[CH. 183.] SESSION LAWS, 1949.
[ S.B.12. ]
DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT.
AN ACT to prevent and eliminate discrimination in employment
against persons because of race, creed, color or national origin;
creating in the executive department a state board, against
discrimination; defining its functions, powers and duties and
providing for the appointment and compensation of its officers
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State
SECTION 1. This law shall be known as the "Law Against
Discrimination in Employment." It shall be deemed an exercise
of the police power of the state for the protection of the public
welfare, health and peace of the people of this state, and in
fulfillment of the provisions of the constitution of this state
concerning civil rights; and the Legislature hereby finds and
declares that practices of discrimination against any of its
inhabitants because of race, creed, color or national origin
are a matter of state concern that such discrimination threatens
not only the rights and proper privileges of its inhabitants
but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic
state. A state agency is hereby created with powers with respect
to elimination and prevention of discrimination in employment
because of race,
creed, color or national origin, as herein provided; and the
Board established hereunder is hereby given general jurisdiction
and power for such purposes.
SEC. 2. The opportunity to obtain employment
without discrimination because of race, creed, color declared
national to be origin is hereby recognized as and declared to
be a civil right.
SEC. 3. As used herein: (a) The term "person"
includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations,
corporations, legal representatives, trustees in bankruptcy,
receivers or any group of persons, and includes any political
or civil subdivision of the state and any agency or instrumentality
of the state or of any political or civil subdivision thereof;
(b) The term "employer" includes any person acting
in the interest of an employer, directly, or indirectly, who
has eight (8) or more persons in his employ, and does not include
any religious, charitable, educational, social or fraternal
association or corporation, not organized for private profit;
(c) The term "employee" does not include any individual
employed by his parents, spouse or child, or in the domestic
service of any person;
(d) The term "labor organization" includes any organization
which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing
with employers concerning grievances or terms or conditions
of employment, or for other mutual aid or protection in connection
with employment; .
(e) The term "employment agency" includes any person
undertaking with or without compensation to recruit, procure,
refer, or place employees for an employer;
(f) The term "national origin" shall, for the purposes
of this act, include "ancestry.
SEC. 4. (a) There is hereby created a Board
to be known as the Washington State Board Against Discrimination
in Employment, which shall be composed of five members to be
appointed by the Governor, one of whom shall be designated as
chairman by the Governor.
(b) One of the original members shall be appointed for a term
of one year, one for a term of two years, one for a term of
three years, one for a term of four years, one for a term of
five years, but their successors shall be appointed for terms
of five years each, except that any individual chosen to fill
a vacancy shall be appointed only for the unexpired term of
the member whom he shall succeed.
(c) Each member of the Board while in session or on official
business shall receive the sum of twenty dollars ($20) per day
in lieu of subsistence and shall receive reimbursement for actual
and necessary travelling expenses incurred during such time.
Such reimbursement to be made in the manner provided by law
for similar reimbursements for state employees. A member shall
be eligible for reappointment.
(d) The Board shall have an official seal which shall be judicially
(e) A vacancy in the Board shall be filled within thirty days,
the remaining members to exercise all powers of the Board.
(f) The principal office of the Board shall be in the City of
Seattle, but it may meet and exercise any or all of its powers
at any other place in the state and may establish such district
offices as it deems necessary.
(g) The Board, at the close of each six months period, shall
report to the Governor, describing in detail the investigations,
proceedings, and hearings it has conducted and their outcome,
the decisions it has rendered, the recommendations it has issued,
and the other work performed by it, and shall make such recommendations
for further legislation as may appear desirable. The Board shall
present its reports to each regular session of the Legislature;
the Board's reports shall be published and made available upon
(h) Any member of the Board may be removed by the Governor for
inefficiency, neglect of duty, misconduct or malfeasance in
office, after being given a written statement of the charges
and an opportunity to be heard thereon.
SEC. 5. The Board shall formulate policies
to effectuate the purposes of this act and may make recommendations
to agencies and officers of the state or local subdivisions
of government in aid of such policies and purposes.
SEC. 6. The Board shall have the following
functions, powers and duties:
(a) To establish and maintain its principal office in the City
of Seattle, and such other offices within the state as it deems
(b) To meet and function at any place within the state.
