Employment Discrimination in Louisiana

If you have faced discrimination at work in Louisiana you may be able to file a complaint with the state or federal government agency that enforces state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees in a number of different categories, known as “protected classes.” If an investigation exposes illegal discrimination, the employer may need to rectify the situation or face penalties. Alternatively, you may be able to file a lawsuit with the help of an employment lawyer.

What Kind of Discrimination Laws Are in Place in Louisiana?        

If you face discrimination at work in Louisiana you have two main agencies to turn to. The state anti discrimination agency, the Louisiana Human Rights Commission (LHRC), enforces Louisiana’s main discrimination legislation, the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law.

The federal equivalent is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) which enforces federal discrimination legislation, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Equal Pay Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Who is Protected by Federal and State Laws in Louisiana?

The Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law makes it illegal to discriminate against employees base on their

  • age
  • color,
  • disability,
  • gender,
  • national origin (ethnicity)
  • race,
  • religion,
  • sickle cell trait,
  • pregnancy,
  • childbirth and related medical conditions.

These categories are what are referred to as “protected classes”. The state law is parallel to federal laws, but there are some differences. For example, the federal ADEA only protects workers who are older than 40.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not specifically refer to sickle cell trait discrimination, which the Louisiana law does. There are also differences in the size of employer and statutes of limitations between state and federal laws in Louisiana.

What Employers are Covered by Discrimination Laws in Louisiana?

Under state employment discrimination legislation, only employers with 20 or more employees are affected. This rises to 25 or more employees for claims of discrimination based on childbirth or pregnancy.

The federal laws apply to employers with 15 or more employees only. This means that if you wish to file a discrimination complaint but work for an employer with 15 to 19 employees, you can only file your claim with the EEOC.

Which Louisiana Agencies Enforce These Laws?

The Louisiana Human Rights Commission (LHRC) is the state agency in charge of enforcing state employment discrimination law. The single state office is in Baton Rouge. The federal agency in charge of enforcing the different discrimination laws is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).

This agency also has a single state based office located in New Orleans, although the EEOC also has an online service which can be accessed from anywhere in the state. Both the state and federal agencies have a work sharing agreement with each other.

How do I File a Discrimination Claim in Louisiana?

You have the choice between the state agency, the LHRC and the federal agency, the EEOC. There are pros and cons of using either agency. Because of the work sharing agreement, there is no need to file a claim with both agencies. Bear in mind that the laws, state or federal, only apply to medium or large sized employers.

Once a claim is filed with either agency, an investigation will be initiated to determine whether your employer has been in breach of employment discrimination law. It is wise to provide clear and complete documentation and proof that you have faced discrimination at the time you file your complaint.

The agency may try and attempt mediation and meetings with your employer to resolve the complaint. If there is no resolution possible, the agency may penalize the employer or allow you to go ahead with a civil lawsuit against the employer to recover compensation if you choose to do so.

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

The statute of limitations for filing a discrimination complaint depends on the agency you file it with The LHRC allows 300 days to file a claim while the EEOC allows a similar time frame.

You can still go ahead and file a lawsuit directly in a state court as long as you do so within a year of the date on which the discrimination happened. Despite these time limits you are advised to deal with cases of clear discrimination at work as soon as you can.

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

State law allows you to file a lawsuit in a state civil court without first filing with the LHRC, but the EEOC requires you to file your complaint with them first before being allowed to file in a federal court.

If you do decide to file a lawsuit in either court, you will need to use an employment lawyer to help you. Use the free case evaluation form to find a suitable lawyer near you.