Employment Discrimination in Alabama

Employees in the state of Alabama who have experienced workplace discrimination may be eligible to file a claim against their employer because of federal anti-discrimination legislation. It is illegal to be discriminated at work in Alabama as an employee or applicant for a job because of membership of any of the following “protected classes:”

  • religion;
  • race (including Caucasian);
  • gender;
  • ethnicity;
  • disability;
  • age (40 years and over).

Apart from workplace discrimination based on race and ethnicity, federal employment discrimination laws apply only to employers who have 15 or more employees, and 20 or more for age discrimination. There is currently no minimum number of employees for claims discrimination based on race or ethnicity.

What kind of discrimination laws are in place in Alabama?  

Unlike most states, Alabama does not have a statute that covers anti-discrimination issues. It only has a statute that covers age discrimination claims against employers who employ 20 or more employees.

Who is protected by federal and state laws in Alabama?

In the absence of Alabama state specific anti-discrimination laws, workers are covered by federal laws that protect them from discrimination based on race, disability, age, sex, gender and religion. These are part of the “protected classes.”

What employers are covered by discrimination laws in Alabama?

A few of the federal anti-discrimination laws that protect employees in Alabama are:

  • 42 U.S.C. section 1981 federal law which prohibits race discrimination in all arrangements, which not only includes employment but also all other types of arrangements as well.
  • 42 U.S.C. section1981 prohibits all race discrimination in all arrangements, even between individuals.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employment discrimination for workers aged 40 years or older. The coverage of the ADEA is close to Title VII excluding how a private employer must have 20 employees to have coverage.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination in public services and accommodations.
  • Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination due to an employee’s or job applicant’s race, color, sex, religion or national origin. This law is applicable to both public employers and private employers who employ at least 15 employees, employment agencies, apprenticeship programs and unions.

Which Alabama agencies regulate these laws?

Anti-discrimination laws in Alabama are typically based only on federal statues, so in order to file a claim a signed written complaint letter needs to be submitted to a federal government agency. This is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days following the discrimination event.

A claim of discrimination due to union activity needs be filed with the National Labor Relations Board within 6 months of the discharge due to union activity. Alabama does have a state law against age discrimination. It mirrors the federal age discrimination law but does not require filing of an EEOC charge. To pursue a claim under Alabama’s age discrimination law, you can do either of the following: file a lawsuit in state court within 180 days from the date of the act you are complaining about, or go through the EEOC process as described above, and then file a lawsuit within 90 days from the date the notice of dismissal of the charge is sent by the EEOC.

How do I file a discrimination claim in Alabama?

 When filing a complaint of discrimination with the EEOC it must be accompanied by adequate evidence proving the discrimination took place and the employers act was deliberate. One piece of evidence could be a letter written by the employer stating that an applicant has been rejected for a job because the person is a woman. Another example of evidence is when a person is refused promotion but the person who was offered it is less well qualified for the promotion. When the EEOC has made a decision to support the claim the victim is given 90 days to commence court action in either an Alabama state court or in a federal court.

How long do I have to file an employment discrimination claim in Alabama?

The statute of limitations used in Alabama when filing a discrimination claim with the EEOC is set at 90 days from the date the discrimination took place. If you are filing a complaint under Alabama’s age discrimination law you can pursue a claim either by filing a lawsuit in a state court within 180 days from the date of the incident, or go through the EEOC in which case you are given 90 days from the date the charge is agreed to file a lawsuit.

How do I get help filing an employment discrimination claim in Alabama?

To ensure you get the best outcome to your Alabama workplace discrimination claim you should consult an employment who will work on your behalf to get the right settlement for you.

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