(c) To appoint an Executive Secretary and Chief Examiner, and
such investigators, examiners, clerks, arid other employees
and agents as it may deem necessary, fix their compensation
within the limitations provided by law, and prescribe their
(d) To obtain upon request and utilize the services of all governmental
departments and agencies.
(e) To adopt, promulgate, amend; and rescind suitable rules
and regulations to carry out the provisions of this act, and
the policies and practices of the Board in connection therewith.
(f) To receive, investigate arid pass upon complaints alleging
discrimination in employment because of race, creed, color or
(g) To hold hearings, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance,
administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath,
and in connection therewith, to require the production for examination
of any books or papers relating to any matter under investigation
or in question before the Board. The Board may make rules as
to the issuance of subpoenas by individual members as to service
of complaints, decisions, orders, recommendations and other
process or papers of the Board, its member, agent, or agency,
either personally or by registered mail, return receipt requested,
or by leaving a copy thereof at the principal office or place
of business of the person required to be served. The return
post office receipt, when service is by registered mail, shall
be proof of service of the same.
No person shall be excused from attending and testifying or
from producing records, correspondence, documents or other evidence
in obedience to the subpoena of the Board or of any individual
member, on the ground that the testimony or evidence required
of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to a penalty
or forfeiture, but no person shall be prosecuted or subjected
to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction,
matter or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having
claimed his privilege against self incrimination, to testify
or produce evidence, except that such person so testifying shall
not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed
in so testifying. The immunity herein provided shall extend
only to natural persons so compelled to testify.
In case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to
any person, the Superior Court of any county within the jurisdiction
of which the investigation, proceeding, or hearing is carried
on or within the jurisdiction of which said person guilty of
contumacy or refusal to obey is found or resides or transacts
business, upon application by the Board shall have jurisdiction
to issue to such person an order requiring such person to appear
before the Board, its member, agent, or agency, there to produce
evidence if so ordered, or there to give testimony touching
the matter under investigation or in question, and any failure
to obey such order of the Court may be punished by said Court
as a contempt thereof.
(h) To create such advisory agencies and conciliation councils,
local, regional or state wide, as in its judgment will aid in
effectuating the purposes of this article, and the Board may
empower them to study the problems of discrimination in all
or specific fields of human relationships or in specific instances
of discrimination because of race, creed, color or national
origin, and to foster through community effort or otherwise
good will, cooperation and conciliation among the groups and
elements of the population of the state, and, make recommendations
to the Board for the development of policies and procedures
in general and in specific instances, and for programs of formal
and informal education which the Board may recommend to the
appropriate state agency. Such advisory agencies and conciliation
councils shall be composed of representative citizens, serving
without pay, but with reimbursement for actual and necessary
travelling expenses, and the Board may make provision for technical
and clerical assistance to such agencies and councils and for
the expenses of such assistance; the Board may use organizations
specifically experienced in dealing with questions of discrimination.
(i) To issue such publications and such results of investigations
and research as its judgment will tend to promote good will
and minimize or eliminate discrimination because of race, creed,
color or national origin.
(j) To adopt an official seal.
(k) To make such technical studies as are appropriate to effectuate
the purposes and policies of this act and to publish and distribute
the reports of such studies.
(1) Witnesses before the Board, its member, agent, or agency,
shall be paid the same fees and mileage that are paid witnesses
in the Courts of this state. Witnesses whose depositions are
taken and the person taking the same shall be entitled to same
fees as are paid for like services in the Courts of the state.
SEC. 7. (1) It shall be an unfair employment
practice for any employer:
(a) To refuse to hire any person because of such person's race,
creed, color, or national origin, unless based upon a bona fide
(b) To discharge or bar any person from employment because of
such person's race, creed, color, or national origin.
(c) To discriminate against any person in compensation or in
other terms or conditions of employment because of such person's
race, creed, color or national origin.
(2) It shall be an unfair employment practice for any labor
union or labor organization:
(a) To deny full membership rights and privileges to any person
because of such person's race, or national creed, color, or
(b) To expel from membership any person because of such person's
race, creed, color or national origin; or
(c) To discriminate against any member, employer, or employee
because of such person's creed, color, or national origin.
