Employment Discrimination in Washington

If you were a victim of employment discrimination in Washington state, you may be able to file a complaint against your employer. There are state and federal laws enacted to protect workers from being mistreated while on the job. Some common causes of workplace discrimination include sex, age, gender identity, race, creed, religion, and other factors. There are federal laws that clearly prohibit employment discrimination, but often, additional state laws provide added protection. This article provides more insight into employment discrimination in Washington.

What Kind of Discrimination Laws are in Place in Washington?

The Washington State Law Against Discrimination makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate based on race, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a disabled person.

Who is Protected By Federal and State Laws in Washington?

To file a state complaint in Washington, you would contact the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC). The state laws apply to employers who have at least 8 employees. They are designed to ensure equality and fair treatment on multiple levels. The state and federal agencies have a work-share agreement, so you file a claim with one agency and ask them to share the information with the other, so they can conduct investigations at the same time.

What Employers are Covered by Discrimination Laws in Washington?

In Washington state, the state laws apply to employers who have at least 8 employees. The laws apply to employers and employment agencies. Federal laws apply to employers who have 15 or more employees. The laws prevent unfair employment practices based on presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C status, use of a trained guide dog or service animal, race, color, creed, national origin, sex, pregnancy or childbirth, marital status, age if 40 or older, sexual orientation or gender identity, military status, state employee, or whistleblower status.

Which State Agencies Regulate Workplace Discrimination Laws in Washington?

WSHRC oversees the state laws applying to workplace harassment and discrimination. The process gets underway through the Intake Unit to determine jurisdiction. If it is in the WSHRC’s jurisdiction, an intake questionnaire will be completed. The intake questionnaire must be returned to WSHRC within 6 months of the alleged discriminatory act. You may receive a written charge to sign and return to WSHRC and the complaint will be assigned to an investigator.

The EEOC handles all federal claims. The EEOC has offices throughout the country. You can call the EEOC at (800) 669-4000 to start the claim online or to find out your nearest EEOC office. You can start a claim over the phone, online or by mail. You can also schedule an appointment at your nearest office. 

How Do I File A Discrimination Claim in Washington?

To file a workplace discrimination, claim in Washington, contact the WSHRC for state violations. For federal violations, file your claim with the EEOC. You will need to contact the nearest office or visit the agency’s website. The EEOC is a federal agency which oversees the federal discrimination laws, which usually apply to employers who have at least 15 employees. If your claim is age-related your employer must have 20 or more workers.

You can go online to file a claim with the EEOC, or you can call and speak with a representative. You will be assigned a representative at the nearest field office. A claim can be cross-filed with the EEOC and the WSHRC. That means they will work together to resolve the issue and both agencies will investigate the claim. Remember time is of the essence when you file a workplace discrimination complaint.

How Do I Get Help Filing A Discrimination Claim in Washington?

If you are a victim of workplace discrimination in Washington, you should enlist the guidance of an employment law attorney who is familiar with the state and federal laws that apply to Washington state employers. Discuss the payment options with your employment law attorney because some take cases on a contingency basis while others require a retainer and charge an hourly rate. You do have a limited time to pursue a claim, so make sure you act quickly. If you wait too long, you will not be able to pursue a claim or recover compensation for your damages. Complete a Free Case Evaluation Form to share the details with an attorney who represents workers in Washington state.

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