Mary L. Beyer


This Comment examines why Washington should place a higher burden on employers in direct evidence and mixed motive age discrimination cases. Because Washington courts follow federal case law in interpreting state anti-discrimination legislation, Section II examines relevant federal statutes and the history of their interpretation by federal courts. Section III explores the courts' modification of the traditional federal approach found in direct evidence and mixed motive cases. Section IV discusses Washington's anti-discrimination statute and Washington's judicial interpretation of that statute. Section V demonstrates Washington's insufficient response to federal developments in direct evidence and mixed motive cases. Finally, Section VI identifies procedural safeguards that Washington courts can employ in these cases to avoid potential problems caused by requiring employers to show that they would have taken the same action absent discrimination. By placing a greater burden of proof on the employer in direct evidence and mixed motive cases, Washington courts can better effectuate the goals of Washington's anti-discrimination statute.