In 2022, the Washington State legislature passed, and the Governor signed, changes to RCW 49.58.110. Starting January 1, 2023, an employer with 15 or more employees must provide certain information in each posting for each job opening. Employers must disclose: (1) the wage scale or salary range, and (2) a general description of all the benefits and other compensation to be offered to the hired applicant.
What qualifies as a job “posting”? The statute says “any solicitation intended to recruit job applicants for a specific available position, including recruitment done directly by an employer or indirectly through a third party”. This includes “any postings done electronically, or with a printed hard copy, that includes qualifications for desired applicants.”
Is there a penalty for those employers who don’t provide this information? Yes. Per RCW 49.58.060, an employee can file a complaint with the state Department of Labor & Industries. If there is a violation, the Director of L & I will first attempt to resolve the violation by conference and conciliation. If no agreement is reached, the Director can issue a citation and notice of assessment, and order the employer to pay damages to the employee. Damages can be the actual damages or five thousand dollars, whichever is greater. On top of that, interest will apply, and the violator may owe repayment to Labor & Industries for the cost of the investigation and enforcement. Per RCW 49.58.070, the employee may also file a lawsuit against the employer.
This builds on the requirements of RCW 49.58.110 that have been in place since 2019, namely, that employers of 15 or more employees must provide the minimum wage or salary for the position upon an applicant’s request for the information. If there is no minimum wage or salary, the employer “must provide the minimum wage or salary expectation set by the employer prior to posting the position…”.
In short, when seeking applicants for job openings (even to internal applicants or for promotions) it is important to include the wage scale or salary range, and the benefits, wherever the job opening is published.