Washington Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Washington Discrimination: What you need to know

The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on age (40 years of age or older), sex (including pregnancy), marital status, sexual orientation (including gender identity), race, creed, color, national origin, citizenship or immigration status, honorably discharged veteran or military status, disability, or the use of a trained guide dog or service animal by a person with a disability, unless a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception applies (WA Rev. Code Sec. 49.44.090, Sec. 49.60.180 et seq.).
Effective June 11, 2020, the term “race” includes traits historically associated or perceived to be associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles. “Protective hairstyles” includes hairstyles such as afros, braids, locks, and twists.
The WLAD covers public employers and private employers with eight or more employees, including employment agencies and labor unions. Nonprofit religious or sectarian organizations are exempt from the law's coverage.
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Under the WLAD, it is unlawful for an employer to:
• Refuse to hire a person, discharge or bar a person from employment, or discriminate against a person in compensation or in other terms or conditions of employment based on a protected characteristic, unless a BFOQ applies.
• Print or circulate any statement, advertisement, or publication or use a job application form or make any inquiry in connection with prospective employment that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to a protected characteristic or any intent to make any such limitation, specification, or discrimination, unless based on a BFOQ.
• Discharge, expel, or otherwise discriminate against any ...

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