Administration & Enforcement of Tacoma's Employment Standards
Interfering with, restraining, or attempting to deny the exercise of any right protected under the paid leave or minimum wage laws is prohibited. Retaliation against any employees who attempt to exercise the rights provided by these ordinances is also prohibited. Violations of the paid leave or minimum wage laws may result in citation and civil penalties.
Ask a question or report a violation
When a complaint is received, a company-wide investigation is opened to ensure that all employees at the worksite are earning minimum wage and/or paid leave time. To learn more about confidentiality when reporting a violation, call us at (253) 591-5306. There are no fees for any employment standards services, and investigations do not include questions about workers' immigration status.
In accordance with the ordinances, the City of Tacoma will attempt to settle alleged violations by agreement with the employer first. When a case is settled by agreement, the employer will be asked to reimburse workers for any owed wages or paid leave (plus interest of 1% per month) and provide proof that they have come into compliance with the law.
Settling by agreement with cooperative employers often provides benefits for all parties: 1.) Benefits/wages are restored more quickly for workers; 2.) Citation/civil penalties are not assessed against the employer; and 3.) Less use of City resources due to speedier case resolution. Settlement is often the best enforcement mechanism when employers acting in good faith misstep due to misunderstandings about the law; however, the City will move forward with charges, citations, and/or civil penalties as needed to ensure compliance.
If a formal charge is filed, the City of Tacoma will work to reach a decision within 60 days, issuing either a “Determination of Compliance” or a “Notice of Assessment and Citation.” A civil penalty in the amount of $250 can be issued by the City of Tacoma for non-compliance. In some cases of willful non-compliance, the civil penalty can increase to two times the amount of the total value of wages or Paid Leave hours owed.
Employers and employees can request an administrative review of the decision by the City of Tacoma. After an administrative review decision is issued by the City of Tacoma, an appeal can be made to the City of Tacoma’s Hearings Examiner.
Certification of Compliance
Businesses will certify on their City of Tacoma annual business license application that they are in compliance with the paid leave and minimum wage laws. Those who are not required to be licensed in the City of Tacoma (a rare circumstance) can complete the online certification form.