IT, Labor Ready reach accord

The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) and Tacoma-based Labor Ready have settled their dispute over the amount of money the temporary help firm owed the state in workers’ compensation premiums dating back to 1998.

Under terms of the agreement, L&I will withhold $139,000 of a refund Labor Ready was due from its participation in the department’s Retrospective Rating Program.

The settlement ends the company’s appeal of an audit that found the company owed $734,000 in back premiums and penalties.

The department based that amount on computer records provided by the company.

Labor Ready later provided the department with access to other records that showed in one of the quarters audited the company had dramatically overpaid what it owed the state in workers’ compensation premiums.

Further review of Labor Ready’s records also found that while the company had misclassified hours worked, the mistakes resulted in both underpayments and overpayments to L&I.

The agency found no evidence that Labor Ready had intentionally deceived L&I for the purpose of underpaying premiums it owed.

As a result of this and other audits, L&I has decided to review its classification rules governing temporary help.