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Employment Discrimination Blog

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Georgia Employment Discrimination Laws and Workers’ Rights

Federal and Georgia laws pertaining to employment discrimination are intended to be fair, intuitive and easy to understand. Yet, often, employers make mistakes when managing issues relating to employees’ illnesses, disabilities and religious rights, and even employees’ gender and race. Employees, too, often fail to understand their full rights when involved in employer/employee disputes regarding possible discrimination. The seriousness and frequency of employment discrimination in Georgia is evidenced by cases described by the American Civil Liberties Union’s website; it discusses recent cases in Georgia involving:

  • Employees’ right to work while living with such diseases as AIDS and epilepsy
  • Muslim employees’ right to wear a religious headscarf while at work
  • Employers’ obligations when a customer makes a racially motivated request
  • Laws protecting whites and males when an employer seeks to increase the diversity of its workforce
  • Employees’ rights to religious conversion
  • Pre-employment credit checks and racial profiling
  • Veterans’ employment rights, including the rights of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Workplace bullying combined with discrimination
  • Employers’ failures to promote individuals with diabetes and other diseases
  • Obesity, age, race- and gender-related activism and numerous other areas and issues

 

What Constitutes Employment Discrimination in Georgia?

If you are an employer or employee in the state of Georgia, it’s important to remain up to date and knowledgeable about your legal rights and obligations. A good start includes an understanding that, in our state, it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, religion, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin and gender. Employment discrimination relating to these protected categories usually involves:

  • Firing/termination
  • Promotions, compensation and benefits
  • Hiring practices
  • Work environment
  • Disability leave, maternity leave and retirement options
  • Lay offs

 

In What Instances Is Discrimination Not Discrimination?

It may be helpful to understand discrimination that is perfectly legal. Though it may seem objectionable, employers in Georgia are perfectly within their rights to fire you, deny you a raise or promotion or reduce your pay based on:

  • Your bankruptcy history (though some courts have ruled that, while current employers can discriminate against employees based on bankruptcy, potential employers cannot)
  • Your political views
  • Your appearance
  • Nepotism (meaning favoring someone who is related to someone over someone who is not)
  • Your credit history

 

Overlap between what is legal and what is not is common. For instance, an employer can discriminate against you because you are overweight, but may not be able to legally do so if your weight is linked to a disease. Your employer can discriminate against you because you dress badly, but your employer may be breaking the law if it has a dress code for women but not for men. And while you can be fired for your political views, if your political views are tied to working conditions or another issue involving employment law, your may be protected from discrimination. To be sure of your obligations and rights regarding employment law in Georgia, the best move is to contact an experienced employment law attorney. 


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