March 21, 2016
Today?WELA filed an amicus brief in the Washington Supreme Court urging the Court to reverse a judgment after bench trial against employees of Western Washington State Hospital.? They claim racial discrimination and a hostile work environment in violation of the WLAD, RCW 49.60 et seq. They allege that management at the hospital made a facially racial classification in staffing for one particular patient, and that ?assignment reflects an unwritten policy and practice of making racial staffing assignments. The Hospital admits the racial classification but insists that staff safety and not race was the substantial factor in the assignment.
WELA?s brief argues that when there is a facially discriminatory racial classification, causation is established and the plaintiff need not separately show that race was a ?substantial factor? in the employer?s decision.? WELA also argues that an ?adverse action? can result from dignitary harm even if there is no tangible economic harm.? WELA?s brief was drafted by Jeffrey L. Needle and Elizabeth Hanley.