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February 27, 2014
It Pays To Pay Workers' Comp


            The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is cracking down on employers who don’t pay workers’ compensation payments, also known as Industrial Insurance Premiums.

            The Attorney General of Washington has filed eight felony charges against a Lakewood landscaper for failing to make workers’ compensation payments.  An L&I press release (here) noted that the employer is facing one count of doing business without workers’ comp insurance and seven counts of making false reports to L&I.  Each charge is a Class C felony carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

            While it can be difficult to navigate the ever changing requirements of Industrial Insurance, Eisenhower Carlson recommends some simple dos and don’ts to all its clients.

            DO pay all legitimate industrial insurance premiums. The state can bring civil and criminal charges to enforce payment and it’s not worth the risk.

            DO NOT ignore notices from L&I about job classifications or re-classifications. L&I sets industrial insurance premiums according to standardized, reviewable job classifications.  However, L&I often makes mistakes or takes an aggressive interpretation of a job’s duties, and an employer who ignores a notice might be surprised to open up a Notice and Order of Assessment of Industrial Insurance Taxes and discover that the state is asking for tens of thousands of dollars in back premiums and penalties.

            DO challenge any erroneous L&I classification or assessment. Once a Notice and Order of Assessment of Industrial Insurance Taxes has been issued an employer only has a limited time to challenge the assessment. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.    

            As the recent case shows, the failure to pay Industrial Insurance premiums can have serious personal and financial ramifications for companies and their owners.  We at Eisenhower Carlson have an experienced legal team ready to assist you with your employment and labor law issues, including dealing with L&I industrial insurance premium audits.  Our attorneys are ready to help you evaluate your options and navigate the confusing and often stressful area of industrial insurance.     Please feel free to contact us at (253 572-4500).


           In addition to L&I audits, Eisenhower Carlson also handles several other areas of law for our business and individual clients.  They include arbitration and mediation, real estate and land use, state and local tax, and technology and intellectual property transactions.  For a more in-depth introduction to our attorneys and their experience, click (here) and (here).


This advisory is a publication of Eisenhower Carlson PLLC. Our purpose in publishing this advisory is to inform our clients and friends of recent legal developments. It is not intended, nor should it be used, as a substitute for specific legal advice as legal counsel may only be given in response to inquiries regarding particular situations.

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