The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on race or color (WA Rev. Stat. Sec. 49.60.010 et seq.). The WLAD covers public employers and private employers with eight or more employees. Under the WLAD, it is an unfair practice for any employer to:
• Refuse to hire any person because of race or color, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).
• Discharge or bar any person from employment because of race or color.
• Discriminate against any person in compensation or in other terms or conditions of employment because of race or color.
• 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 race or color, unless based upon a BFOQ.
• Make any inquiry in connection with prospective employment that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to race or color, unless based upon a BFOQ.
• Discharge or otherwise discriminate against any person because he or she has opposed any practices forbidden by the Law or because he or she has filed a charge, testified, or assisted in any proceeding under the Law.
• Aid, encourage, or incite the commission of any unfair practice or to attempt to obstruct or prevent any other person from complying with the provisions of the Law.
It is permissible to hire an individual based on race or color because of a BFOQ necessary to the normal operation of the employer's business (e.g., hiring actors to portray individuals of a certain race or color). The BFOQ exception applies in only limited circumstances, and employers should use caution in ...