Senseless in Seattle…

04 Feb

I met a colleague at Black Coffee Coop on Capitol Hill today, which we selected because of its mutually beneficial location. I had an event that evening and was dressed in a suit and tie, so I stood out more than I usually do in Seattle.

As the barista rang up my coffee on an iPad, I noticed some Help Wanted flyers on the counter, which violated more laws simultaneously than any random scene from The Wolf of Wall Street.


It’s illegal in Washington state to refuse to hire someone because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Diversity is a noble goal — if somewhat futile in Seattle — but you can’t achieve it through blatantly discriminatory hiring practices.

It’s less clear if you can legally base hiring decisions on political beliefs or their tolerance for being called “dude.” Personally, I think a FOX News viewer can pour my coffee and charge me too much for the privilege as well as an MSNBC viewer. It doesn’t appear relevant. Also, I imagine a good lawyer can argue that “political views” are different than party affiliation, and if they refuse to hire someone based on their views on marriage equality and abortion, they are in effect discriminating against their religious beliefs.

And a Muslim can probably pour my coffee as well as a Catholic, Jew, or atheist.


Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Social Commentary


Tags: , ,

4 responses to “Senseless in Seattle…

  1. mcdaldno

    February 4, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I don’t know about the law in Seattle, but in British Columbia you are allowed to give employment preference to certain disadvantaged groups. What you’re not allowed to do is give explicit employment preference to hegemonic/dominant groups.

    In British Columbia, you’re specifically allowed to offer employment preference for PoC and trans people.

    I don’t know if it’s the same in Washington, but it could well be. Also, it’s a worker-run collective, not an employer. The rules are probably quite a bit different.

    • Stephen Robinson

      February 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks for posting. And love to British Columbia.

  2. observeratlarge

    February 5, 2014 at 9:21 am

    In the U.S., a worker-run collective is still an employer as long as they hire people and pay wages. And yes, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, ethnic origin or sexual orientation UNLESS you have an agreement with the EEOC or state discrimination agency to give preference based on past, proven faulty hiring practices. This is a hilarious attempt by some nit-wit to remake his reality into something else. If he wants to attract a different class of worker, he would be better off to change the job, pay, environment or working conditions!


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