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May 2023: Washington Passes Warehouse Productivity Quota Protection Law

17 May


Update Applicable to:

All employers with 100 or more employees at a warehouse distribution center in the state.

What happened?

Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday, May 4, 2023, signed into law House Bill 1762, which provides protections against productivity quotas for warehouse workers.

What are the details?

Effective Date: July 1, 2024

The new law will require certain warehouse distribution center employers to:

  • Provide written descriptions of quotas and work speed data to employees.
  • Provide that quotas must include sufficient time for breaks and other activities.
  • Prohibit retaliation against employees and former employees and creates a rebuttable presumption.
  • Authorize the Department of Labor and Industries to investigate complaints and enforce provisions, including enforcement under the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act and the Minimum Wage Act.
  • Allow for a private right of action and for independent action by the Attorney General.

An employer must provide to each employee, upon hire, or within 30 days of the effective date, a written description of:

(a) Each quota to which the employee is subject, including the quantified number of tasks to be performed or materials to be produced or handled within a defined time period;

(b) Any potential adverse employment action that could result from failure to meet each quota; and

(c) Any incentives or bonus programs associated with meeting or 31 exceeding each quota.

“Quota” means a work performance standard, whether required or recommended, where:

(a) An employee is assigned or required to perform at a specified productivity speed, or perform a quantified number of tasks, or to handle or produce a quantified amount of material, within a defined time period and under which the employee may suffer an adverse employment action if they fail to complete the performance standard; or

(b) an employee’s actions are categorized between time performing tasks and not performing tasks, if the employee may suffer an adverse employment action if they fail to meet the performance standard.

Whenever a quota is changed, the employer must notify the employee of the new quota as soon as possible and before the employee is subject to the quota.  Notice can be verbal and must be followed by an updated written description within two business days.   

Whenever an employer takes adverse action against an employee for failing to meet a quota, the employer must provide the employee with the applicable quota and the employee’s personal work speed data.  

Prohibited Activities Involving Quotas

The time period in a quota must include:

  • time for rest and bathroom breaks, and reasonable time to travel to rest areas and bathroom facilities;
  • reasonable travel time to on-site designated meal break locations;
  • time to perform any activity required by the employer to do the work subject to the quota; and
  • time to take any actions necessary for the employee to exercise the right to a safe and healthy workplace under WISHA, including time to access tools or safety equipment.
  • Reasonable travel time must include consideration of the architecture and geography of the facility.

An employee is not required to meet a quota that violates the provisions regarding sufficient time, and an employer may not take adverse action against an employee for failing to meet a quota that:  (1) was not disclosed to the employee as required; or (2) violates the provisions requiring sufficient time.

A quota that does not allow time for bathroom breaks or time to take action necessary for the employee to exercise the right to a safe and healthful workplace or that exposes an employee to occupational safety and health hazards, violates WISHA, and WISHA enforcement procedures apply.  A quota that violates the other provisions may be enforced using procedures established by the bill.

For more information, please see the links below:

Law Firm Links: Article 1, Article 2

Bill: HB 1762 (Summary: Link)

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the above requirements and make the necessary preparations to ensure compliance with the new requirements prior to the effective date of the law.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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