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WLAD: Definition of Real Estate Transaction

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | What is the definition of “real estate transaction” under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD)? Here’s my point of view (please review our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy Notice before proceeding).

WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

The right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or marital status, sexual orientation, 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 is recognized as and declared to be a civil right in the State of Washington. RCW 49.60.030(1) (emphasis added). This right includes, but is not limited to the right to engage in real estate transactions without discrimination, including discrimination against families with children. RCW 49.60.030(1)(c) (emphasis added). Under WLAD, the term “real estate transaction” appears in various sections relating to real estate discrimination.

DEFINITION OF REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION

Chapter 49.60.040 RCW is the relevant law, and it defines the term “real estate transaction” as follows:

(21) “Real estate transaction” includes the sale, appraisal, brokering, exchange, purchase, rental, or lease of real property, transacting or applying for a real estate loan, or the provision of brokerage services.

RCW 49.60.040 (emphasis added).

L E A R N   M O R E

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced discrimination attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. This article is not offered as legal advice and will not establish an attorney-client relationship with Williams Law Group, Law Office of Gregory A. Williams, P.S., Inc., or the author of this article. Please read our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy notice.

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WLAD: Definition of Real Property

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | What is the definition of “real property” under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD)? Here’s my point of view (please review our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy Notice before proceeding).

WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

The right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or marital status, sexual orientation, 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 is recognized as and declared to be a civil right in the State of Washington. RCW 49.60.030(1) (emphasis added). This right includes, but is not limited to the right to engage in real estate transactions without discrimination, including discrimination against families with children. RCW 49.60.030(1)(c) (emphasis added). Under WLAD, the term “real property” appears in various sections relating to real estate discrimination.

DEFINITION OF REAL PROPERTY

Chapter 49.60.040(22) RCW is the relevant law, and it defines the term “real property” as follows:

(22) “REAL PROPERTY” includes buildings, structures, dwellings, real estate, lands, tenements, leaseholds, interests in real estate cooperatives, condominiums, and hereditaments, corporeal and incorporeal, or any interest therein.

RCW 49.60.040(22) (emphasis added).

L E A R N   M O R E

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced discrimination attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. This article is not offered as legal advice and will not establish an attorney-client relationship with Williams Law Group, Law Office of Gregory A. Williams, P.S., Inc., or the author of this article. Please read our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy notice.

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Real Estate Transactions Discrimination In WA

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), is it unlawful to discriminate in relation to real estate transactions? Here’s my point of view (please review our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy Notice before proceeding).

WASHINGTON LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

The right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or marital status, sexual orientation, 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 is recognized as and declared to be a civil right in the State of Washington. RCW 49.60.030(1) (emphasis added). This right includes, but is not limited to the right to engage in real estate transactions without discrimination, including discrimination against families with children. RCW 49.60.030(1)(c) (emphasis added).

UNFAIR PRACTICES

WLAD enumerates unfair practices in relation to real estate transactions under RCW 49.60.222 as follows:

(1) It is an unfair practice for any person, whether acting for himself, herself, or another, because of sex, marital status, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, national origin, families with children status, honorably discharged veteran or military status, 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:

(a) To refuse to engage in a real estate transaction with a person;

(b) To discriminate against a person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of a real estate transaction or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith;

(c) To refuse to receive or to fail to transmit a bona fide offer to engage in a real estate transaction from a person;

(d) To refuse to negotiate for a real estate transaction with a person;

(e) To represent to a person that real property is not available for inspection, sale, rental, or lease when in fact it is so available, or to fail to bring a property listing to his or her attention, or to refuse to permit the person to inspect real property;

(f) To discriminate in the sale or rental, or to otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling, to any person; or to a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is sold, rented, or made available; or to any person associated with the person buying or renting;

(g) To make, print, circulate, post, or mail, or cause to be so made or published a statement, advertisement, or sign, or to use a form of application for a real estate transaction, or to make a record or inquiry in connection with a prospective real estate transaction, which indicates, directly or indirectly, an intent to make a limitation, specification, or discrimination with respect thereto;

