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How Does Louisiana Law Protect You Against Racial Discrimination?

The diversity of American neighborhoods and workplaces is one of Louisiana’s most important strengths. It is unfortunate that not everyone adheres to that belief. There are times when people are subjected to discrimination based upon their race, skin color, or national origin.

How Does Louisiana Law Protect You Against Racial Discrimination?
How Does Louisiana Law Protect You Against Racial Discrimination?

Louisiana, like other states, mostly relies on federal civil rights protections to protect against racial discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency tasked with enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. So, earlier this year, when Don’s Specialty Meats in southern Louisiana was accused of allowing their general manager to routinely use racial slurs and derogatory language against a Black worker, the EEOC filed the lawsuit on the worker’s behalf. The specialty meat supplier was forced to pay $67,500 to this former employee.

While federal civil rights protections, such as the ones detailed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, extend to all of the states, there are several states such as Louisiana that provide additional protections. An example is how the federal anti-discrimination laws apply only to private employers with 15 or more employees; whereas, the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law (LA Rev. Stat. Sec. 23:301 et seq.) prohibits discriminatory employment practices, and applies to employers with 20 or more employees (except for discrimination based on pregnancy, which applies to employers with 25 or more employees).

Another reason for additional state laws could be to protect individuals against additional classes (like race or gender). Then there are also cases like that of Joshua Bonadona. In 2018, U.S. Magistrate Mark Hornsby of Louisiana, through her crucial ruling in a civil case brought by Joshua Bonadona, expanded the interpretation anti-discrimination laws in the state. Bonadona, whose mother is Jewish, had converted to Christianity while attending Louisiana College. But, on applying for a coaching job at the same college, he was turned down by the school president Rick Brewer on the grounds of his Jewish heritage. The problem arose as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against racial discrimination in the workplace, but it doesn’t really define ‘race’. Taking up this herculean task, Judge Hornsby stated how Jewish people can be targeted for racism, even though Judaism is not a race, and thus helped clarify the distinction between race and racism.

A Peek Into Louisiana Civil Rights Protections

The Louisiana state law does address the matter of discrimination on the basis of an individual’s race, religion, color, national origin, or sex, within employment and housing. The state law even permits one to pursue private lawsuits and recover any attorney fees related to the claim.

Under this Law, an employer cannot discriminate in hiring, compensation, or any other terms and conditions of employment, or discriminate in admission to a training program or apprenticeship. They cannot classify, segregate, or limit applicants or employees in any way that could deprive an individual of employment opportunities or have an adverse effect on the individual’s status. An employer is prohibited from publishing or printing any advertisement or notice relating to employment that indicates any discrimination, specification, limitation, or preference based on disablity, age, race, religion, color, national origin, pregnancy, sex, genetic information, or sickle-cell trait. The only exception is a BFOQ (Bona fide occupational qualification) exception.

Racial Discrimination: What Does it Look Like?

Discrimination can come in many forms and faces; from ethnic slurs to racial, jokes and offensive comments, to sometime rather subtle or hard-to-identify behavior. These behaviors can result in harassment, or worse, indicate unlawful motives behind adverse workplace decisions that can be presented as evidence in court. That’s the reason why any individual, when facing such situations, must document them, report them, and get proper assistance.

Contact Us Today

Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case. The first consultation can be in person or it can be virtual, on the Internet. Call Gaynell Williams today at (504) 302-2462 for a free consultation as soon as possible. We will work around your schedule. New Orleans lawyers Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law have offices in Gretna and Downtown New Orleans by appointment only.

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may affect your legal rights.

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