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Tulalip Tribal Employment Rights Office hereafter "TERO"

TERO was enacted pursuant to the Tribes' inherent sovereign authority to self governance, with jurisdictional capacity to create unique employment laws that govern activities within the boundaries of the reservation.

In 1996, the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors enacted the TERO Ordinance #60 and #89. In 2012 the new TERO Code 9.05 was passed to provide preference requirements in employment and contracting within the boundaries of the Tulalip reservation.

Tulalip TERO is a member of the Pacific Northwest TERO region, which covers Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northern California, Nevada, and Alaska. Our national organization is the Council for Tribal Employment Rights (CTER).

TERO's Vision and Mission


We will arrive at a time when education, training, employment, contracting and economic opportunities have ensured each and every person has become most capable.


Enforce the provisions of the TERO Code to:

  • Ensure preference in employment, contracting, and economic opportunities
  • Provide vocational training opportunities with the outcome of employment
  • Prohibit employment discrimination

Department Functions/Programs

Administrate the TERO Program to enforce and ensure workforce protection, preferential employment and contracting rights. Assist and refer clients for education, training and services to succeed and enhance their career and economic opportunities.

Tulalip TERO requires Owner/Contracting Agency and businesses to:

  • Fill out and negotiate a compliance plan prior to commencing any construction work
  • Give Native American owned businesses the opportunity to bid
  • Hire qualified TERO workers
  • Pay 1.75% TERO fee on all construction projects over $10,000

TERO enforces the compliance of this code and has developed:

  • Specific requirements impose on employers regulating their employment practices and their obligations to provide preference in recruiting, hiring, training, and promotions to Native Americans.
  • A monitoring system that checks on an employer's performance to guarantee that they are in compliance with TERO preference provisions.
  • An enforcement system that imposes fines and other sanctions on employers who fail to comply with this code.
  • An Appeal process through the Tulalip TERO Commission and the Tulalip Tribal Court to ensure due process.

Legal Authority

Native American preference rights comes from two major sources.

  1. Tribal Inherent Sovereign Power - Tribal Inherent Sovereign Power - As sovereigns, Tribal and Native Governments have the legal authority to control the employment practices of all employers operating within the boundaries of their reservations or on Tribal projects off the reservation by enacting and enforcing the strongest Native American employment/contracting preference laws in the nation. Tribal governments can use its inherent sovereign powers to require the maximum employment of Native Americans by all reservation employers.
  2. Federal Statutes and Contract Law - The United States Congress has adopted laws that give Native Americans the right to claim a fair share of jobs and business opportunities on their reservations. Also there are several Federal laws that impose mandatory Native American preference in all aspects of employment and contracting on federally funded contracts or grants which have been awarded for the benefit of Native Americans. Federal law also permits employers operating their business on or near reservations to voluntarily adopt Native American Preference hiring policies.

TERO supports the most basic principle of Indian law and has been upheld by a host of supreme court decisions.

Tulalip has a government to government relationship with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Rights Commission (hereafter EEOC); where TERO has the jurisdiction to process any EEOC discrimination complaints within the boundaries of the reservation and on Tribal projects off the reservation.

There are also several Federal laws which permit employers operating their business on or near reservations to voluntarily adopt Native American Preference hiring policies.

Employment Discrimination

It shall be unlawful for any employer to discriminate by refusing to hire, failing to hire, or dismissing any individual with respect to their compensation, terms and condition, or privileges of employment. This shall include promotion, segregation, or classification of their employees in any way which would tend to deprive them of employment opportunities and/or training.

Covered Categories
It is unlawful to do any of the following acts wholly or partially for a discriminatory reason based on actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, martial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, height, weight, pregnancy, disability or political affiliation of any individual.