Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace: An Area of Concern

Charles W. Miller & Associates

Currently, sexual preference discrimination is not an area that is covered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, there is a significant push for this area to be included. According to one article, a recent poll has indicated that Americans are generally supportive of protection against discrimination in all areas. A small percentage of individuals felt that some discrimination was warranted. Some examples included allowing places of worship and some private employers to discriminate against employees who were not their religions. An overwhelming two-thirds of those individuals polled believed that federal law should include protection against discrimination because of sexual orientation and identity.

This poll is likely a foreshadowing of what is to come in regards to protection from discrimination, especially in light of recent same-sex marriage laws.

Kentucky Employment Discrimination vs. Federal Employment Discrimination 
Under federal law and according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, certain types of discrimination are prohibited against federal applicants and employees. Prohibited discrimination includes discrimination based on color, religion, sex, race, and national origin. Furthermore, it establishes that men and women who perform the same work shall be due equal pay. Additionally, individuals over the age of 40 cannot be discriminated against because of their age, and employers cannot discriminate against qualified individuals because of their disabilities.

In Kentucky, the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate based on national origin, race, color, religion, age over 40, or qualified types of disabilities. However, some Kentucky statutes also cover discrimination based on AIDS or HIV status and black-lung disease. Kentucky also has some state-wide employment non-discrimination law covering sexual orientation, although it does not include gender identity.

Filing a Claim in Kentucky 
To file a discrimination claim in Kentucky, a discriminated-against individual can either file with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission or the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. These two agencies have a “work sharing” agreement. This basically means that the commissions work together in processing claims.

Filing with the Kentucky Human Rights Commission can be better in situations when the discrimination was by a smaller employer that is not covered by federal law. This includes situations where the employer has fewer than 15 employees.

Have You Been Discriminated Against by Your Employer in Kentucky?

As you can see, the law is rapidly changing and becoming broader in terms of what types of employees and employers are covered regarding employment discrimination. These cases involve various agencies and timelines and require strategic planning. It is crucial to increase your chances of success that you contact an attorney. You may be entitled to back pay, retroactive pay, reinstatement, and other costs associated with the damages you incurred as a result of the discrimination you endured. If you feel that you have been discriminated against by a qualified employer, contact one of our attorneys today at (502) 890-9954 to set up your free initial consultation. We are experienced in handling these types of claims.

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