(h) To offer, solicit, accept, use, or retain a listing of real property with the understanding that a person may be discriminated against in a real estate transaction or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith;

(i) To expel a person from occupancy of real property;

(j) To discriminate in the course of negotiating, executing, or financing a real estate transaction whether by mortgage, deed of trust, contract, or other instrument imposing a lien or other security in real property, or in negotiating or executing any item or service related thereto including issuance of title insurance, mortgage insurance, loan guarantee, or other aspect of the transaction. Nothing in this section shall limit the effect of RCW 49.60.176 relating to unfair practices in credit transactions; or

(k) To attempt to do any of the unfair practices defined in this section.

Id. (emphasis added). Keep in mind that there several are exceptions. See RCW 49.60.222(3)-(7).

REMEDIES

Any person deeming himself or herself injured by any act amounting to this unfair practice shall have a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin further violations, or to recover the actual damages sustained by the person, or both, together with the cost of suit including reasonable attorneys’ fees or any other appropriate remedy authorized by this chapter or the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, or the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 3601 et seq.). See RCW §49.60.030(2).

L E A R N   M O R E

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced discrimination attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. This article is not offered as legal advice and will not establish an attorney-client relationship with Williams Law Group, Law Office of Gregory A. Williams, P.S., Inc., or the author of this article. Please read our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy notice.

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The Tort of Negligent Supervision

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Washington State law, what is the theory of negligent supervision? Here’s my point of view (please review our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy Notice before proceeding).

NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION

The tort of Negligent supervision creates a limited duty to control an employee for the protection of a third person, even when the employee is acting outside the scope of employment. S.H.C. v. Lu, 113 Wn.App. 511, 517, 54 P.3d 174 (Wash.App. Div. 1 2002) (citing Rodriguez v. Perez, 99 Wash.App. 439, 451, 994 P.2d 874, review denied, 141 Wash.2d 1020, 10 P.3d 1073 (2000) (citing Niece v. Elmview Group Home, 131 Wash.2d 39, 48, 929 P.2d 420 (1997))) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Employer liability for negligent hiring, retention, and supervision arises from this duty. Id. (internal quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added). If an employee conducts negligent acts outside the scope of employment, the employer may be liable for negligent supervision. Id. (citing Rodriguez, 99 Wash.App. at 451, 994 P.2d 874) (internal quotation marks omitted).

However, an employer is not liable for negligent supervision of an employee unless the employer knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, that the employee presented a risk of danger to others. Id. (citing Niece v. Elmview Group Home, 131 Wash.2d 39, 48-49, 929 P.2d 420 (1997)) (internal quotation marks omitted). In more simpler terms, a claim of negligent supervision is premised on a tortious or wrongful act by an unsupervised employee. Haubry v. Snow, 106 Wn.App. 666, 679, 31 P.3d 1186 (2001) (internal citations omitted).

THE PRIMA FACIE CASE

To establish a prima facie case, a plaintiff must show (1) an employee acted outside the scope of her employment; (2) the employee presented a risk of harm to other employees; (3) the employer knew or should have known of the risk; and (4) the employer’s failure to supervise was the proximate cause of injuries to other employees. Briggs v. Nova Services, 135 Wn.App. 955, 966-67, 147 P.3d 616 (2006) (internal citations omitted).

L E A R N   M O R E

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced employment discrimination attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. This article is not offered as legal advice and will not establish an attorney-client relationship with Williams Law Group, Law Office of Gregory A. Williams, P.S., Inc., or the author of this article. Please read our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy notice.

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WLAD: Perceived Sexual Orientation

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), may an employee use perceived sexual orientation as a protected class under a claim of employment discrimination? Here’s my point of view (please review our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy Notice before proceeding).

WA CIVIL RIGHTS

The right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or marital status, sexual orientation, 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 is recognized as and declared to be a civil right in the State of Washington. RCW 49.60.030(1) (emphasis added). This right includes, but is not limited to, the right to obtain and hold employment without discrimination. RCW 49.60.030(1)(a).

