Eligibility requirements — Exceptions — Burden of proof.
(1) In order to be eligible for the benefits of this chapter, an applicant must comply with the following requirements:
(a) The applicant must notify his or her employer as to his or her membership in the uniformed services within a reasonable time of accepting employment or becoming a member of the uniformed services. An employer may not take any action prohibited in RCW 73.16.032 against a person because the person provided notice of membership in the uniformed services to the employer.
(b) The applicant must furnish a receipt of an honorable, or under honorable conditions discharge, report of separation, certificate of satisfactory service, or other proof of having satisfactorily completed his or her service. Rejectees must furnish proof of orders for examination and rejection.
(c) The applicant must make written application to the employer or his or her representative as follows:
(i) In the case of an applicant whose period of service in the uniformed services was less than thirty-one days, by reporting to the employer:
(A) Not later than the beginning of the first full regularly scheduled work period on the first full calendar day following the completion of the period of service and the expiration of eight hours after a period allowing for the safe transportation of the applicant from the place of that service to the applicant's residence; or
(B) As soon as possible after the expiration of the eight-hour period in (c)(i)(A) of this subsection, if reporting within that period is impossible or unreasonable through no fault of the applicant;
(ii) In the case of an applicant who is absent from a position of employment for a period of any length for the purposes of an examination to determine the applicant's fitness to perform service in the uniformed services, by reporting in the manner and time referred to in (c)(i) of this subsection;
(iii) In the case of an applicant whose period of service in the uniformed services was for more than thirty days but less than one hundred eighty-one days, by submitting an application for reemployment with the employer not later than fourteen days after the completion of the period of service or if submitting such application within such period is impossible or unreasonable through no fault of the applicant, the next first full calendar day when submission of such application becomes possible;
(iv) In the case of an applicant whose period of service in the uniformed services was for more than one hundred eighty days, by submitting an application for reemployment with the employer not later than ninety days after the completion of the period of service;
(v) In the case of an applicant who is hospitalized for, or convalescing from, an illness or injury incurred or aggravated during the performance of service in the uniformed services, at the end of the period that is necessary for the applicant to recover from such illness or injury, the applicant shall submit an application for reemployment with such employer. The period of recovery may not exceed two years. This two-year period shall be extended by the minimum time required to accommodate the circumstances beyond the applicant's control that make reporting within the two-year period impossible or unreasonable;
(vi) In the case of an applicant who fails to report or apply for employment or reemployment within the appropriate period specified in this subsection (1)(c), the applicant does not automatically forfeit his or her entitlement to the rights and benefits conferred by this chapter, but is subject to the conduct rules, established policy, and general practices of the employer pertaining to explanations and discipline with respect to absence from scheduled work.
(d) An applicant who submits an application for reemployment shall provide to the applicant's employer, upon the request of that employer, documentation to establish that:
(i) The application is timely;
(ii) The applicant has not exceeded the service limitations set forth in this section, except as permitted under (c)(v) of this subsection; and
(iii) The applicant's entitlement to the benefits under this chapter has not been terminated pursuant to (e) of this subsection.
(e) The applicant must return and reenter the office or position within the appropriate period specified in (c) of this subsection after serving four years or less in the uniformed services other than state-ordered active duty: PROVIDED, That any period of additional service imposed by law, from which one is unable to obtain orders relieving him or her from active duty, will not affect reemployment rights.
(f) The applicant must return and reenter the office or position within the appropriate period specified in (c) of this subsection after serving twelve weeks or less in a calendar year in state-ordered active duty: PROVIDED, That the governor, when declaring an emergency that necessitates a longer period of service, may extend the period of service in state-ordered active duty to up to twelve months after which the applicant is eligible for the benefits of this chapter.
(2) The failure of an applicant to provide documentation that satisfies rules adopted pursuant to subsection (1)(c) of this section shall not be a basis for denying reemployment in accordance with the provisions of this chapter if the failure occurs because such documentation does not exist or is not readily available at the time of the request of the employer. If, after such reemployment, documentation becomes available that establishes that the applicant does not meet one or more of the requirements referred to in subsection (1)(d) of this section, that applicant's employer may terminate the employment of the person and the provision of any rights or benefits afforded the person under this chapter.
(3) An employer may not delay or attempt to defeat a reemployment obligation by demanding documentation that does not then exist or is not then readily available.
(4) The application in subsection (1) of this section is not required if the giving of such application is precluded by military necessity or, under all of the relevant circumstances, the giving of such notice is otherwise impossible or unreasonable. A determination of military necessity for the purposes of this subsection shall be made by the adjutant general of the state of Washington military department and is not subject to judicial review.
(5) In any proceeding involving an issue of whether (a) reemployment is impossible or unreasonable because of a change in an employer's circumstances, (b) reemployment would impose an undue hardship on the employer, or (c) the employment is for a temporary position, the employer has the burden of proving the impossibility or unreasonableness, undue hardship, or the brief or nonrecurrent nature of the employment without a reasonable expectation of continuing indefinitely or for a significant period.
[2001 c 133 § 6; 1969 c 16 § 1; 1953 c 212 § 3.]
| Effective date -- 2001 c 133: See note following RCW 73.16.005.|