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EEO - Harassment: Washington

EEO - Harassment requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Valarie S. Zeeck, Gordon Thomas Honeywell LLP


  • The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) prohibits harassment on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, age, sensory, physical or mental disability, membership in the military or status as a veteran, HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis C status or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal. See Harassment Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination.
  • Washington Courts generally use the McDonnell-Douglas burden shifting analysis to consider claims of harassment. See Litigating Claims of Harassment.
  • Sexual harassment claims may be based on either a quid pro quo theory or a hostile work environment theory. See Litigating Claims of Harassment.
  • An employee working for a private employer may, but is not required to, file a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission. See Administrative Process and Remedies for Harassment.
  • Public employees may have additional administrative remedies that should be considered based on merit system rules unique to the jurisdiction in which they work. See Administrative Process and Remedies for Harassment.