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SEATTLE OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

Seattle Office for Civil Rights Rules
Chapter 70

 

EMPLOYEE DOCUMENTATION

SHRR 70-370           Reasonable documentation       

  1. In general. When employee uses paid sick/safe time for more than three consecutive days, an employer may require reasonable documentation that the sick/safe time is being used for a reason that is consistent with the Ordinance. See SMC 14.16.030(E).
  2. Paid sick time. Reasonable documentation for paid sick time shall consist of a signed statement by a health care provider indicating that sick time is necessary.
    1. Confidentiality. An employer may not require an explanation of the nature of the illness or other reason for the absence unless the absence is for a purpose covered by a federal, state, or other local law (e.g. leave for family medical leave, reasonable accommodation, workplace injury, etc.).  
  3. Paid safe time for domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Reasonable documentation for paid safe time shall communicate that the employee or the employee's family member is experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and that the leave was taken for a purpose covered by the Ordinance. Reasonable documentation may include a police report, court order, documentation that the employee or the employee's family member is experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or an employee's written statement. See SMC 14.16.030(F)(2), RCW 49.76.040(4) and WAC 296-135-070(3) and (4).
    1. Confidentiality. An employer may not require an explanation of the nature of the domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
    2. Employee's written statement. An employee's written statement, by itself, is acceptable documentation for use of paid safe time. An employee's written statement does not need to be in an affidavit format or notarized, but shall be legible if handwritten and shall reasonably make clear the employee's identity and, if applicable, the employee's relationship to the family member.

SHRR 70-380           Consecutive days

Consecutive days may be partial or full work days and are distinguishable from calendar days.

For example, an employee is scheduled to work on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The employee uses paid sick time for any portion of those three work days in a row. If the employee uses paid sick time again on the following Monday, the employee would have used paid sick time for more than three consecutive days and could be required by his or her employer to obtain reasonable documentation from a health care provider.

SHRR 70-390           Payment for documentation

  1. In general. For any employee who is not offered health insurance by the employer, the employer and the employee shall each pay half the cost of any out-of-pocket expense incurred by the employee in obtaining the employer-requested, reasonable documentation. These expenses are limited to the cost of services by health care professionals, the services of health care facilities, testing prescribed by health care professionals and transportation to the location where such services are provided. See SMC 14.16.030(E).
  2. Health insurance. Employees who are offered insurance by the employer but do not meet eligibility requirements (e.g. hours per week, etc.) shall be considered as employees who are not offered health insurance by the employer.
  3. Out of Pocket Expense. The out-of-pocket expenses for employer-requested, reasonable documentation shall not be unduly burdensome for the employer or employee.

SHRR 70-400           Documentation for clear instance or pattern of abuse

When there is a clear instance or pattern of abuse, an employer may require reasonable documentation to verify that an employee's use of paid sick/safe time is consistent with the Ordinance regardless of whether the employee has used paid sick/safe time for more than three consecutive days.

SHRR 70-410           Relationship to other laws

  1. In general. The Ordinance does not preempt, limit or otherwise affect the applicability of federal, state or other local laws that permit employers to make medical inquiries, including requests for more detailed information; require medical examinations; and/or require documentation for absences from work. See SMC 14.16.130.
  2. Medical inquiries, medical examinations and documentation. When an employee provides notice, or an employer has reason to know, that use of paid sick/safe time is for a purpose covered by a federal, state or other local law (e.g. direct threat to health and safety of others, family medical leave, reasonable accommodation, workplace injury, etc.), the employer may inform the employee of other legal requirements for medical inquiry, medical examination and documentation before the employee has used paid sick/safe time for more than three consecutive work days.
  3. Employee response. An employee's response to an employer's medical inquiry, request for medical examination or request for documentation may impact the employee's rights under a federal, state or other local law, but the employee shall retain the right to use paid sick/safe time under the Ordinance provided that he or she has met Ordinance requirements.

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