Unfair Labor Practice Landing

What is an Unfair Labor Practice?

The laws covering public sector employees* in Washington generally prohibit employers and unions from:

  • Interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of their rights to organize and collectively bargain.
  • Controlling, dominating, or interfering with a bargaining representative.
  • Discriminating against an employee for exercising their rights under the state collective bargaining laws.
  • Refusing to collectively bargain with the employer or union over wages, hours or working conditions.

* If you are a private sector employee or your complaint does not concern any of the above violations, refer to the agencies listed in the box below or contact our office at 360-570-7300 or info@perc.wa.gov

Public Employees Covered by PERC

  • RCW 28B.52 applies to faculty and academic employees at state community and technical colleges. ULP violations can be found in RCW 28B.52.073
  • RCW 41.56 applies to the following employees (ULP violations can be found in RCW 41.56.140 & .150):
    • employees working for cities, counties, police departments including commissioned officers from the Washington State Patrol, fire districts, public transit, and ports.

    • employees working as home care providers, family child care providers, adult family home providers, and language access providers.
    • exempt employees, graduate teaching assistants and post-doctoral fellows working at the state four-year colleges and universities.

    • non-certificated employees working for school districts and state technical colleges.
  • RCW 41.59 applies to certificated employees or teachers working in school districts. ULP violations can be found in RCW 41.59.140

  • RCW 41.76 applies to faculty and academic employees at the state four-year colleges and universities. ULP violations can be found in RCW 41.76.050

  • RCW 41.80 applies to state employees, classified employees of state public four-year colleges and universities, and state community colleges. ULP violations can be found in RCW 41.80.110

  • RCW 47.64 applies to employees working for the Washington State Ferry system (Marine Department of the Washington State Department of Transportation). ULP violations can be found in RCW 47.64.130

  • RCW 49.39 applies to symphony musician employees of certain symphony orchestras. ULP violations can be found in RCW 49.39.120 & .130

How To File an Unfair Labor Practice Complaint

  • Who Can File
    Complaints may be filed by employees, unions, or employers based on specific allegations and must include specific required elements. For detailed information, click the tab for the party filing the complaint.
  • When to File
    Complaints must be filed within 6 months of the first date the complainant knew or should have known of the violation.
  • How to Complete the Form and Statement of Facts
    Select the appropriate tile on the ULP page for a guide to filing a complaint if you are an individual employee, union, or employer.

    1.  Complete the Unfair Labor Practice Complaint form on the File a Case page.
    2.  Attach on separate sheets of paper in numbered paragraphs a brief statement of the facts (sample statement of facts) regarding the alleged unfair labor practice(s).

    The brief statement of facts must:
    – Include specific allegations and required elements.
    – Include times, dates, places, and participants of occurrences.
    – State whether a related grievance has been filed.
    – Describe the requested remedies.
    – Review the full requirements described in WAC 391-45-050
  • How to File Your Complaint
    Send or serve a complete copy of the form with the statement of facts and a certificate of service (certificate of service form) to PERC and the charged party. 

    Log into the E-Filing system and submit the Unfair Labor Practice form or submit a pdf form by email attachment, fax, mail, or in person.
    – Email to
    - Fax to 360.570.7334
    - Mail to P.O. Box 40919, Olympia, WA. 98504-0919
    - Hand deliver to 112 Henry St. NE, Olympia WA. 98506

Complaint Timeline

  • A complaint is reviewed to determine whether it alleges a violation under PERC’s authority and a cause of action or a deficiency notice is issued generally within 30 days after filing.
  • If a cause of action is issued, the respondent has 21 days to file and answer, then a hearing examiner is assigned and will contact the parties to schedule a hearing. 
  • If a deficiency notice is issued the complainant has 21 days to correct the deficiency by filing an amended complaint. 
  • The hearing is scheduled based on the availability of the parties.
  • After a hearing, it generally takes a court reporter 15 – 30 days to prepare a written transcript of the hearing, depending on the number of hearing days.
  • After the written transcript has been completed, the parties generally have 30 days to file closing briefs with the examiner.
  • The examiner will typically issue a written decision 90 days after the closing briefs are filed.
  • The parties have 20 days to file a notice of appeal of the examiner's written decision. 

Settlement Without a Hearing

Examiners will offer settlement mediation or parties may request it. That mediation case is assigned to a PERC mediator separate from the hearing examiner already assigned. See WAC 391-45-260 for more information.

For more information about Hearings, visit the Unfair Labor Practice Hearings page 

If you have a question about private sector labor relations and collective bargaining, contact:

National Labor Relations Board at
206-220-6300 | nlrb.gov

If you have a complaint about general discrimination at work, contact:

Human Rights Commission at
800-233-3247 | hum.wa.gov

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
800-669-4000 | eeoc.gov

If you believe your workplace rights have been violated, contact:

Department of Labor and Industries
866-219-7321 | lni.wa.gov

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