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Know Your Rights: Report Illegal Discrimination

The image illustrates three people talking in an office setting.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) enforces Seattle’s civil rights laws which include protections against discrimination in employment, public places, housing, and contracting. Our investigations are free, and we assist people in filing claims.  

Who is Protected 

Seattle offers some of the most expansive antidiscrimination protections in the United States. Discrimination based on the following common group characteristics—known as protected classes—is prohibited by law:  

  • Age (may not be applicable in all employment or fair contracting cases) 
  • Ancestry 
  • Alternative source of income (applicable to housing)
  • Breastfeeding in a public place 
  • Caste 
  • Citizenship or immigration status 
  • Color 
  • Creed 
  • Disability 
  • Gender identity 
  • Genetic information (applicable to employment)
  • Martial status 
  • National origin 
  • Parental status (not applicable in employment cases) 
  • Political ideology 
  • Pregnancy outcomes
  • Race (including traits associated with race) 
  • Religion 
  • Sex 
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Use of a Section 8 certificate or other housing subsidy
  • Use of a service animal  
  • Military status or veteran  

Types of Illegal Discrimination  

A video illustrates civil rights enforcement services offered by the SOCR. Click here to view the video in Spanish, or with subtitles in Amharic, Farsi, French, Somali, or Tagalog.

City of Seattle laws protect you from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Discrimination is illegal when you are treated differently from others in a similar situation based on your membership in a protected class and are harmed by the treatment or denied reasonable accommodations due to a disability without a valid business reason.  

Harassment is defined as conduct directed at you based on your identity that is serious and frequent enough to create a hostile environment and interfere with your ability to work, live, or enjoy a public place. It can include threats, slurs, threatening acts or offensive materials on walls, bulletin boards, and emails.    

Seattle laws also protects you from retaliation for asserting a civil right, and cooperating with or enforcing discrimination complaints.  

How to File a Claim  

If you think you’ve been discriminated against, call SOCR at (206) 684-4500, email us at, or visit our website at   

Our office has jurisdiction within Seattle city limits, and more information about the laws we enforce is available here. If your situation does not qualify for investigation by us, we will refer you to the appropriate agency for help.