Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Federal Policies

  • Washington, et al. v. Trump et al. (“Travel Ban”) -  complaint against EO1, complaint against EO2, complaint against EO3 
    • Washington leads a six-state challenge to a series of policies banning immigration and travel to the United States from Muslim-majority countries. The travel bans separate families, harm employers including state agencies, harm the interests of our colleges and universities, and cause other harm to the states of Washington, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon. Washington obtained the first injunction against the original travel ban, and continues to lead litigation against subsequent versions of the travel ban issued by President Trump. The lawsuit is pending in federal court in Seattle.   
  • New York, et al. v. Trump, et al. (“DACA”) - complaint
    • The State of Washington, along with New York and Massachusetts, co-lead a 17-state challenge to the federal government’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (“DACA”). Since it first established in 2012, DACA has granted lawful presence to close to 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.  The complaint alleges that federal agencies and officials violated the constitutional guarantees of Equal Protection and Due Process, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act by terminating DACA for unlawful reasons and contrary to required procedures. The lawsuit is pending in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Karnoski, et al. v. Trump, et al. (“Transgender Military Service Ban”) - complaint
    • The State of Washington successfully intervened in a challenge to President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, including the Administration’s policies related to recruitment, retention, and the provision of health-care services for transgender service members. Washington is home to approximately 60,000 active, reserve, and National Guard members. The complaint alleges that the Transgender Military Service Ban violates the constitutional guarantees of Equal Protection and Due Process by discriminating on the bases of sex and gender identity. The lawsuit is pending in federal court in Seattle.

Employment

  • State v. The GEO Group, Inc. (Pierce County Superior Court and Western District of Washington) - complaint 
    • The State of Washington sued The GEO Group, Inc. for failing to pay adequate wages to immigrant detainees, who are housed at the Northwest Detention Center (“NWDC”) in Tacoma. The lawsuit arises from GEO’s practice of paying immigrant detainees $1 per day for work that they perform at NWDC to keep NWDC operational. The State seeks a judicial declaration stating that GEO must comply with the State’s minimum wage laws when it operates a private detention facility within the state. The State also asks that GEO be ordered to disgorge unjustly earned profits GEO made from not paying immigrant detainees adequately. The State filed its complaint in Pierce County Superior Court, and GEO removed the matter to federal court in Tacoma.
  • State v. Horning Brothers, L.L.C. (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington) — complaint
    • The State of Washington alleges that a Quincy agricultural company and its packing shed foreman violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Washington Law Against Discrimination by using sex-segregated hiring practices in its onion packing shed. The State further alleges that women who work in the packing shed were subjected to unlawful sexual harassment, and that workers who rejected the foreman’s advances or complained about them were subject to retaliation. The lawsuit is pending in federal court.
  • 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.

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

    • WSHRC v. Spike’s Food-Mart Inc. (Office of Administrative Hearings) – complaint, consent decree
      • The WSHRC alleged Spike’s Food-Mart Inc., a gift shop and deli in Richland, demoted and terminated an employee because of behavior caused by her disability. The Consent Decree requires Spike’s Food-Mart to pay general damages and undergo equal opportunity employment training for managers and supervisors, with an emphasis on preventing discrimination on the basis of disability.
    • 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 Final 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.