Civil Rights

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights has jurisdiction within Seattle city limits. For employment and contracting, you must file your complaint with SOCR within 1.5 years of the incident. For housing and public places, you must file your complaint with SOCR within 1 year of the incident. 

If your situation does not qualify for investigation by us, we will refer you to another agency for help.

Other civil rights agencies:

Where to Find Help

SOCR enforces illegal discrimination laws in the City of Seattle by investigating alleged discrimination in:


  • Hiring / firing / layoffs
  • Advertising
  • Wages
  • Promotion / assignments
  • Hostile work environment
  • Discipline
  • Retaliation


  • Sales / rentals of houses, apartments, condos, lots, etc.
  • Advertising
  • Disability accommodations or modifications
  • Harassment, interference, criminal intimidation

Public Accommodations

  • Hotels
  • Government services
  • Restaurants and shops
  • Recreational facilities
  • Theaters
  • Cafe

Fair Contracting

  • All contracts above $5,000 within the City of Seattle
  • All contracts with the City of Seattle (title VI)

Protected Classes

Seattle currently includes these protected classes:

  • Age **
  • Ancestry
  • Breastfeeding in a public place
  • Color
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Gender identity
  • Marital status
  • National Origin
  • Parental status *
  • Political ideology
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Use of a Section 8 certificate *
  • Use of a service animal
  • Military status or Veteran

* - Not applicable to Employment or Fair Contracting cases
** - Not applicable to Public Accommodations cases

Illegal Discrimination

Discrimination is illegal when:

  • You are treated differently from others in a similar situation; and
  • You are harmed by the treatment; and
  • You are treated this way because of your membership in a protected class (i.e., race, gender, etc.) or
  • Your request for a reasonable accommodation due to a disability is refused without a valid business reason.

File Complaint


It is against the law for someone to penalize or discriminate against you because:

  • You file a discrimination complaint
  • You cooperate with a discrimination complaint
  • You cooperate with the enforcement of a discrimination complaint
  • You comply with anti-discrimination laws

You can file a separate charge of discrimination if you believe someone has retaliated against you. SOCR will conduct a separate investigation concerning retaliation.


Seattle's anti-discrimination laws also protect you from harassment. Harassment is conduct that is directed at you because of your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, etc.

Harassment can include:

  • Threats
  • Slurs or epithets
  • Threatening acts
  • Posting offensive materials on walls, bulletin boards, e-mail, etc.

To be considered harassment, conduct must:

  • Be serious and frequent enough to create a hostile environment;
  • Interfere with your ability to work, live, or enjoy a public place.

If you have questions, comments or requests about our services please contact our office at (206) 684-4500 voice, (206) 684-4503 TTY or send email to Roberto Bonaccorso.