WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION
Under 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; creed; national origin; honorably discharged veteran or military status; HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C status; the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or 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.
DEFINITION OF HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERAN OR MILITARY STATUS
Chapter 49.60.040(15) RCW is the relevant law, and it defines the term “Honorably Discharged Veteran or Military Status" as follows:
(15) "Honorably discharged veteran or military status" means a person who is:
(a) A veteran, as defined in RCW 41.04.007; or
RCW 49.60.040(15) (emphasis added).(b) An active or reserve member in any branch of the armed forces of the United States, including the national guard, coast guard, and armed forces reserves.
Pursuant to Section (15)(a) above, RCW 41.04.007 defines the term "Veteran" as follows:
"Veteran" defined for certain purposes.
"Veteran" includes every person who, at the time he or she seeks the benefits of RCW 46.18.212, 46.18.235, 72.36.030, 41.04.010, 73.04.090, or 43.180.250, has received an honorable discharge, received a discharge for medical reasons with an honorable record, where applicable, or is in receipt of a United States department of defense discharge document DD form 214, NGB form 22, or their equivalent or successor discharge paperwork, that characterizes his or her service as honorable, and who has served in at least one of the following capacities:
(1) As a member in any branch of the armed forces of the United States, including the national guard and armed forces reserves, and has fulfilled his or her initial military service obligation;
(2) As a member of the women's air forces service pilots;
(3) As a member of the armed forces reserves, national guard, or coast guard, and has been called into federal service by a presidential select reserve call up for at least one hundred eighty cumulative days;
(4) As a civil service crewmember with service aboard a U.S. army transport service or U.S. naval transportation service vessel in oceangoing service from December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946;
(5) As a member of the Philippine armed forces/scouts during the period of armed conflict from December 7, 1941, through August 15, 1945; or
(6) A United States documented merchant mariner with service aboard an oceangoing vessel operated by the department of defense, or its agents, from both June 25, 1950, through July 27, 1953, in Korean territorial waters and from August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975, in Vietnam territorial waters, and who received a military commendation.
RCW 41.04.007 (emphasis added).
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, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.