The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD)
prohibits hiring practices that discriminate based on age, sex, 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 based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). The WLAD covers all public employers and private employers with eight or more employees (Wash. Rev. Code § 49.60.010 et seq.). More information is available at the Washington Discrimination
and Disabilities (ADA)
According to regulations issued by the Washington Human Rights Commission, the BFOQ exception is limited to those situations where the characteristic:
• Is essential to the accomplishment of the purposes for which the individual was hired, or
• Must be considered in order to correct a condition of unequal employment opportunity.
The Commission advises employers to request an opinion from the Commission before considering a characteristic to be a BFOQ in a particular situation.
The Washington Fair Chance Act prohibits public and private employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history, conducting a criminal background check, or otherwise obtaining information about an applicant’s criminal history until after the employer initially determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position (Wash. Rev. Code § 49.94.005 et seq.). “Otherwise qualified” means the applicant meets the basic criteria for the position as described in the job advertisement or job description without consideration of a ...