Retaliation is Prohibited

The rights of employees to make a claim against an employer are protected under the Minimum Wage Act. It is unlawful for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any employee’s rights, including the lawful use of paid sick leave. L&I is required to investigate all such claims.

  • You cannot discipline any employee for using paid sick leave for authorized purposes, or for filing a complaint under the law. This includes:
    • Termination, suspension, demotion, or denying a promotion
    • Reducing pay or scheduled hours, or altering an employee’s preexisting work schedule
    • Threatening to take, or taking action based on the immigration status of an employee or their family members
  • You cannot adopt or enforce any policy that counts the use of paid sick leave for authorized purposes as an absence that may lead to or result in discipline against an employee.
  • Any actions taken to prevent an employee from exercising their rights, or preventing them from lawfully using their paid sick leave may be subject to investigation, civil penalties, and potential criminal liability.
  • If an employee thinks they are being or have been retaliated against by their employer for asserting their rights under the Minimum Wage Act, they have 180 days to file a claim, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Prohibited actions

You cannot impede or delay any investigation under the Minimum Wage Act, or refuse to admit any L&I representative access to your place of employment to inspect your records and investigate employee claims.

Under the Minimum Wage Act, it is unlawful to:

  • Terminate, or in any way discriminate against or discipline an employee who files, or intends to file a claim under the Act
  • Terminate, or in any way discriminate against or discipline an employee who testifies, intends or is otherwise compelled to testify during an investigation or trial
  • Refuse to admit L&I representatives to any place of employment
  • Fail to maintain, keep, and preserve required records
  • Falsify records, or refuse to make records available
  • Refuse to provide a sworn statement regarding records or other required information necessary to an investigation
  • Pay, or agree to pay, an employee less than the employee is entitled
  • Violate any other provisions of the Minimum Wage Act, including paid sick leave provisions