee means an individual who:

  • Spends a majority of work hours alone, or whose primary work responsibility involves working without another co-worker present; and
  • Is employed by a covered employer as a:
    • Janitor;
    • Security guard;
    • Hotel or motel housekeeper; or
    • Room service attendant.

Compliance Requirements

The law requires covered employers to:

  • Adopt a sexual harassment policy;
  • Provide mandatory training to the employer's managers, supervisors and employees to:
    • Prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace;
    • Prevent sexual discrimination in the workplace; and
    • Educate the employer's workforce regarding protections for employees who report violations of a state or federal law, rule or regulation;
  • Provide a list of resources for the employer's employees to utilize. At a minimum, the resources must include:
    • Contact information of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission;
    • The Washington State Human Rights Commission; and
    • Local advocacy groups focused on preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault; and
  • Provide a panic button to each employee. The law requires the Department of Labor and Industries to publish advice and guidance for employers with 50 or fewer employees relating to the panic button provision.

A property services contractor must submit the following to the Department:

  • The date of adoption of the required sexual harassment policy;
  • The number of managers, supervisors and employees trained; and
  • The physical address of the work location or locations at which janitorial services are provided by workers of the property services contractor, and for each location:
    • The total number of workers or contractors of the property services contractor who perform janitorial services; and
    • The total hours worked.

The Department is expected to provide a form or further instructions on the manner of submission of this information.

There are no other developments to report. Continue to check XpertHR regularly for the latest information on this and other topics.

Additional Resources

EEO - Discrimination: Washington

HR and Workplace Safety: Washington