State of Washington
67th Legislature
2022 Regular Session
BySenators McCune, Fortunato, Padden, Short, Wagoner, J. Wilson, and L. Wilson
Prefiled 01/05/22.Read first time 01/10/22.Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs.
AN ACT Relating to restoring the jobs and volunteer positions of individuals who were terminated from employment despite exercising their personal medical and religious rights; and creating new sections.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. The legislature finds that thousands of Washingtonians were wrongfully terminated or pushed to resign from their jobs or volunteer positions due to the governor's proclamation 21-14, COVID-19 vaccination requirement. The legislature hereby disapproves of the governor's policy and intends to restore wrongfully terminated Washingtonians to their jobs or volunteer positions if they choose to return. The legislature finds that this policy is consistent with the individual rights to religious liberty and bodily integrity that Washingtonians sought to exercise before they were wrongfully terminated under proclamation 21-14. These rights are secured by, among other laws, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; and Article I, section 11 of the state Constitution. The legislature also finds that many Washingtonians who have exercised the right to decline vaccination may have developed natural immunity to COVID-19, and that such immunity is superior to vaccination for preventing COVID-19.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2. (1) Proclamation 21-14, and all subsequent versions, shall be deemed terminated on the effective date of this section. The governor shall rescind proclamation 21-14, and all subsequent versions, consistent with this section.
(2) Every employer that was subject to proclamation 21-14 when it was in effect shall offer to restore to employment any employee or volunteer who was terminated or resigned due to proclamation 21-14. Employees and volunteers who choose to return to employment or volunteer work must be provided with the same position, compensation, benefits, work responsibilities, and all other similar rights and obligations, as they maintained at the time of their separation from employment or volunteer work under proclamation 21-14.
(3) Any employee who would be entitled to return to work under this section, but who chooses not to exercise that right, is eligible to receive benefits as defined in RCW 50.04.040, and as otherwise consistent with chapter 50.04 RCW.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3. (1) An employer that is subject to this act may not terminate another employee to reopen the position of a person who is entitled to employment or a volunteer position under this act.
(2) This act may not be construed to protect an employee or volunteer whose job or position was restored under this act from being terminated or disciplined by his or her employer or supervisor for unsatisfactory work conduct or any other reason unrelated to proclamation 21-14.
--- END ---