An isolated worker is defined as an employee who works as a: janitor, security guard, hotel or motel housekeeper or room service attendant and spends a majority of their working hours alone without another coworker present.
Employers in these industries must take required precautions to prevent sexual harassment and assault. Under RCW 49.60.515, hotels, motels, retail employers, security guard entities, and property services contractors must:
- Adopt a sexual harassment policy.
- Provide mandatory training to managers, supervisors, and employees to prevent sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination, and educate the workforce about protections for employees who report law violations.
- Provide a list of resources for employees to report harassment and assault.
- Provide a panic button to certain workers.
At a minimum, employers impacted by this law must provide employees with contact information for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, and local advocacy groups focused on preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault.
A panic button is an “emergency contact device” designed to be carried by the user and to summon immediate on-scene assistance from a security guard, coworker, or other employer-designated personnel.
Employees who must be provided panic buttons include janitors, some security guards, hotel or motel housekeepers, and room service attendants who:
- Spend a majority of their working hours alone, or
- Whose primary work responsibility involves working without another coworker present.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has developed and published guidance for employers relating to the panic button requirement.
Additional Requirements for Property Services Contractors
In addition to the requirements listed above, property services contractors are also required to submit the following information to L&I:
- The date their sexual harassment policy was adopted.
- The number of managers, supervisors, and employees trained on the policy.
- 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.
- The total hours worked.
A property service contractor is any person or entity that employs workers to provide commercial janitorial services for another person, or on behalf of an employer to provide janitorial services.
Property services contractors will be able to submit this information through the My L&I portal each quarter, beginning in April 2021.
Requirements for Employers by Industry
|Hotel and Motel Entities||Retail Entities||Security Guard Entities||Property Services Contractors|
|Adopt sexual harassment policy||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Provide mandatory training||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Provide a list of resources to report sexual harassment and sexual assault complaints||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Provide employees with panic buttons||Sometimes*||Not Applicable||Sometimes**||Yes|
|Submit data on policies, training, and employee work location and hours to L&I||Not Applicable||Not Applicable||Not Applicable||Yes|
*This applies only to employees working as housekeepers or room service attendants.
**This does not apply to contracted security guard entities licensed under RCW 18.170.
Assistance for Employers
To schedule a webinar or presentation to learn more about this law, please send your request to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isolated Worker Protections reporting guide: L&I has written a step-by-step guide on how to use the online application for reporting the information required by the law.
- U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Washington State Human Rights Commission
- RCW 49.60.515: Read the chapter of the Revised Code of Washington related to isolated worker protections
- Chapter 18.170: Read the chapter of the Revised Code of Washington related to licensed security guards.
- Q&A: Panic Buttons - Guidance for Employers in the Hospitality Industry