Liability for Killing or Injuring Dog Guide or Service Animal
Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), are there provisions for killing or injuring a dog guide or service animal? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).
WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION: DOG GUIDES & SERVICE ANIMALS
Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), it's an unfair practice, with very few exceptions, for an employer to discriminate against any person in compensation or in other terms and conditions of employment because of, inter alia, the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. 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.
WLAD PENALTIES: $1,0000
Under the WLAD, "[a] person who negligently or maliciously kills or injures a dog guide or service animal is liable for a penalty of one thousand dollars, to be paid to the user of the animal. The penalty shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any other remedies or penalties, civil or criminal, provided by law." RCW 49.60.370.
ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS
In addition to penalties, "[a] user or owner of a dog guide or service animal, whose animal is negligently or maliciously injured or killed, is entitled to recover reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in pursuing any civil remedy." Id.
WA STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION: NO DUTY TO INVESTIGATE
Lastly, the Washington State Human Rights Commissions is under no duty to investigate any negligent or malicious acts referred to under RCW 49.60.370 (the WLAD section establishing the penalties and attorneys' fees and costs, above referenced). See id.
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.