WSHRC Presents: Seattle Meeting to Discuss Discrimination

Photo: AP/David Tulis

Photo: AP/David Tulis

The Washington State Human Rights Commission will sponsor a public forum in Seattle on Thursday, May 23, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The specified location: City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes Room (600 4th Avenue Seattle, WA 98104.)

Dubbed “A Community Meeting” by the Commission, the information-driven event is free and all are welcome to attend and participate. This thought provoking community discussion aims to focus on issues in the LGBT community. The Commission is encouraging advocacy organizations, public officials and agencies, and other groups to share the type and frequency of discrimination issues that are brought to them by their clients.

The Commission conducts community meetings in cities throughout the state of Washington.  The Commission uses these meetings as an opportunity to hear from the general public, human and civil rights organizations, local governments, educators, community leaders, activists, and others in an effort to establish productive partnerships with the community.  The work resulting from those partnerships helps further the Commission’s mission to prevent and eliminate discrimination in the state of Washington.

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Current members of the Board of Commissioners are: Stephen Hunt, Chair, Seattle; Deborah Lee, Commissioner, Olympia; Shawn Murinko, Commissioner, Olympia; Charlene Strong, Commissioner, Seattle; Clarence Henderson, Commissioner, Tacoma.  The Executive Director of the Washington State Human Rights Commission is Sharon Ortiz.

Anyone with questions or persons with disability accommodation needs or language needs should contact Laura Skinner, Executive Assistant to the Commissioners. Skinner can be reached at (360) 753-4876 or (800) 233-3247.  This meeting is being held in an accessible location.

quote blockBackground:

Established in 1949 by the Washington State Legislature, the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) is a state agency responsible for administering and enforcing the Washington Law Against Discrimination – Chapter 49.60 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).

The mission of the WSHRC is to eliminate and prevent discrimination in Washington State through the fair application of the law, efficient use of resources, and establishment of productive partnerships in the community.

Chapter 49.60 RCW is a state law that prohibits discriminatory practices in the areas of employment, places of public resort, accommodation, or amusement, in real estate transactions, and credit and insurance transactions on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, families with children, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability; and prohibits retaliation against persons who oppose a discriminatory practice, and those who file health care and state employee whistleblower complaints.

There are five Commissioners appointed by the Governor, who appoint an Executive Director.  The Executive Director appoints investigative staff, clerks, and other employees as needed to conduct the day-to-day operations of the agency.  The Commissioners provide policy direction, adopt regulations, and meet monthly to pass upon the investigative finding determinations recommended by staff, review and approve settlement agreements, and issue Board Orders setting forth the terms of the legally binding agreements and may vote to grant or deny requests for reconsideration of previously issued investigative findings.

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