The state of Washington has enacted two separate laws prohibiting employers from discriminating in employment based on age. The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) applies to all public and private employers with eight or more employees (WA Rev. Stat. Sec. 49.60.010et seq.). A separate state labor law prohibiting age discrimination applies to all employers, regardless of size (WA Rev. Stat. Sec. 49.44.090). Both laws prohibit discrimination against individuals who are 40 years of age or older. An employment practice must violate the state labor law to be considered an unfair practice of age discrimination under the WLAD (WA Rev. Stat. Sec. 49.60.205).
Under the state labor law, it is unlawful for an employer to:
• Refuse to hire any person because of age.
• Discharge or bar any person from employment because of age.
• Discriminate against any person in compensation or in other terms or conditions of employment because of age.
• Print or circulate any statement, advertisement, or publication or to use any form of application for employment that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to age.
• Make any inquiry in connection with prospective employment that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to age, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).
• Use an employment application form to inquire about an applicant’s age in connection with prospective employment
Under the WLAD, it is unlawful for an employer to:
• Discharge or otherwise discriminate against any person because he or she has opposed any practices forbidden by the WLAD or because he or she has filed a charge, testified, or assisted in any proceeding under the WLAD.