(3) It shall be an unfair employment practice for any employment
agency, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification
or need, to fail or refuse to classify properly or refer for
employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual
because of his race, color, religious creed, national origin
(4) It shall be an unfair employment practice for any employer,
employment agency, or labor union to discharge, expel, or otherwise
discriminate against any person because he has opposed any practices
forbidden by this act, or because he has filed a charge, testified,
or assisted in any proceeding under this act.
(5) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for any person
to aid, abet, encourage, or incite the commission of any unlawful
employment practice, or to attempt to obstruct or prevent any
other person from complying with the provisions of this act
or any order issued thereunder.
SEC. 8. Any person claiming to be aggrieved
by an alleged unfair employment practice may, by himself or
his attorney, make, sign and file with the Board a complaint
in writing under oath, which shall state the name and address
of the person, employer, labor organization or employment agency
alleged to have committed the unfair employment practice, and
which shall set forth the particulars thereof and contain such
other information as may be required by the Commission. The
Board, whenever it has reason to believe that any persons [person]
has been engaged or is engaging in an unfair employment practice
may issue a complaint. Any employer whose employees, or any
of them, refuse or threaten to refuse plaint asking to comply
with the provisions of this act may file with the Board a written
complaint under oath asking for assistance by conciliation or
other remedial action. After the filing of any complaint, the
chairman of the Board shall refer the same to a member or investigator
to make prompt preliminary investigation of such complaint,
and, if such member or
investigator determines after such preliminary investigation
that there is reasonable cause for believing that an unfair
employment practice has been or is being committed as alleged
in such complaint, he shall immediately endeavor to eliminate
the unfair employment practice complained of by conference,
conciliation and persuasion. No member or investigator shall
disclose what has occurred in the course of such endeavors,
provided the Board may publish the facts in the case of any
complaint which has been dismissed and the terms of conciliation
when a complaint has been adjusted. In case of failure to eliminate
such practice, the investigator or investigating member shall
certify the complaint and the result of his investigation to
the Chairman of the Board.
The Chairman of the Board shall thereupon appoint a hearing
tribunal of three persons who shall be members of the Board
or panel of hearing examiners to hear such complaint and shall
cause to be issued and served in the name of the Board a written
notice, together with a copy of such complaint, as the same
may have been amended, requiring the person, employer, labor
organization or employment agency named in such complaint, hereinafter
referred to as the respondent, to answer the charges of such
complaint at a hearing before such tribunal, at a time and place
to be specified in such notice. The place of any such hearing
may be the office of the Board or another place designated by
it. The case in support
of the complaint shall be presented at the hearing by counsel
for the Commission; and no member of the Board who previously
made the investigation or caused the notice to be issued shall
participate in the hearing except as a witness, nor shall he
participate in the deliberations of the tribunal in such case.
Any endeavors or negotiations for conciliation shall not be
received in evidence. The respondent may file a written answer
to the complaint and appear at such hearing in person or otherwise,
with or without counsel, and submit testimony and be fully heard.
The tribunal conducting any hearing may permit reasonable amendment
to any complaint or answer and the testimony taken at each hearing
shall be under oath and be transcribed at the request of any
party. If, upon all the evidence, the tribunal finds that a
respondent has engaged in any unfair employment practice as
defined in section 7, it shall state its findings of fact and
shall issue and file with the Board and cause to be served on
such respondent an order requiring such respondent to cease
and desist from such unfair employment practice. If, upon all
the evidence, the tribunal finds that the respondent has not
engaged in any alleged unfair employment practice, it shall
state its findings of fact and shall similarly issue and file
an order dismissing the complaint. The Board shall establish
rules of practice Rules of to govern, expedite and effectuate
the foregoing procedure. Any complaint filed pursuant to this
section must be so filed within six months after the alleged
act of discrimination.
SEC. 9. (a) The Board may petition the Court
Enforcement within the county wherein any unfair employment
practice occurred or wherein any person charged with unlawful
employment practice resides or transacts business, for the enforcement
of any order issued by a tribunal under the provisions of this
act and for appropriate temporary relief or a restraining order;
and shall certify and file in Court a transcript of the entire
record of the proceedings, including the pleadings and testimony
upon which such order was made and the finding and orders of
the hearing tribunal. Within five days after filing such petition
in the Court the Board shall cause a notice of such petition
to be sent by registered mail to all parties or their representatives.
