The Pacific-northwest state of Washington – home to over 6.5 million people – brings in an annual GDP of around $311 billion, according to 2007 estimates. The state supports a wide variety of industries, including biotechnology, computer and IT, lumber and mining, and aerospace. WA is the headquarters for powerhouse “new economy” companies like Microsoft, Amazon.com, Costco, and Starbucks. Seattle, WA (located on Puget Sound) serves as a gateway for citizens and entrepreneurs coming to America from Eastern Asia.

The Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) manages worker discrimination, harassment, and retaliation complaints. The commission gets its power pursuant to Washington’s Law Against Discrimination (State Code 49.60). The WSHRC strives to: enforce a law effectively and fairly; stop discrimination and unfair practices; find mutual solutions for employers and employees; and provide education and training to keep Washington’s workforce vigorous, safe, and productive. Antidiscrimination laws in Washington offer workers broad protections across the board.

Washington hasn’t always been a haven for workers’ rights. During the first few decades of Seattle’s history, for instance, a fire incinerated most of the city’s buildings; and, in a separate incident, many of Seattle’s buildings literally sunk into the ground because they had been built on porous soil. Seattle employers at the time subjected their workers to dangerous workplaces and compelled them to work overtime without pay in order to rebuild the town. Most employers treat their workers fairly, but not all do. Despite decades of employer education, many workers in Washington continue to experience discrimination, employer retaliation, and harassment -- sometimes on a daily basis. Employees victimized by such actions are encouraged to file a claim with WSHRC after experiencing any of these situations:

  • Employer retaliation. If an employer withholds pay, suddenly demotes you, or reassigns you after you submit a complaint report, that employer retaliation can be punished. Employees who experience retaliation can advocate for themselves by seeking assistance from a lawyer knowledgeable in employment law who can ensure fair treatment.
  • Harassment. Sexual, physical, and verbal harassment do not belong in any environment, let alone the workplace. Perpetrators who make inappropriate comments and physically acting out against other people demonstrate a lack respect for others and potentially pose a safety risk to other employees. If you have been the victim of harassment, report the incident today, and seek out assistance from a trained lawyer who can protect your rights.
  • Discrimination. Workplace discrimination based on age, race, nationality, religion, gender, disability, and other medical conditions is strictly prohibited by law. Employees who experience discrimination should report the incident immediately.

Employees affected by workplace discrimination, harassment, or retaliation can struggle with financial, emotional and psychology stresses for months or even decades afterwads. Take action as soon as possible to preserve your rights. If you’ve experienced employer retaliation, discrimination, harassment, or other injustices in the workplace, discuss your situation with an experienced employment attorney. Find a local lawyer today.

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