Bill to protect Washingtonians’ religious information becomes law

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Disclosing someone’s religious affiliation to the federal government constitutes an unfair practice and a violation of state discrimination laws, as a result of legislation signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

House Bill 2097, sponsored by Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, mandates the same protections against religious discrimination as contained in companion legislation in the Senate sponsored by Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby.

The new law:

  • Prohibits employers from requiring disclosure of an employee's religious affiliation;
  • Prohibits public agencies and personnel from using agency resources to disclose an individual's religious affiliation to the federal government or to compile information regarding individual religious beliefs, national origin or ethnicity for immigration or law enforcement purposes;
  • Restricts local and state law enforcement agencies from collecting or using information about an individual's religious affiliation, with limited exceptions; and
  • Exempts personal information about an individual's religious affiliation from disclosure under the state Public Records Act.

“No one should have their religion used against them, whether through prejudice or through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” Palumbo said. “This law ensures the privacy and protections to which we all are entitled.”


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