The Court shall have jurisdiction of the proceedings and of
the questions determined thereon, and shall have the power to
grant such relief by injunction or otherwise, including temporary
relief, as it deems just and suitable and to make and enter,
upon the pleadings, testimony and proceedings set forth in such
transcript, a decree enforcing, modifying and enforcing as so
modified, or setting aside in whole or in part any order of
the Board or hearing tribunal.
(b) The findings of the hearing tribunal as to the facts, if
supported by substantial and competent evidence, shall be conclusive.
The Court, upon its own motion or upon motion of either of the
parties to the proceeding, may permit each party to introduce
such additional evidence as the court may believe necessary
to a proper decision of the cause.
(c) The jurisdiction of the Court shall be exclusive and its
judgment and decree shall be final, except that the same shall
be subject to review by the Supreme Court, on appeal, by either
party, irrespective of the nature of the decree or judgment.
Such appeal shall be taken and prosecuted in the same manner
and form and with the same effect as is provided in other cases
of appeal to the Supreme Court, and the record so certified
shall contain all that was before the lower Court.
(d) Any respondent aggrieved by a final order of a hearing tribunal
may obtain a review of such order in the Superior Court for
the county where the unfair employment practice is alleged to
have occurred or in the county wherein such person resides or
transacts business by filing with the Clerk of said Court, within
two weeks from the date of such order, a written petition in
duplicate praying that such order be modified or set aside.
The Clerk shall thereupon mail the duplicate copy to the Board.
The Board shall then cause to be filed in said Court a certified
transcript of the entire record in the proceedings, including
the pleadings, testimony and order. Upon such filing said Court
shall proceed in the same manner as in the case of a petition
by the Board under this section and shall have the same, exclusive
jurisdiction to grant to the respondent such temporary relief
or restraining order as it deems just and suitable, and in like
manner to make and enter a decree enforcing or modifying and
enforcing as so modified or setting aside, in whole or in part,
the order sought to be reviewed.
(e) Unless otherwise directed by the Board tribunal or Court,
commencement of review proceedings under this section shall
operate as a stay of any order.
(f) Petitions filed under this section shall be heard expeditiously
and determined upon the transcript filed, without requirement
of printing. Hearings in the Court under this act shall take
precedence over all other matters, except matters of the same
(g) No Court of this state shall have jurisdiction to issue
any restraining order or temporary or permanent injunction preventing
the Board from performing any function vested in it by this
act, nor shall any Court have any jurisdiction to issue any
order relating to the administration of this act, except as
provided by sections 10 and 11 hereof.
(h) This section shall not be applicable to orders issued against
any political or civil subdivision of the state, or any agency,
office, or employee thereof.
SEC. 10. Any person, employer, labor organization
or employment agency, who or which shall wilfully resist, prevent,
impede, or interfere with the orders of Board or any of its
members or representatives in the performance of duty under
this article, or shall wilfully violate an order of the Board,
shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; but procedure for the review
of the order shall not be deemed to be such wilful conduct.
SEC. 11. In any case in which the Board shall
issue an order against any political or civil subdivision of
the state, or any agency, or instrumentality governmental of
the state or of the foregoing, or any officer or employee thereof,
the Board shall transmit a copy of such order to the Governor
of the state who shall take such action as he deems appropriate
to secure compliance with such order.
SEC. 12. The provisions of this act shall
be construed liberally for the accomplishment of the purposes
thereof. Nothing contained in this act shall be deemed to repeal
any of the provisions of any other law of this state relating
to discrimination because of race, color, creed or national
SEC. 13. If any provision of this act or the
application of such provision to any person or circumstance
shall be held invalid, the remainder of such act or the application
of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those
to which it is held invalid shall not be affected thereby.
SEC. 14. There is hereby appropriated from
General Fund the sum of twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000)
to carry out the purpose of this act.
Passed the Senate February 22, 1949.
Passed the House March 6, 1949.
Approved by the Governor March 19, 1949.