OLYMPIA – Discriminating against immigrants in Washington because of their citizenship status would be illegal under a bill that received final passage Tuesday from the Legislature.
The Washington Law Against Discrimination would be expanded to include people based on their immigration or citizenship status, protecting them in public places, employment or when applying for housing, credit or insurance, according to the bill.
It passed 57-39 and was sent to Gov. Jay Inslee.
It’s an important update that would protect Washington residents, said Rep. Christine Kilduff, D-University Place.
“Washington is a very welcoming state,” Kilduff said. “This bill clearly moves us further down the line of welcoming folks.”
Rep. Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw, said the bill could put employers in a difficult situation of choosing whether to comply with state or federal law regarding the citizenship status of employees.
Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against a person based on immigrant or citizenship status while in the recruiting, hiring or firing process. Different treatment based on someone’s citizenship or immigration is allowed if it’s outlined by a government contract, state law or federal law.
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