Seattle First City In US To Ban Caste Discrimination

March 15, 2023


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The Seattle City Council approved an ordinance that includes caste as a protected class against workplace discrimination, alongside categories such as race, religion, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. This effectively prohibits caste discrimination in employment, housing, and more.

To Understand Caste Discrimination We Must First Understand What Caste And Casteism Are

Casteism is a form of discrimination that typically operates within South Asian communities. But casteism is not solely located in the East – it has been imported into the United States. In an article featured in The Atlantic, Vidya Krishnan shares information regarding two lawsuits and how casteism has reared its head in America.

Caste refers to any of the ranked, hereditary, endogamous social groups, often linked with occupation, that together constitute traditional societies in South Asia.*

Why Is it Important To Ban Caste Discrimination And Add It To Protected Classes?

Considering that Seattle is home to one of the largest tech hubs in the nation and many members of the South Asian communities are employed here, it may not surprise you that caste is especially relevant in Seattle.

Kshama Sawant, sponsor and Seattle councilmember, is out to change that. “It is a very simple question: Should discrimination based on caste be allowed to continue in Seattle?”

The Seattle City Council approved the ordinance 6-1. According to Maya Kamble, a DC-based product manager at Amazon whose team is based in the city, “Seattle’s ordinance is a key first step in raising awareness around caste discrimination.

When To Hire An Employment Attorney

If you tried to work things out with your employer and nothing has been done, then it’s time to consult with an attorney. They can help you determine if you have a case, and what your options are. If needed, they can help you bring the case to court or help you negotiate a deal with your employer instead without ever stepping into a courtroom.

Employment law is complicated and can be overwhelming for anyone not familiar with it. Trying to hold a big company accountable for bad business practices requires a skilled attorney on your side to navigate the different laws and tactics an employer may use.

*Madan, T.N.. “caste”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 22 Feb. 2023, Accessed 12 March 2023.

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