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Employment Law

How do I file a complaint against an employer in Washington state?

By November 18, 2020March 14th, 2024No Comments

Employers have a duty to create a safe work environment, provide an honest wage, and offer equal opportunities across all classes of people. 

So when they don’t care for their employees as they should, it could leave you looking for ways to file a complaint against them. 

Knowing where to turn and how to resolve Washington state employment law issues can be confusing. And sadly, employers don’t always create a clear path for resolving such claims.

Here, we’ve put together a listing of some common issues you might face with an employer and how to report those issues.

What is a whistleblower complaint?

The term whistleblower is a broad one that protects employees who speak out against their employer. A whistleblower complaint could be anything from discrimination and harassment to hazardous or unsafe working conditions.

Federal law protects whistleblowers from retaliation from their employers. This means that you should feel free to file a complaint with the state departments and boards that oversee employee protections without fear of losing your job or other work-related repercussions.

It’s important to be aware of your rights in regards to employment claims.

You have the following rights:

  • To refuse to take part in illegal activity
  • To exercise your freedoms to fulfill a public duty (i.e., jury duty)
  • To exercise your legal rights
  • To freely report employer misconduct without penalties

How to file Washington state employment law complaints

If you can file a complaint internally with your HR department or your manager, it’s often best to start there. 

Only once you get no response or no resolution to your complaints should you turn to reporting the issues to the various entities in Washington designed to protect your employment rights.

There are many different commissions and state departments that oversee the rights of employees. 

You’ll need to go to the right departments to file a complaint to seek a resolution in your place of employment.

Here’s a look at the types of complaints you might seek to file and where to file them.

  • Discrimination and retaliation: Employees facing workplace discrimination should file a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC). It’s important that you don’t delay completing this filing as it must be done within six months of the discrimination or retaliation you experienced. You’ll find detailed information on how to file a complaint on their website.
  • Occupational safety and health: Workers facing hazardous or unsafe working conditions can file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). The complaints you can file with L&I are quite expansive, including:
    • Wage issues,
    • Non-wage issues, 
    • Workers’ rights complaints
    • Required breaks and meal periods,
    • Child labor laws, and 
    • Uniform regulations.

You’ll find full details about the types of complaints you can file on their website

Seeking financial restitution for employment complaints

Filing a claim with the state is a step in the right direction of improving your work situation. 

However, it does little to help you recover from the wrongdoing you encountered.

An additional lawsuit against your employer can help you recover financially if you lost your job, experienced pay decreases, or your compensation was unfair according to the law.

The Gilbert Law Firm offers a team of attorneys with vast experience in employment law matters. We’ll protect your rights and help you get back the compensation you deserve after you’ve been the victim of discrimination or retaliation.

Contact the Gilbert Law Firm for help with your case today

Schedule a free consultation to get to know our firm and share your case details with us. Our team will offer sound advice on whether or not you have a case and how best to proceed.

Lawyers who listen.

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