top of page

Moore v. Health Care Authority
and State of Washington

King County Superior Court

Civil Case No. 06-2-21115-4 SEA

Non-Permanent State Employees Health Benefits Case

This class action was brought by State of Washington employees who worked at least half-time on nonstandard work schedules.  The employees were eligible for employer-paid health insurance, but the State failed to provide that health insurance even though the employees averaged at least half-time.  This class consisted mainly of employees that the Health Care Authority classified as "nonpermanent" and "career seasonal" employees.

The Superior Court held that class members were entitled to receive state-paid health insurance.  This case settled, and the Court entered findings of fact, conclusions of law, and an order approving the Settlement Agreement on June 24, 2016.  Read more about the procedural history and browse case documents below.

Case History

This case was brought in June 2006 on behalf of part-time State of Washington employees who worked at least half-time on nonstandard work schedules but were wrongly denied employer-paid health insurance.  In a series of partial summary judgment rulings, the trial court ruled that the State violated multiple statutes when it failed to provide those health benefits.  The Legislature later codified the rulings, i.e., it placed in the Trial court's substantive rulings on the eligibility rules that were formerly in WAC 182-12-115 into the statute itself, RCW 41.05.065. 

In liability rulings, the trial court ruled that under the eligibility rules prior to 2010 employees who average half-time over six months (80 hours/month or 480 hours over six months) are eligible for health insurance.  The Legislature then codified the trial court's ruling.  The statute now states that "[a]n employee who works an average of at least 80 hours per month over a period of six consecutive months" is eligible for health insurance.  RCW 41.05.065(4)(a) (2010).  Similarly, the trial court ruled that employees who "averaged" half-time work on a nine month or longer seasonal or instructional year basis are eligible for year-round benefits.  The Legislature codified the trial court's ruling.   RCW 41.05.065(4)(b) (2010)

In October 2010, after the Legislature codified the rulings, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint re-iterating that the State continued to violate RCW Ch. 41.06 (now with the codified eligibility rules), along with RCW 49.44.170 (the Public Employee Misclassification Act).   Plaintiffs again sought damages and an injunction.

In 2011, the trial court granted plaintiffs' motion to compel the State to identify class members who met the eligibility criteria for health insurance (as ruled on by the trail court) and their "eligible months," i.e. the months they were eligible for, but were denied health insurance.  The trial court also ordered that class members receive notices with an opportunity to opt out. 

Class
Members

King County Superior Court certified the following class:

Non-Permanent Employees.  Persons who worked an average of at least half-time over a six month period and who were denied health care benefits commencing in the seventh month of employment, or in any month thereafter where the employee received pay for at least eight hours of work.

Career Seasonal/Instructional Year Employees.  Persons who worked: (a) an average of at least half-time over a nine, ten, or eleven month working season with some hours worked in each month of the season; (b) followed by a three, two, or one month off-season, respectively, in which the person did not work; (c) followed by a return to work in the same position as demonstrated by some hours worked in the first month of the second season; and (d) who were denied health care benefits.

For purposes of identifying persons who meet the class definition, "half-time" meant 80 hours per month.

An employee receiving or waiving health benefits who is terminated or voluntarily resigns, but is later rehired, may not use hours worked prior to termination or resignation to establish eligibility for health benefits after the rehire.

The class does not include the following individuals:

A. Employees who waived health benefits;

B. Members of the Washington Conservation Corp. unless the employee holds an administrative or supervisory position;

C. Employees of Washington State University's Cooperative Extension Program who hold a federal civil service appointment and who elected to participate in a federal health program in lieu of state employee health benefits;

D. Officers and employees of the state convention and trade center;

E. Enrollees in the Washington Service Corp;

F. Students of a higher education institution who are employed by the institution;

G. Work study students; and 

H. Employees who received health benefits as the spouse, dependent or other family member of another Public Employees Benefits Board subscriber.

bottom of page