Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1969 NO. 1 >

(1) When computing the "average cost of pension claims," under RCW 51.16.020, for the purpose of determining the premium charges to employers under the state industrial insurance act, it is legally permissible for the department of labor and industries to use a five year averaging period in the absence of any statutory provision to the contrary. (2) It is not legally permissible for the department of labor and industries to include fatalities of unmarried workmen who leave no surviving beneficiaries or dependents in computing the "average cost of pension claims" under RCW 51.16.020, since such cases do not involve "pension claims" within the meaning of the industrial insurance act.

AGO 1985 NO. 2 >

When an industrially-injured worker continues to receive temporary total disability compensation from the Department of Labor and Industries while participating in an approved vocational rehabilitation plan consisting of on-the‑job training and there is no payment of wages by the training employer to the worker, court decisions support the proposition that state or federal minimum wage laws generally will not be applicable; nevertheless, if sufficient other indicia of an employer-employee relationship are present a court could still find an on-the‑job trainee to have crossed the line to becoming an employee for minimum wage law purposes.

AGO 2005 NO. 3 >

The Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals may use money in the accident fund or the medical aid fund to process and adjudicate appeals arising under Laws of 1996, ch. 226 or Laws of 2003, ch. 402, although the Legislature may in its discretion provide other sources of funding for this activity.

AGO 1984 NO. 5 >

(1) Professional athletes who enter into contracts with, and are paid by, athletic organizations domiciled outside of the State of Washington are, nevertheless, covered by the Washington industrial insurance (i.e., workers' compensation) system when they are assigned to, and are playing for, an organization or team domiciled in Washington. (2) Hockey players under contract with a Washington domiciled "amateur" hockey league team are not covered by the Washington industrial insurance system if the only remuneration they receive is limited to, and is the nature of, travel expense reimbursement or coverage and no other form of compensation is paid; if, however, the players are receiving some further compensation for their services, as well, they would be "workers" and, therefore, covered. (3) Industrial insurance coverage for semiprofessional athletes will be dependent upon the particular facts of each case from the standpoint of whether or not the athletes are compensated for their services as such so as to cause them to be "workers" within the meaning of RCW 51.08.180.

AGO 1986 NO. 5 >

The permanent common school fund, public pension and retirement funds, and the industrial insurance trust funds may be invested in securities lending agreements and reverse repurchase agreements pursuant to amendments to the Washington Constitution which allow such funds to be invested as authorized by law.

AGO 1983 NO. 8 >

Sections 1 through 13 of chapter 63, Laws of 1982, relating to vocational rehabilitation for injured workers, are remedial statutes which apply retroactively to such workers regardless of the date of injury; § 18, however, applies prospectively only to those workers whose deaths were caused by injuries that occurred on or after January 1, 1983.

AGLO 1979 NO. 9 >

Under the provisions of chapter 51.24 RCW, as amended by chapter 85, Laws of 1977, 1st Ex. Sess. (SSB 2154), either the State Department of Labor and Industries or a self-insured employer may legally approve a settlement between an injured worker (or beneficiary) and a third party tortfeasor which is for an amount less than the amount already disbursed by the department or self-insurer for industrial insurance benefits.

AGO 1968 NO. 14 >

RCW 51.16.130, relating to the distribution of catastrophe costs under the industrial insurance act, is applicable so as to reduce the charges to the class accounts of an employer which are required by RCW 51.16.020, in the case of an industrial accident in which three or more employees of a single employer are fatally or otherwise injured as specified therein, irrespective of whether the same three or more employees were also engaged in a single class of employment.

AGO 1984 NO. 15 >

Where an employer who is certified to self-insure its workers' compensation obligations has paid a permanent partial disability award to an employee who subsequently becomes totally and permanently disabled from the combined effects of the injury and a preexisting disability, that employer is then required to pay into the state pension reserve fund the accident cost which would have resulted solely from the injury had there been no preexisting disability.

AGO 1994 NO. 18 >

The Department of Labor and Industries has authority in prescribing the conduct of medical examinations conducted pursuant to the state's industrial insurance program (RCW 51.32.110) to prohibit the patient and third parties from recording such examinations, and such action is not inconsistent with RCW 9.73.030 or other Washington law.