Washington Laws Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

Anti-discrimination laws protect employees from being mistreated by their employer based on race, color, national origin, disability, religion, gender, marital status, age over 40, military service, gender identity, and sexual orientation, among other protections. You cannot be denied employment opportunities, such as promotions, raises, or benefits, because of these personal beliefs, qualities, or classifications.

You cannot be discriminated against based upon your gender unless the employer can provide a specific reason why an individual of a particular gender may be unsuitable for the relevant work duties.

An employer cannot bar you from employment for your religious beliefs and practices, and must even accommodate them, unless it is determined that doing so would unduly harm the business.

Racial and Other Harassment

All employees, male or female, have the right to go to work without having to endure workplace harassment. You are legally entitled to a safe and comfortable working environment.

Hostile conduct, whether because of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, age, or any other “protected classifications” can be considered hostile working environment harassment, and is illegal if it is unwelcome, severe and/or pervasive, and if it continues after the company knew or should have known of it.

If you are experiencing harassment at work, please contact me. I am likely to suggest that you read your employer’s policy and inform the appropriate people of your situation if you have not already done so. If you cannot do this, or have questions about how to inform the appropriate people, please feel free to call me, either before or after complaining about the harassment.  I may be able to meet with you and assist in guiding you in how to complain about the problem.

Retaliation and Termination for Permissible Whistleblowing, Labor and Worker’s Compensation Claims, and Other Matters

All employees possess certain rights and can exercise them without retaliation from the employer, including some types of whistleblowing, filing a claim with the L & I or for workers’ comp, getting involved with a union and union activities, and complaining about certain injustices or illegal behavior. Certain occupations are ascribed their own retaliation protections.

Employers facing wrongful termination, discrimination, or retaliation claims will hardly ever admit fault, and instead will provide other, more acceptable reasons for the claimant’s termination, such as job incompetency or absenteeism—whether or not those reasons are actually true.

Anyone who is fired is entitled to a detailed statement of the reasons for their termination. Employers must provide this statement within 10 business days after the request is made.