An existing Seattle law expressly forbids businesses from discriminating on the basis of “political ideology” when contracting for goods or services.
In an interview on the cable news show Tipping Point, Discovery Institute Vice President John West explains how far-reaching the Seattle law is and examines the dramatic impact it could have on Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple, among other tech giants.
As West explains in more detail in an article for Mind Matters News, the law would seem to provide a clear ground for legal action against tech companies that reject apps, ban films, censor books, or deny advertising or other services based on the political viewpoint of the material being rejected.
West points out that “a person doesn’t necessarily have to live in Seattle or even Washington State in order to file legal action under the law.”
For tech companies headquartered in Seattle like Amazon, the Seattle law potentially allows any customer or business from any state to bring legal action against Amazon for discrimination based on political ideology. According to an attorney cited in West’s article, remedies under the law include “injunctive relief, orders requiring affirmative action, and punitive damages.”“The Seattle anti-discrimination law packs a punch,” writes West. “Damages requested under the law could be severe.”
For tech companies with offices in Seattle but not headquartered there, legal liability would be more limited, but lawsuits could likely still be brought. West explains how in his article.“It remains to be seen whether anyone will actually use Seattle’s fair contracting ordinance to take on big tech censorship,” writes West. “But if they do, Seattle could soon become ground zero in the battle against big tech.”