Washington Employment Law Update – July 2018


Discrimination and Religious Affiliation

On March 28, 2018, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation (H.B. 2097) making it an unlawful practice for an employer to:

  • Require an employee to disclose his or her sincerely held religious affiliation or beliefs, unless the disclosure is to provide a religious accommodation at the employee’s request; or
  • Require or authorize an employee to disclose information about the religious affiliation of another employee, unless the individual whose religious affiliation will be disclosed expressly consents to it and has knowledge of the disclosure’s purpose.

Under the law, all records that relate to or contain personally identifying information about an individual’s religious beliefs, practices, or affiliation are also exempt from disclosure under the state’s Public Records Act.

The law became effective June 7, 2018.

Read WA H.B. 2097

Disability and Service Animal

On March 22, 2018, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation (H.B. 2822) redefining the term service animal as being only a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The work or tasks must be directly related to the individual’s disability. The law also provides examples of work or tasks the dog or horse may perform; however, the law makes no mention of qualified animals providing emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship.

The law further specifies penalties for the intentional misrepresentation of a service animal.

The law is effective January 1, 2019.

Read WA H.B. 2822