Age Discrimination

Age discrimination occurs when you, either as an employee or job applicant, are treated unfairly because of your age.  Both the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Washington Law Against Discrimination forbid age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. Neither statute protects workers under the age of 40.

Both state and federal law forbid age discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Age discrimination can be overt, but it is often subtle. If you suspect that you have been terminated for unfair reasons or have been subjected to a lay-off that disproportionally affects your older co-workers, do not hesitate to contact Sipherd Burke Law. We have aggressively advocated for many employees who have found themselves without employment, after years of dedicated service. In each of these cases, our client’s only fault was gracefully aging.


Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination occurs when you, either as an employee or job applicant, are treated unfairly because of a mental or physical condition. There are many ways an employer can treat you unfairly based on your disability. For example, an employer may treat you unfairly due to your history of disability. Your employer may also treat you unfairly based on perceptions about your disability. Disabilities can be both short-term and long-term.

Both state and federal law require employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees or job applicants with short-term or long-term disabilities, unless doing so would cause the employer an undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment that will help an employee with a disability apply for a job, perform the duties of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of the job. Reasonable accommodation might include, for example, allowing an employee to flex his or her time to seek medical treatment or permitting an employee extra time to finish projects.

At Sipherd Burke Law, we routinely represent clients denied reasonable accommodation. We have similarly represented clients who have been stereotyped or labeled as “disabled” or “unqualified” to perform their jobs even though their disabilities have no impact on job performance whatsoever. These assumptions are almost always based on employer ignorance. 

If you have been treated unfairly or made to feel like your disability was a stain on your employer’s unblemished reputation, please contact Sipherd Burke Law. We will explain what your legal options may be as well as what your employer’s legal obligations may be.


Gender Discrimination

Discrimination based on gender occurs when you are treated unfairly based on your sex or gender. It can take many forms, including sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and unequal pay. Both federal and state law make it illegal for your employer to discriminate against you because of your gender or sex in the hiring, firing, and other job related issues like raises and promotions.

Gender discrimination also takes the form of sexual orientation discrimination. The Washington Law Against Discrimination protects against sexual orientation discrimination in the hiring, firing, and other job related issues like raises and promotions.  Sexual orientation discrimination is not yet protected by Federal Law.

At Sipherd Burke Law, we aggressively advocate for clients who have been sexually harassed, marginalized, or stereotyped. There is never a circumstance in which an employer should treat an employee (LGBTQ, female, or male) in such a disrespectful and inhumane way.


Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination occurs when you are treated unfairly because of the pregnancy itself, childbirth, or a medical condition related to either pregnancy or childbirth. Both federal and Washington State law make it illegal for your employer to discriminate against in the hiring, firing, and other job related issues, such as raises and promotions.

If you are unable to perform your job because of a medical condition related to your pregnancy or childbirth, your employer must treat you similarly to other employees who are temporarily disabled. This may include allowing you to work light duty, and to receive alternative work assignments and disability leave or unpaid pregnancy leave.

Certain conditions resulting from pregnancy may be considered disabilities under federal and Washington State law. Consequently, your employer may be required to provide with you a workplace accommodation. Under the Family & Medical Leave Act, if you are a new parent, you may be entitled up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in order to care for your child. Moreover, if you are a working mother, you have the right  to express milk in the workplace.

At Sipherd Burke Law, we understand that pregnancy discrimination can impact your life in a way that adversely affects not only your job security but also your health and wellbeing. For that reason, we proactively intervene on your behalf and help you secure justice. We are also here for you when it comes to discussing viable healthcare options post employment separation. Advocating for you means advocating for the health and wellbeing of your child as well.


Race Discrimination

Race discrimination in the workplace occurs when you, either as an employee or job applicant, are treated unfairly because of your race. This discrimination may include being treated unfairly because your spouse is a particular race. Race discrimination can occur even when the harasser may be the same race as you are.

Federal law makes it illegal for your employer to discriminate against you because of you race in the hiring, firing, and other job related issues, like raises and promotions. This law applies to all employers who have more than 15 employees.

Likewise in Washington, it is illegal for your employer to treat you unfairly because of your race. This law applies to all employers that have 8 or more employees.

It is difficult to find yourself in an employment situation where your employer actively or passively targets you based on your race. At Sipherd Burke Law, we want you to know that such behavior is not only illegal but reprehensible. We will do everything in our power to stop this type of behavior and obtain justice for you. If you think you are being treated differently based on your race or ethnicity, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately.


Religious Discrimination

Federal and Washington State law protect individuals from discrimination based on religion. Religion is defined broadly to include all aspects of religious observance and practices. This includes not only traditional, organized religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism, but also religious beliefs that may be new, uncommon, or not part of a formal religious institution.

Religious discrimination occurs when your employer treats you unfairly because of your religion. It can also occur when your employer refuses to accommodate your religious practices such as praying, attending worship services, or wearing religious clothing.

Both federal and Washington State law makes it illegal for your employer to treat you unfairly because of your religion. Your employer is also required to provide you with a reasonable accommodation for a religious practice, as long as the accommodation does not impose an undue burden on your employer.

One of the most fundamental freedoms we hold as Americans is the right to be free from religious persecution. At Sipherd Burke Law, we routinely handle cases where hardworking employees are made to feel like second class citizens because of their religious affiliations. In these situations, we aggressively intervene on behalf of the employee to seek justice. If you believe that you are being targeted based on your religion or perceived religion, do not hesitate to contact us.


Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace is when someone is harassed or treated differently because of their sexual orientation, whether real or perceived. Washington State protects individuals from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, including in the workplace. Washington defines sexual orientation as heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender expression or identity.

Federal law does not expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Federal courts, however, may allow claims of gender discrimination and sexual harassment that involve issues of sexual orientation.