Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Employment

  • State v. Electroimpact (Snohomish County Superior Court) – complaint, consent decree

    • The State of Washington alleged an aerospace automation company violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination and the Consumer Protection Act, by refusing to hire Muslim applicants, engaging in religious and/or national origin harassment, discriminating against employees based on marital status, and retaliating against employees who opposed such unfair practices. The consent decree requires Electroimpact to cross-post job advertisements with minority engineering organizations, host minority recruitment events, and eliminate its policy of basing compensation decisions based on a change in marital status. Further, Zein Automobiles is required to pay $485,000 for damages, restitution, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.

  • State v. Masingale (Spokane County Superior Court) – complaint, consent decree
    • The State of Washington alleged that Flag Hill Lumber Co. Inc., Greenacres Motors, LLC, and Monte Masingale, employers and car dealers in Spokane and Post Falls, Idaho, were liable for a pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination against employees and prospective employees in violation of the Washington Law Against Discrimination and the Consumer Protection Act. The corporate defendants conceded liability. The consent decree requires the two corporate defendants to adopt a non-discrimination policy, train employees, report any complaints, and pay $280,000 in damages, civil penalties, and attorneys’ fees and costs.
       
  • State v. Valley Fruit Orchards, LLC (Yakima County Superior Court) – assurance of discontinuance
    • The State of Washington accepted an assurance of discontinuance following its investigation of allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation at Valley Fruit Orchards, a fruit farming and shipping company based in Wapato. The assurance of discontinuance requires Valley Fruit to adopt a revised nondiscrimination policy, train all employees on non-discrimination requirements in employment, include the non-discrimination policy in employment packets distributed to seasonal and non-seasonal employees, and maintain a human resources hotline that employees may call to make a complaint about discrimination or harassment at work.

Housing

  • State v. Coho Real Estate Group, LLC (King County Superior Court) – complaint, consent decree
    • The State of Washington alleged Coho Real Estate Group, LLC (“Coho”) a King County housing provider, advertised and applied a blanket prohibition on any person with a felony conviction that violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination, the federal Fair Housing Act, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act. The consent decree requires Coho to pay civil penalties and train staff on the unlawful and discriminatory impacts of criminal background checks.
       
  • State v. Dobler Management Company, Inc. (Pierce County Superior Court) – complaint, consent decree
    • The State of Washington alleged Dobler Management Company, Inc. (“DMCI”) a Pierce County housing provider, advertised and applied a blanket prohibition on any person with a felony conviction that violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination, the federal Fair Housing Act, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act. The consent decree requires DMCI to pay civil penalties and train staff on the unlawful and discriminatory impacts of criminal background checks.
       
  • State v. DSB Investments (King County Superior Court) – assurance of discontinuance
    • The State of Washington accepted an assurance of discontinuance following its investigation of allegations that its application of its towing and repair policies discriminated against African American tenants. The assurance of discontinuance requires DSB Investments to adopt a non-discrimination policy, undergo fair housing training, pay restitution to tenants, and pay attorney’ fees and costs.
       
  • State v. KPS Realty, LLC (Spokane County Superior Court) – assurance of discontinuance
    • The State of Washington accepted an assurance of discontinuance from KPS Realty, LLC d/b/a KPS Property Management, a housing provider in Spokane. KPS Realty has agreed not to discriminate against veterans or people with disabilities by refusing to accept housing vouchers provided through the federal HUD-Veterans Administrative Supportive Housing (VASH) program. Such conduct would violate the federal Fair Housing Act, the Washington Law Against Discrimination, and the Consumer Protection Act. KPS Realty also agrees to adopt a revised non-discrimination policy, train its staff, and pay $5,500 for recovery of the State’s costs and fees.
       
  • State v. Pacific Crest, LLC (King County Superior Court) – complaint, consent decree
    • The State of Washington alleged Pacific Crest Real Estate, LLC, a King County housing provider, advertised and applied a blanket prohibition on any person with a felony conviction that violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination, the federal Fair Housing Act, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act. The consent decree requires Pacific Crest to pay civil penalties and train staff on the unlawful and discriminatory impacts of criminal background checks.
       
