How Do Federal and State Laws Differ on Workplace Discrimination?

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Unfortunately, discrimination still occurs in the workplace though we may like to assume these instances don’t happen. However, there are laws to hold those who discriminate against their employees responsible at both the state and federal levels. If you’re unsure what national and state laws are in place to protect you, you’ll want to keep reading. You’ll also discover how a Providence, Rhode Island employment discrimination lawyer can help you if you’ve experienced prejudice in your workplace.

What Federal Laws Are in Place to Protect Employees from Discrimination?

The most prominent law to protect employees from discrimination is the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title VII, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

It was later amended to ensure that pregnant women, those with disabilities, and those over 40 were included in protection from discrimination.

How Do State Laws Differ?

State laws can differ because they have the legal right to apply their laws to their needs. As a rule of thumb, federal law applies to all citizens in every American state. However, laws can differ within each state.

For example, no employer in any state, unless they have fewer than 15 employees, can discriminate against someone based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or pregnancy status. However, California, for example, has supplementary laws that protect employees based on their sexual orientation and gender identity in addition to federally protected characteristics.

What Should I Know About Rhode Island Laws?

Rhode Island laws surrounding discrimination make it clear when discrimination is prohibited. According to the law, no employer can discriminate in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, promoting, laying off, training, classifying, or paying employees.

Similarly, Rhode Island has protections for the following characteristics and groups:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Ancestral origin

Also, employers cannot discriminate against employees married to someone of a protected characteristic, nor can management or ownership retaliate against employees who have filed complaints against unfair employment practices.

If you are an employee who has faced discrimination, understanding how to proceed is vital. You should file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights. You should also consider contacting an employment attorney, as they can help you receive compensation for any damages the discrimination has caused, such as lost income or mental anguish.

When you’re facing unfair employment practices, the Herman Law Group can help. Our dedicated legal team has the experience to hold discriminatory employers responsible for their actions to help innocent workers receive the compensation they deserve. Contact our office today to learn how our competent firm can help you through these complex issues.

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