PERCEIVED SEXUAL ORIENTATION

Thus, the WLAD prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Davis v. Fred’s Appliance, Inc., 171 Wn.App. 348, 359, 287 P.3d 51 (Div. 3 2012) (citing RCW 49.60.180). However, the issue is whether perceived sexual orientation is actionable as a basis for employment discrimination? Washington case law may help to address this issue.

DAVIS v. FRED’S APPLIANCE

In Davis v. Fred’s Appliance, Inc., 171 Wn.App. 348, 287 P.3d 51 (Div. 3 2012), a supervisor referred to a heterosexual employee as “Big Gay Al.” The employee took offense. Eventually, the supervisor was ordered to apologize, but, during his apology, the situation escalated and the employee engaged in an angry outburst. The employee was subsequently fired, and he sued, in part, for hostile work environment.

As an initial matter, the court in Davis found the following fundamental concepts under WLAD: first, WLAD prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — Davis v. Fred’s Appliance, Inc., 171 Wn.App. 348, 359, 287 P.3d 51 (Div. 3 2012) (citing RCW 49.60.180); second, “sexual orientation” is statutorily defined as heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender expression or identity — Id. (citing RCW 49.60.040(26)); and third, the statute defines “gender expression or identity” as having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth — Id. at 359-60 (citing RCW 49.60.040(26)) (emphasis added).

The court reasoned that the statute makes no mention of perception in its definition of “sexual orientation,” and this suggests that the legislature intended perception to come into play only in gender identity discrimination, but not in discrimination based upon homosexuality or heterosexuality. Id. at 360 (internal citation omitted) (emphasis added). A definition of “gender expression or identity” is embedded in the definition of sexual orientation. Id. at 361 (citing RCW 49.60.040(26)). “Gender expression or identity” explicitly includes perception. Id. (citing RCW 49.60.040(26)) (internal citation omitted). If “being perceived” is read into the definition of “sexual orientation,” then “being perceived” in the definition of “gender expression or identity” would be meaningless. Id.

The court ultimately concluded that “perceived sexual orientation” is not a protected class, and therefore the employee was not a member of a protected class.

CONCLUSION

Overall, I believe that under a WLAD claim of employment discrimination, an employee may not use perceived sexual orientation as a protected class.

L E A R N   M O R E

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced employment discrimination attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. This article is not offered as legal advice and will not establish an attorney-client relationship with Williams Law Group, Law Office of Gregory A. Williams, P.S., inc., or the author of this article. Please read our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy notice.

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TITLE VII: Definition of Religion

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | What is the definition of “religion” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)? Here’s my point of view (please review our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy Notice before proceeding).

DEFINITION OF RELIGION

The relevant law is 42 U.S.C. §2000e, and as of the date of this article it defines the term “religion” as follows:

(a) The term “religion includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.

42 U.S.C. §2000e (emphasis added).

L E A R N   M O R E

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced employment discrimination attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. This article is not offered as legal advice and will not establish an attorney-client relationship with Williams Law Group, Law Office of Gregory A. Williams, P.S., inc., or the author of this article. Please read our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy notice.

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TITLE VII: Definition of Person

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | What is the definition of “person” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)? Here’s my point of view (please review our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy Notice before proceeding).

DEFINITION OF PERSON

The relevant law is 42 U.S.C. §2000e, and as of the date of this article it defines the term “person” as follows:

(a) The term “person includes one or more individuals, governments, governmental agencies, political subdivisions, labor unions, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, mutual companies, joint-stock companies, trusts, unincorporated organizations, trustees, trustees in cases under title 11, or receivers.

42 U.S.C. §2000e (emphasis added).

L E A R N   M O R E

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced employment discrimination attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. This article is not offered as legal advice and will not establish an attorney-client relationship with Williams Law Group, Law Office of Gregory A. Williams, P.S., inc., or the author of this article. Please read our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy notice.

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WA Human Rights Commission Subpoena Power

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), does the Human Rights Commission have a subpoena power? Here’s my point of view (please review our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy Notice before proceeding).