  • State v. Premier Residential (King County Superior Court) – complaint, consent decree
    • The State of Washington alleged Premier Residential, a King County housing provider, advertised and applied a blanket prohibition on any person with a felony conviction that violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination, the federal Fair Housing Act, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act.The consent decree requires Premier Residential to pay civil penalties and train staff on the unlawful and discriminatory impacts of criminal background checks.
  • State v. Realty Mart Property Management, LLC (Spokane County Superior Court) complaint, consent decree
    • The State of Washington alleged Realty Mart Property Management, LLC, and its managing agent John Cornett, discriminated on the basis of disability in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, the Washington Law Against Discrimination, and the Consumer Protection Act by charging a double damage deposit to prospective tenants who pay rent with disability income. The consent decree requires the defendants to adopt a revised non-discrimination policy, train staff, pay a civil penalty, and pay the State’s costs and fees.
  • State v. Weidner Property Management LLC (King County Superior Court) – assurance of discontinuance
    • The State of Washington has accepted an assurance of discontinuance from Weidner Property Management LLC, a national housing provider. Weidner has agreed not to advertise or apply a blanket prohibition on any person with a felony conviction that would violate the Washington Law Against Discrimination, the federal Fair Housing Act, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act. Weidner also agrees to pay the State of Washington $6,000 for recovery of its fees and costs and train staff on the unlawful and discriminatory impacts of criminal background checks.

Public Accommodations

  • State v. Zein Automobiles (Snohomish County Superior Court) – complaint, consent decree
    • The State of Washington alleged a used car dealership, Zein Automobiles, violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination and the Consumer Protection Act, by failing to honor advertised six-month warranties and targeting Spanish-speaking consumers yet failing to provide material written disclosures in Spanish. The consent decree requires Zein Automobiles disclose all material information in Spanish when the sale is conducted in Spanish. Further, Zein Automobiles is required to pay $250,000 for consumer restitution, attorneys’ fees and costs, and/or cy pres.

Amicus

  • Coffey v. Skagit Regional Health (Skagit County Superior Court and Washington Court of Appeals Division I) – Superior Court amicus brief, Division I amicus brief
    • The State of Washington argued that a public hospital district violated the state Reproductive Privacy Act by declining to provide elective abortions despite offering maternity care services.
       
  • Floeting v. Group Health Cooperative (Washington Court of Appeals Division I) – amicus brief
    • The State of Washington argued that the Washington Law Against Discrimination prohibits sexual harassment in a place of public accommodation and that the same legal standard that applies to discrimination in places of public accommodation based on other protected classes should apply equally to claims of discrimination based on sex.
       
  • J.E.F.M. v. Lynch (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) – amicus brief
    • The State of Washington, on behalf of itself and California, argued that immigrant children placed in immigration proceedings by the federal government have a due process right to representation by counsel at government expense.
       
  • Kaiser v. CSL Plasma (King County Superior Court) – amicus brief
    • The State of Washington argued that the Washington Law Against Discrimination’s broad definition of “a place of public accommodation” includes a blood donation center open to the public and that the blood donation center is not exempt from the Consumer Protection Act.
       
  • Texas v. United States (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and the U.S. Supreme Court) – District Court amicus brief, U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief
    • The State of Washington, on behalf of 12 states and the District of Columbia, argued that civil rights protections for transgender and gender non-conforming students and employees benefit the public interest and are workable to implement.
       
  • Wakefield v. City of Richland (Washington Court of Appeals Division III and Washington Supreme Court) – amicus brief
    • The State of Washington argued that courts may not use formal contempt proceedings to require an indigent criminal defendant to pay court costs and fines where the only available source of payment would be means-tested public assistance benefits.
  • Yakima Neighborhood Health Services v. City of Yakima (E.D. Wash.) – amicus brief
    • The State of Washington argued that the Washington Law Against Discrimination’s housing discrimination protections are at least as broad as the federal Fair Housing Act and prohibit municipal zoning and land use decisions that “make unavailable or deny” housing because of membership in a protected class, including disability.

Enforcement Actions on Behalf of Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC)

  • WSHRC v. Agri-Pack, L.L.C. (Office of Administrative Hearings) – complaint, consent decree
    • The WSHRC alleged Agri-Pack, L.L.C., a vegetable packing facility in Pasco, harassed a transgender employee, and refused to rehire her following a seasonal layoff, based on her gender identity. The Consent Decree requires Agri-Pack to pay general damages and back pay, and undergo equal opportunity employment training for managers and floor supervisors, with an emphasis on preventing discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
       
  • WSHRC v. Haney Truck Line, LLC (Office of Administrative Hearings) – Complaint, Administrative Law Judge Initial Hearing Order
    • The WSHRC alleged Haney Truck Line, LLC, a shipping company based in Yakima, discriminated against an employee with a disability by failing to reasonably accommodate her and by prohibiting her from using her medical-alert service animal. The Administrative Law Judge, after a three day trial, found in favor of the WSHRC and ordered Haney Truck Line to pay the maximum amount allowed by statute for humiliation and mental suffering caused by the company’s arbitrary denial of the service animal. Haney Truck Line was also ordered to pay the employee’s out-of-pocket expenses and undergo equal opportunity employment training for all management employees, with an emphasis on reasonable accommodation and service animals.