If you feel that you have experienced workplace sexual harassment and want to pursue a case against your employers in the state of Washington, here are three things that you need to understand about how sexual harassment laws work, protect you, and allow you to seek compensation in the state of Washington.
#1 Washington Has It's Own Discrimination Law
In addition to federal statues, Washington state also has its own discrimination laws that are broader and can be applied to more situations than the federal law. The discrimination law is known as the Washington State Law Against Discrimination and makes it illegal for employers to discriminate based on broader criteria than the federal anti-discrimination and harassment law.
For example, in Washington, someone cannot be discriminated against on the basis of any type of physical or mental disability. They also cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their sex or martial statue, as well as their race, color, national origin, or creed.
#2 Two Agencies Investigate Claims In Washington
If you feel that you are being harassed in the workplace, and your claim is not being taken seriously by your human resource department or you don't feel that you can go to your human resource department, you are going to need to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They are a federal agency whose responsibility it is to look into and investigate claims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
In the state of washing, you can also file a claim that you are being discriminated against or harassed in the workplace through the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) which is an agency that shares the same responsibilities as the EEOC at a state-based level. The WSHRC and EEOC have a work-sharing agreement in the state of Washington which means that they work together to process claims, so you should only need to file a claim with either the EEOC or the WSHRC. If you file a claim with both agencies, make sure that you mark on your claim that you cross-filed your claims; this will help both of agencies process your claim.
#3 You Must File In A Timely Manner
There is a statue of limitation on when you can file a sexual harassment claim in the workplace in the state of Washington. If you feel that you were harassed, you need to file a claim within six months of the date that you feel the harassment occurred. If the harassment is on-going, you are going to want to continue to document it and continue to file or add on to your original claim with WSHRC.
If you feel that you have been harassed in the workplace, you need to file a claim right away with the appropriate agencies so that the process of investigating your claim can begin. If you have additional questions about what steps you can take to protect yourself and receive compensation for the sexual harassment that you experienced in the workplace in the state of Washington, be sure to talk to a lawyer who handles workplace sexual harassment cases, such as those found at Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C.