GOVERNMENT & LEGAL ADVOCACY RESOURCES
STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES
EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT
The Employment Security Department (ESD) administers programs for receipt of unemployment benefits for eligible workers; job training and employment services for job seekers.
OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS
The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) is an independent state agency that conducts impartial administrative hearings on issues from unemployment benefits, whistleblower protection, and professional misconduct claims. .
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIES
The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) manages the state’s industrial insurance program, workers’ compensation benefits, questions about fair wages and prevailing wage requirements, workplace conditions, and safe work environments, contractor and building issues, crime victim claims, and other issues for workers and employers.
WASHINGTON STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) enforces the Washington State Law Against Discrimination. WSHRC also investigates state claims of housing and public accommodations discrimination as well as claims such as sexual orientation, gender identity, and creed that are not covered by federal law.
PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION
The Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) is an independent state agency responsible for resolving disputes involving most public employers and employees, and the unions that represent those employees.
CITY OF SEATTLE OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
Applying both federal and local laws, the Seattle Office For Civil Rights (SOCR) addresses illegal discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and contracting within the Seattle city limits. From filing a charge through the investigation of a case, SOCR provides a forum for resolution and remedies against discriminatory conduct. It also provides policy recommendations to City government and educate the public on civil rights issues.
CITY OF SEATTLE OFFICE OF LABOR STANDARDS
The Seattle Office of Labor Standards (SOLS) works to advance labor standards through thoughtful community and business engagement, strategic enforcement and innovative policy development, with a commitment to race and social justice. Additionally, this office enforces new legislation relating to paid sick leave, wage theft, and local minimum wage ordinances.
KING COUNTY OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS
The King County Office of Civil Rights investigates and resolves complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, and contracting. Its jurisdiction is limited to employees of King County and those employed or residing in unincorporated portions of King County. They also provide education, and offer technical assistance to businesses and landlords seeking to comply with these laws.
TACOMA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Tacoma Human Rights Commission receives, investigates, and resolves complaints of discrimination in housing transactions (rental, sales, lending, insurance, advertising), employment and public accommodations.
STATE AND LOCAL RESOURCES
WASHINGTON EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
WELA‘s mission is to enforce and advance employee rights by promoting and increasing public awareness of the rights of individual employees; enhancing the quality of legal representation of employees; advocating for employee rights before courts and legislative bodies; and assisting and supporting members in their practice of plaintiffs’ employment law. WELA is comprised of attorneys, law professors, paralegals and law students devoted to the promotion of employee rights and maintains an on-line lawyer directory of members with expertise in various employment law area.
Legal Voice secures and protects women’s legal rights. A vital, active force in the community, Legal Voice makes substantive, lasting changes through legislation, self-help resources and litigation with a far-reaching public impact.
KING COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
Through its Lawyer Referral Service, The King County Bar Association (KCBA) makes referrals for individuals who wish to hire an attorney. In addition, the KCBA offers Neighborhood Legal Clinics which offer free, limited legal advice and referrals to King County residents and Washington State residents with legal issues in King Pro Bono Services where it works with over 1,300 volunteers to provide free legal services in King County.
NORTHWEST JUSTICE PROJECT
The Northwest Justice Project (NJP) is Washington’s publicly funded legal aid program. Each year NJP provides critical civil legal assistance and representation to thousands of low-income people in cases affecting basic human needs –housing, disability and other benefits, access to health care and education.
Washington LawHelp is a guide to free civil legal services for low-income persons and seniors in Washington. The site provides legal education materials and tools that give you basic information on a number of legal problems, detailed instructions and forms for representing yourself in court. It provides information on other free legal aid programs in Washington.
THE UNEMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT
The Unemployment Law Project provides low-cost representation and free advice and counsel to people in Washington State who have been denied unemployment benefits or whose award of benefits is being challenged.
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF WASHINGTON
The Washington Chapter of the ACLU has long advocated to protect the Bill of Rights and has engaged in landmark legislation opposing the Japanese Relocation, McCarthy-era blacklisting of UW faculty, and student and employee rights to assemble and protect their civil rights. They also maintain an active legislative program.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency vested with the power to safeguard employees’ rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative. The agency also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration serves to assure safe and healthful conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education and compliance assistance.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR – WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION
The Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections, WHD also enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, and other statutes.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE – DISABILITY RIGHTS SECTION (ADA)
The Disability Rights Section works to achieve equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the United States by implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Section’s efforts are focused on enforcement, certification, regulatory, coordination, and technical assistance activities, required by the ADA.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE – CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION
The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR – OFFICE OF FEDERAL CONTRACT COMPLIANCE
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs enforces, for the benefit of job seekers and wage earners, the contractual promise of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity required of those who do business with the Federal government.
OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES
NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (NELA)
The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) advances employee rights and serves lawyers who advocate for equality and justice in the American workplace.
Workplace Fairness is a non-profit organization working to preserve and promote employee rights. This site provides comprehensive information about job rights and employment issues nationally and in all 50 states. It is for workers, employers, advocates, policymakers, journalists, and anyone else who wants to understand, protect, and strengthen workers’ rights.
NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT
The National Employment Law Project (NELP)’s goal is to restore the promise of economic opportunity in the 21st century economy. In partnership with national, state and local allies, we promote policies and programs that create good jobs, strengthen upward mobility, enforce hard-won worker rights, and help unemployed workers regain their economic footing through improved benefits and services.
LEGAL MOMENTUM (FORMERLY NOW LEGAL DEFENSE FUND)
Legal Momentum is the nation’s oldest legal defense and education fund dedicated to advancing the rights of all women and girls. For more than 40 years, Legal Momentum has made historic contributions through litigation and public policy advocacy to advance economic and personal security for women.
NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) is the country’s first and foremost civil and human rights law firm. Founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, who subsequently became the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, LDF was launched at a time when the nation’s aspirations for equality and due process of law were stifled by widespread state-sponsored racial inequality.LDF’s mission has always been transformative: to achieve racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society.
LAMBDA LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
JOB ACCOMMODATION NETWORK
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.