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Employment Discrimination Blog

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Overview of Workplace Discrimination Law in Georgia

As an employee in the Georgia workforce, you are protected by certain state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination. If you believe you are being subjected to unfair and unlawful treatment at your job, you have a number of legal options against your employer – all of which offer you additional protection against retaliation by your boss. If you decide to pursue a complaint, you will in most cases launch your initial complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. From there, you can pursue a private lawsuit under Georgia and federal law with the help of an employment discrimination attorney.

Georgia’s Prohibitions Against Workplace Discrimination

To prevail in a discrimination action, you must belong to a protected category of people. The following lists the protected categories under Georgia law, which borrows many of its protections from federal laws. An employment discrimination suit may be based on any of the following:

  • Age: It is unlawful to discriminate against any worker aged 40 years or older. Georgia laws impose possible misdemeanor criminal charges against any employer discriminating against workers between ages 40 and 70.

 

  • Bankruptcy: An employer may not make a detrimental employment decision against any worker based on that worker’s decision to file bankruptcy.

 

  • Disability: Disability laws are covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Georgia Equal Employment for People with Disabilities Code. An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation for a disabled individual, unless the proposed accommodation would cause the employer extreme expense or difficulty.

 

  • Equal Pay: An employer must pay men and women equally who are performing the same job.

 

  • Pregnancy: Employers are forbidden from discriminating against a woman based on childbirth, pregnancy and related medical conditions.

 

  • Race, Color, Religion, Sex or National Origin: Federal law has long-held it unlawful to discriminate against any worker based on these factors. These laws are based on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 

Harassment in the Workplace in Georgia

Harassment in the workplace is an intolerable violation of your rights as an employee. Federal and Georgia laws prohibit any unwelcome conduct “based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.” The conduct must be continuous in nature and severe enough to cause a reasonable person distress and discomfort. This type of conduct could include offensive jokes, emails, name calling, assaults, threats of violence, intimidation, ridicule or offensive objects and pictures.

 

Wrongful Termination in Georgia

If you find yourself out of a job and believe it is based on any of the above-listed characteristics, you may have a cause of action for wrongful termination. Keep in mind, however, that Georgia is an employment-at-will state. This means that an employer can fire you for any reason or no reason at all – provided the reason is not discriminatory in nature.

If you are experiencing wrongful conduct at your workplace, or were recently fired for possible discriminatory reasons, contact a GA employment discrimination attorney for consultation today.


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