WLAD: Definition of Creed

WLAD: Definition of Creed

What is the definition of the term “creed” under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD)? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), it is an unfair practice, with very few exceptions, for an employer to refuse to hire any person, to discharge or bar any person from employment, or to discriminate against any person in compensation or in other terms and conditions of employment because of age (40+); sex (including pregnancy); marital status; sexual orientation (including gender identity); race; color; creednational origin; citizenship or immigration status; honorably discharged veteran or military status; HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C status; the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability; the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability; and state employee or health care whistleblower status.

It is also an unfair practice for an employer to retaliate against an employee because the employee complained about job discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.


In 2014, the Washington State Supreme Court defined the term "creed" as follows:

Washington courts have long equated the term "creed" in the WLAD with the term "religion" in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).

Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc., 180 Wn.2d 481, 489, 325 P.3d 193 (2014) (hyperlink added). Accordingly, Title VII defines "religion" as follows: 

(j) The term “religion” includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.


For more information regarding creed, consider reading the WSHRC's publication: Guide to Religion and Washington State Non-Discrimination Laws In Employment. See WSHRC Official Website, https://www.hum.wa.gov/employment/creed-employment (last visited 11/5/21). This publication covers additional relevant topics including, but not limited to reasonable accommodations.

Learn More

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group; please see our DISCLAIMER.


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