Employee News - May 21, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News



Extension of mandatory telecommuting through Sept. 7 

King County Executive Dow Constantine today extended mandatory telecommuting for all Executive Branch employees who are currently telecommuting through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020.

"We have made a big difference in the spread of the virus, but we need to remain vigilant if we are to slow it further," Executive Constantine said. "That is why I am extending mandatory telecommuting through September 7, 2020, for all Executive Branch employees who are currently telecommuting, except where there is an operational need to physically return to the workplace," he said. Read full announcement. 


Unemployment fraud is escalating. Learn how to protect yourself

Washington State is seeing an alarming rise in fraudulent unemployment claims as victims’ identities are being used to file false unemployment claims with the Employment Security Department (ESD), including here in King County.

Some individuals who have not filed an unemployment claim have received notification from ESD indicating that a claim as been filed on their behalf. The State is taking this seriously and reviewing its internal processes to identify and prevent these fraudulent claims going forward. This may slow down processing, but is being done in the interest of claimants. Read more. 


Mental Health Month week three: Connecting with others 

For the third week of Mental Health month, Balanced You is focusing on the topic “connecting with others.” Social connection helps ward off social isolation and is an important part of mental health. The connections we make with other people enrich our lives and support us through the most difficult times. But, sometimes, it is not easy to know how to make those meaningful, enriching connections, especially during the pandemic. 

During the pandemic, you may not be as ambitious about connecting with others as you were pre-pandemic, and that is okay. Still, there are small steps you can take to help maintain connection during this time, using both technology and other resources. Check out the Balanced You blog for more information. 

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, May 2020 

This year the King County Asian Pacific Islander Affinity Group (API) has developed several events and resources to share API culture, support the API community, and learn more about Asian American and Pacific Islander history. 

The API group has also put together resources to help employees learn how they can better support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Learn more. 


Safety and security reminder 

With many King County employees still working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are fewer "eyes and ears" around to notice when something is out of place in one of our buildings. We'd like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few safety tips. 

  • Don't let anyone "tailgate" you into a county building, and make sure doors shut firmly behind you. Also, don't prop doors open. 
  • Be alert to your surroundings as you walk to and from your car or transit stop, between buildings, or outside on breaks. 
  • Avoid distractions when walking, such as looking down at your phone or wearing headphones. 
  • If you see someone you don't recognize in your work area and you feel comfortable doing so, you can ask them why they are there or who they are there to see and then guide them in the right direction. 

Above all, if you see something, say something. Any time you feel something is unsafe, or you have questions about security in King County buildings, call the Facilities Management Division Security's Emergency Dispatch Center at 206-296-5000. In an emergency, call 9-1-1. 


On-demand webinar: A conversation on self-care 

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone’s mental health in unique ways. Now, more than ever, self-care and connection are needed. 

In recognition of Mental Health Month, Shawna Johnson, Balanced You Employee Health Specialist, and Heather Steffensen, Interim Employee Assistance Program Manager, led “A Conversation on Self-Care.” This live, interactive webinar covered self-care strategies, techniques and tools to reduce stress and anxiety, and benefits and resources available to support King County employees’ mental health.  

This webinar, now available on-demand, can be found on the Balanced You blog. 


Substance use and mental health disorder recovery resources during the pandemic 

The pandemic is creating unique challenges for those faced with substance use and mental health disorders, including those in active recovery. Social isolation can heighten symptoms and cravings. Meanwhile connection – the antidote to isolation, the theme of King County Mental Health Month’s third week, and a cornerstone of many recovery programs – has changed in the face of social distancing. 

Before coronavirus, rooms and facilities in communities across the globe were filled with groups of people offering each other resources, tips, and stories of strength and hope. Now, those groups have been asked to stop meeting in-person, to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Fortunately, many recovery groups and facilities have quickly and successfully pivoted to the virtual landscape, while others have maintained or expanded the online or phone-based services they already provided. 

Recovery can and does happen, even during a pandemic. Visit the Balanced You blog to learn what online and phone-based resources are available to support you or your loved ones in beginning, returning to, or maintaining recovery. 


New data shows broader social, economic, health impacts of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 

Nearly everyone in our community has felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It might be from COVID-19 illness, or from local and state efforts to slow its spread. We all are experiencing social distancing, school closures, business closures, or isolation and quarantine. 

Public Health – Seattle & King County has created a new set of data tools that show some of the broader impacts in King County – focusing on social, economic, and overall health and well-being. 

Key topics include unemployment, housing and food needs, internet access, family violence, depression, and having health insurance. Read more.  

Updated teleworking resources 

As many in King County continue to telework, KCIT has updated its guidance and resources to ensure a positive experience for everyone. Learn more by visiting the KCIT King County Telework Resources website (SharePoint). For help with a technical issue or problem, contact the KCIT Helpdesk or call 206-263-4357 (3-HELP). 


Featured job: Senior Microbiologist - Public Health Laboratory 

Salary: $30.96 - $39.24 Hourly 

Location: Seattle, WA 

Job Type: Special Duty Assignment or Term Limited Temp (TLT) 

Department: DPH - Public Health 

Job Number: 2020AB10643 

Division: Prevention 

Closing: 6/12/2020 11:59 PM Pacific 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

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