Employment Discrimination in Kentucky 

Discrimination at work is unfortunately still prevalent in Kentucky. Those employees who experience discrimination at work can use state and federal discrimination at work laws to file a complaint with the appropriate agency.

Where discrimination is found to occur, employers may be forced to improve conditions or the employee may take the matter further and file a lawsuit against their employer with the help of an employment lawyer.

What Kind of Discrimination Laws Are in Place in Kentucky?            

The main legislation in Kentucky that exists to protect workers from employment discrimination is the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. Unlike the federal anti-discrimination laws, the Civil Rights Act includes most forms of discrimination in one piece of legislation, while there are several different federal laws that cover the same thing.

The state agency in Kentucky that administers the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and investigates cases of workplace discrimination is the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights (KHCR).

Who is Protected by Federal and State Laws in Kentucky?            

The Kentucky Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for discrimination on the grounds of

  • race,
  • religion,
  • age (for workers over 40),
  • color,
  • disability,
  • gender,
  • national origin (ethnicity),
  • smoker or non-smoker (as long as the employee follows workplace guidelines on smoking).

These categories are called “protected classes” and any employee who believes that they have been discriminated against because they identify or belong to one of those classes can file a complaint with the KHCR or the federal equivalent, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) depending on their circumstances and the size of their employer.

What Employers are Covered by Discrimination Laws in Kentucky?           

All employers who employ four or more employees are required to observe Kentucky’s state anti-discrimination laws. Federal legislation only affects employers with15 or more employees. A worker in a workplace with between 4 and 14 employees only who has experienced some form of workplace discrimination would best choose the state agency to file a complaint with.

For employees of larger workplaces, either the state or federal agency can be used. In most cases, either one or the other agency can be used as they have a “work-sharing” agreement between them so a case can be cross-filed

Which Kentucky Agencies Regulate These Laws?

The main state agency in Kentucky which enforces the Kentucky Civil Rights Act is the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights (KCHR). There are two KCHR offices in the state, one in Louisville in the South and the other in Covington in the North.

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission also has an office in Louisville. There are pros and cons in using either agency, although as has already been mentioned, the EEOC only deals with cases of discrimination in larger workplaces.

How do I File a Discrimination Claim in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, you have the choice of filing a claim with either the KHCR or the EEOC, depending on where you live and the size of the workplace where you work.

Once a claim has been file with wither agency, an investigation will be made into the complaint. This may involve questioning your employer, arranging a mediation session or exploring other legal avenue, including suing the employer for a breach of discrimination law.

The KHCR allows you to choose to file your claim with them directly, or engage an employment lawyer to file a lawsuit in a state court. The state also allows plaintiffs to seek pain and suffering compensation, something which may encourage a lawyer to choose to litigate in the state court rather than a federal court.

The EEOC does not allow you to go directly to file a lawsuit in the federal court without filing a claim with their office. If the EEOC cannot resolve the complaint or decides that there is no case to take legal action, then they may then issue a “Right to Sue” letter, allowing you to take the case to court directly.

How Long Do I Have to File an Employment Discrimination Claim in Kentucky?

There are strict time limits for filing an employment discrimination claim in Kentucky. These are called statutes of limitations. The KHCR allows 180 days from the date of the act of discrimination for a claim to be file with them.

The EEOC allows 360 days from the date of discrimination for a claim to be filed. It is in your interests, whichever agency you decide to use, to file your claim as soon as possible and not leave it too late.

How Do I Get Help Filing an Employment Discrimination Claim in Kentucky?

If you cannot get your case resolve through a state or federal anti discrimination body, you may choose to contact an employment lawyer to help you file a discrimination lawsuit in court. Use the free case evaluation form to find a suitable lawyer near you.


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