State and federal nondiscrimination laws also protect school district employees from discrimination. Employees may file a complaint alleging discrimination in employment with their school district using the same process that is outlined above or file a complaint directly with a state or federal agency listed below.
Please note, with certain exceptions, OSPI will not investigate complaints alleging employment discrimination that may constitute a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or the Washington Law Against Discrimination. OSPI does not have jurisdiction under these laws and does not provide individual remedies under these laws. Given the role of other state and federal agencies in investigating and resolving employment discrimination complaints, OSPI will not open these complaints for investigation.
For such complaints, OSPI encourages complainants to file their complaint with an appropriate agency that investigates employment discrimination. Information about these complaint options is listed below.
Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC)
The WSHRC enforces the Washington Law Against Discrimination, chapter 49.60 RCW, which prohibits discrimination in employment and in places of public accommodation, including schools, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, race, creed, color, national origin, honorably discharged veteran or military status, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. In general, complaints must be filed with WSHRC within six months from the date of the alleged discrimination.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC investigates complaints of workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 and older) disability, or genetic information. In general, complaints must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days (six months) of the alleged discrimination.
Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I)
L&I investigates complaints against employers (including prospective or former employers) for violations of the Equal Pay and Opportunities Act, which prohibits gender pay discrimination and promotes fairness among workers by addressing business practices that contribute to income disparities between genders. This includes complaints related to equal pay, equal career advancement opportunities, open wage discussions, and retaliation. In general, complaints must be filed within four years of the alleged violation of the law. Note: L&I can only address alleged violations that occurred after June 7, 2018, which is the effective date of the law, for most of the Equal Pay and Opportunities Act protections.
U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights enforces federal civil rights laws, which prohibit discrimination in public schools on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and disability. However, with certain exceptions, OCR refers individual complaints of employment discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In general, complaints must be filed with OCR within 180 days (six months) of the alleged discrimination.