Employment Discrimination in Arkansas

Those workers in the state of Arkansas who have been discriminated against while at work may be eligible to file a claim against their employer. It is unlawful in Arkansas to be a victim of workplace discrimination either an employee or applicant for a job if the person is a member of one of the protected groups which include:

  • religious group;
  • race (including Caucasian);
  • gender;
  • ethnicity;
  • disability;
  • aged 40 years and above.

Apart from workplace discrimination based on race and ethnicity, federal employment discrimination laws apply to employers who employ 15 or more workers, and 20 or more when it comes to age discrimination. There is no minimum number of employees required under federal legislation for claims of Arkansas workplace discrimination based on an employee’s race or ethnicity.

What kind of discrimination laws are in place in Arkansas?

The Arkansas Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate because of race, religion, national origin, gender, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability. The Arkansas employment discrimination law covers workplaces which have fewer than 15 employees, which the federal law does not cover.

Who is protected by federal and state laws in Arkansas?

The federal laws that protect employees from discrimination are based on race, disability, age, sex, gender and religion. These categories are called protected classes. There are no specific state laws protecting Arkansas workers from discrimination at work.

What employers are covered by discrimination laws in Arkansas 

  • 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, apprenticeship programs, employment agencies and unions.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination in public services and accommodation.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employment discrimination for workers aged 40 years or older. The coverage of the ADEA is similar to Title VII except that a private employer needs 20 employees to be covered.

Which Arkansas agencies regulate these laws?

There is no specific state administrative agency covering workplace discrimination in the workplace. Those who have been a victim of Arkansas workplace discrimination can only file a complaint with the EEOC for resolving cases of workplace discrimination.

How do I file a discrimination claim in Arkansas?

Unlike many other states, Arkansas does not have a specific state administrative agency which handles workplace discrimination complaints. Therefore, for most discrimination claims, you need to file a sworn charge of discrimination at your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office.  There is no EEOC office currently located in Arkansas. The nearest EEOC office is found in Memphis, Tennessee. You can either file a claim in person, online, or by mail and you should include the following details:

  • Your name and contact details;
  • A short description of the discrimination including the date;
  • The number of employees employed by your employer;
  • What caused the discrimination, e.g. your race, color, religion, gender (including pregnancy), national origin, age if 40 or older, or disability;
  • Your employer’s name, address and telephone number;
  • Your signature.    

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

There are strict federal time limitations in force within which claims of workplace discrimination should be filed. In Arkansas, a claim through the EEOC is limited to 180 days from the date the workplace discrimination took place.

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

You can seek help from an Arkansas workplace discrimination lawyer who can help you file your claim and prove that your workplace discrimination case took place. You will need to provide some evidence to help you prove your case such as your personnel file, the employee handbook and a copy of your employer’s policies and witness reports. Your lawyer will help you get compensation which may include front and back pay, lost benefits like sick leave and vacation entitlements and punitive damages if your employer deliberately applied workplace discrimination.

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