FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 16, 2023
OLYMPIA – Sen. Marko Liias’ (D-Everett) bill protecting Washingtonians from discriminatory treatment because of their identity was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday.
Senate Bill 5186 requires antidiscrimination clauses to be included in all state contracts and subcontracts. While current anti-discrimination laws only protect workers of certain employers, this legislation applies similar protections to all employers paid with public funds. This ensures all publicly paid companies hire and treat their employees with fairness and respect.
“This legislation is an important step in advancing equity in hiring and employment,” Liias said. “All people in our state deserve to have an opportunity at employment, and that is especially true with places that involve public contracts. When the state partners with an organization, it should be lining up with our most basic values.”
“There is no place for discrimination in our state. The non-discrimination clauses required by this bill not only promote inclusivity and diversity, they help prevent discrimination, harassment, and other forms of unfair treatment,” co-sponsor Sen. Andy Billig said. “Including these clauses in state contracts demonstrates our commitment to creating a safe and respectful work environment for everyone.”
“Equality is not just a concept; it’s a fundamental principle that must be upheld in every aspect of society,” said Gabriel Neuman, Policy Counsel & Government Relations Manager with the Greater Seattle Business Association. “The GSBA is proud of the passing of SB 5186, which recognizes the importance of nondiscrimination clauses in state contracts. By ensuring that public works, goods, and services are visibly governed by these clauses, we are affirming our commitment to inclusivity, fairness, and equal opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This legislation sends a powerful message that Washington State values diversity and understands that true progress can only be achieved when everyone is afforded equal rights and protections. Together, Washington State is building a future where discrimination has no place and where every business, regardless of who they are, can thrive in a truly inclusive and welcoming environment.”
SB 5186 goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.