WLAD: The Discriminatory Discharge Provision

WLAD: The Discriminatory Discharge Provision

Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), is there a provision for discriminatory discharge? 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; creed; national 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.


The WLAD prohibits certain employers from discharging an employee because of certain characteristics. See Crabtree v. Jefferson Cnty. Pub. Hosp. Dist. No. 2, 500 P.3d 203, 211 (Wash. App. 2021) (citing RCW 49.60.180(2)). "A violation of RCW 49.60.180(2) supports a discriminatory discharge claim." Crabtree, 500 P.3d at 211 (citing Mikkelsen v. Pub. Util. Dist. No. 1 of Kittitas County, 189 Wash.2d 516, 526, 404 P.3d 464 (2017)) (hyperlink added)).

The relevant subsection of RCW 49.60.180, states as follows:

RCW 49.60.180
Unfair practices of employers. 
It is an unfair practice for any employer:
(2) To discharge or bar any person from employment because of agesexmarital statussexual orientationracecreed, color, national origin, citizenship or immigration status, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or 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

RCW 49.60.180(2).


The discriminatory discharge provision of the Washington Law Against Discrimination is contained under RCW 49.60.180(2).

Need Help?

If you need legal help, 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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