Many employees experiencing discrimination at work submit charges of discrimination to the Washington State Human Rights Commission (HRC). However, these same employees are typically unaware of how the HRC can benefit them.

SUBPOENA POWER

One benefit, inter alia, that the HRC provides to employees is the subpoena power. The HRC has power to hold hearings, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath, and in connection therewith, to require the production for examination of any books or papers relating to any matter under investigation or in question before the commission. RCW 49.60.140. The subpoenaed information may be placed in an investigation file.

Thus, the HRC investigation file may contain information that would otherwise be difficult for an employee to acquire alone, and it may be available for both inspection and copying upon an employee‘s properly drafted and submitted records request – subject to limitations. The relevant contents of the investigation file could then be used to bolster a subsequent employment discrimination lawsuit.

L E A R N   M O R E

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced employment discrimination attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. This article is not offered as legal advice and will not establish an attorney-client relationship with Williams Law Group, Law Office of Gregory A. Williams, P.S., inc., or the author of this article. Please read our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy notice.

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WLAD: Definition of Service Animal

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), what is the definition of the term “service animal“? Here’s my point of view (please review our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy Notice before proceeding).

WA LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

Under 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, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, national origin, 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.

DEFINITION OF “SERVICE ANIMAL”

Chapter 49.60.040 RCW is the relevant law, and as of the date of this article it defines the term “service animal” as follows:

Service animal” means an animal that is trained for the purpose of assisting or accommodating a sensory, mental, or physical disability of a person with a disability.

RCW 49.60.040 (emphasis added).

L E A R N   M O R E

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced employment discrimination attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. This article is not offered as legal advice and will not establish an attorney-client relationship with Williams Law Group, Law Office of Gregory A. Williams, P.S., inc., or the author of this article. Please read our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy notice.

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Behind Closed Doors: WA ESD Appeals & WLAD

by Gregory Williams, Esq. | Under Washington law, are findings made by an administrative law judge during a WA State Unemployment Benefits Appeal Hearing admissible in a separate employment discrimination lawsuit–outside the scope of Title 50 RCW–between an individual and the individual’s present or prior employer? Here’s my point of view (please review our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy Notice before proceeding).

Occasionally, one of my employment discrimination clients (I only represent employees) will vigorously attempt to convince me that they received favorable findings against their employer during their unemployment benefits appeal conducted through the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings; and that the findings will help them win their subsequent discrimination lawsuit under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). Unfortunately, I usually have bad news for those clients.

THE ESD & OAH

The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) was created in 1939. Its mission is to “partner to connect employers and job seekers – supporting transitions to new jobs and empowering careers.” If an individual applies for unemployment benefits through the ESD and is denied; then the individual can request an appeal. In that case, the ESD will forward the appeal to the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) which is not part of the ESD. The OAH will then assign an administrative law judge to hear the case.

THE PROHIBITION

The WA state laws relating to the ESD are contained in Title 50 RCW; and the relevant law states as follows:

Any finding, determination, conclusion, declaration, or final order made by the commissioner, or his or her representative or delegate, or by an appeal tribunal, administrative law judge, reviewing officer, or other agent of the department for the purposes of Title 50 RCW, shall not be conclusive, nor binding, nor admissible as evidence in any separate action outside the scope of Title 50 RCW between an individual and the individual’s present or prior employer before an arbitrator, court, or judge of this state or the United States, regardless of whether the prior action was between the same or related parties or involved the same facts or was reviewed pursuant to RCW 50.32.120.

RCW 50.32.097 (emphasis added).

CONCLUSION

Thus, findings made by an administrative law judge during a Washington State unemployment benefits appeal hearing are generally not admissible in a subsequent employment discrimination lawsuit outside the scope of Title 50 RCW between the employee and the employee‘s present or prior employer.

L E A R N   M O R E

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced employment attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. This article is not offered as legal advice and will not establish an attorney-client relationship with Williams Law Group, Law Office of Gregory A. Williams, P.S., inc., or the author of this article. Please read our Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Privacy notice.

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