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WashingtonLawHelp.orgWashington LawHelp

Do You Work in the Forest?

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project LSC Funded
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Spanish / Español

Your rights as a forestry worker. #2910EN

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Most forestry workers have rights as the employer's "employee." If you have questions about whether you are an "employee" or an "independent contractor," call:

Northwest Justice Project:

Wenatchee
300 Okanogan Avenue, Suite 3-A
Wenatchee, WA  98801
(509) 664-5101
1-888-201-1021

Yakima
311 N. 4th Street, Suite 201
Yakima, WA  98901
(509) 574-4234
1-888-201-1018

Bellingham
1814 Cornwall
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 734-8680
1-888-562-8836

Columbia Legal Services

Wenatchee
300 Okanogan Avenue, Suite 2-A
Wenatchee, WA  98801
(509) 662-9681
1-800-572-9615

Yakima
600 Larson Building
6 South Second Street
Yakima, WA  98901
(509) 575-5593
1-800-631-1323

Tri-Cities
7103 Clearwater Ave, Ste C
Kennewick, WA  99336
(509) 374-9855
1-888-201-9735

Does it matter if I am an employee or an independent contractor?

Employees have more legal rights than independent contractors do. Employers or contractors might try to treat you like an "independent contractor" or "partner" even though you are an "employee" under the law. Then you might not get any of the benefits listed here even though you may have the right to them. 

*The way in which you work determines your legal rights. It does not matter what your employer calls you.

What rights do I have as an employee?

You have these rights:

Worker's Compensation:  If you are hurt at work, you have the right to get worker's compensation. This pays your medical costs and pays you for work time lost due to injury. 

Terms of your job in writing:  When the employer offers you work, you have the right to get a paper from them explaining:

  • How much pay you will get and how often.

  • How long the work will last.

  • Any bonuses you will get.

  • Any money they are going to take out of your pay (deductions).

Unemployment insurance:  The employer pays into the unemployment compensation fund for when you are not working anymore. 

Pay stubs:  The employer must give you a wage stub (piece of paper) showing:

  • How much work you have done.

  • Money they have taken out of your wages (deductions).

  • Why they have taken those deductions.

  • The hours you worked.

Minimum wage:  If you are an adult, the employer must pay you at least $13.50 an hour, even if you are working by piece rate. There are some exceptions.

Protection from discrimination:  It is illegal for your employer to fire you because you exercise your rights under these laws.

Last Review and Update: Jan 30, 2020
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