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The truth is, you have the right to file a discrimination claim against any individual, but the key lies in filing against someone who can be held responsible and liable by law, like your employer.
In Washington State, both coworkers and supervisors can be sued in state or federal court, but federal courts primarily recognize the employer as the responsible party. Additionally, individuals can be included in the claim if you allege a state-pendant jurisdiction.
Workplace discrimination laws offer protection for disabled individuals. However, the specifics of your situation dictate the type of claim you can make.
For example, if you've become disabled while on the job, your claim would fall under workers' compensation labor and industry regulations. However, if you applied for a job while disabled and faced rejection or retaliation due to your disability, that would qualify as a discrimination claim.
Washington state laws protect you from discrimination based on your disability. As a result, your employer should not terminate or demote you if your short-term disability leave aligns with company policies and legal guidelines.
In this scenario, you will need to consider your company's handbook regulations and secure supporting documentation about your medical situation from your doctor. In any case, if you have questions about your rights as an employee, it’s usually best to consult with an attorney who can help you to ensure you’re on the right path.
As you prepare to present your workplace discrimination claim to your attorney, several elements need to be considered:
Always remember, no matter how small or seemingly irrelevant, any detail could be significant in your claim.
Engage the services of an employment discrimination attorney as soon as you believe you are receiving unjust treatment or unfair compensation. Once you’ve consulted with an attorney, it’s generally advisable to file an initial complaint with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. This can be the beginning of a multi-agency claim process, preserving your statutory rights.
What's more, it's important to note a common misconception: That unionized workers must solely seek redress through their union. Unions can indeed offer advice and assist with filing a grievance. However, you also maintain the right to file with external bodies, such as the EEOC or the Washington State Human Rights Commission.
By adhering to specific timelines - six months with the WHRC and ten months with the EEOC - and filing with one agency, you automatically cover the other. This process prevents the need for filing two separate claims or complaints. For more information on Filing A Workplace Discrimination Claim In WA, an initial consultation is your next best step.