The Seattle Office of Civil Rights has opened an investigation into a Seattle business for violation of Mr. Joey Gibson’s civil rights under the Seattle Municipal Code. The Seattle Municipal Code specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion or political ideology.
SEATTLE CIVIL RIGHTS INVESTIGATION
On behalf of Mr. Joey Gibson, the Angus Lee Law Firm filed a formal complaint alleging that the business violated Mr. Gibson’s civil rights under Seattle Municipal Code 14.06. The complaint alleged the business grossly discriminated against Mr. Gibson, denied him public accommodation, and that the denial of public accommodation was specifically and expressly because of his religion, political ideology, and political association.
Video of the incident shows a door-person for the Seattle business telling Mr. Gibson, “I have orders from my boss not to let your kind into this bar,” and “We are a private establishment and the rights that you think that you have, you don’t have here!” Video of the discrimination shows the door-person made several overt statements of discrimination:
· “You’re wearing a Trump hat.”
· “You are not protected in this bar.”
· “We are a private establishment and the rights that you think that you have, you don’t have here!”
· “Because American businesses have rights of their own.”
The Seattle code on public accommodations seeks “to assure all persons equal opportunity to the full enjoyment of places of public accommodation, to eliminate and to prevent unlawful discrimination in places of public accommodation and to provide enforcement mechanisms for the accomplishment of such purposes.” SMC 14.06.010(A).
Enforcement is mandatory where a violation can be shown, as the Seattle Municipal Code mandates that “[t]he Seattle Office for Civil Rights shall enforce the provisions of this chapter to further this policy.” SMC 14.06.010(A) (emphasis added).
"It is an unfair practice for any person to discriminate in a place of public accommodation by: …  Refusing or withholding admission, patronage, custom, presence, frequenting, dwelling, staying, or lodging; or  Denying, directly or indirectly, the full enjoyment of any available goods, services, accommodations, facilities, privileges or advantages; or ...  Harassing, intimidating, or otherwise abusing any person or person’s friends or associates because of … religion, [or] … political ideology, …  Aiding, abetting, inciting, compelling or coercing the doing of any act defined in this chapter to be an unfair practice…"
SMC 14.06.030(B) (emphasis added).
“Discriminate” means “to do any act which constitutes discrimination.” SMC 14.06.020(K). “Discrimination” is defined as “any conduct … the effect of which is to adversely affect or differentiate between or among individuals or groups of individuals, because of … religion, [or] political ideology.” SMC 14.06.020(L) (emphasis added).