The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Some of the things that these laws protect employees against are discrimination, harassment, unfair treatment in the workplace for reasons including race, religion, sex (gender identity, transgender status, and sexual orientation), pregnancy, national origin, age (40 or older), disability, genetic information, being denied reasonable workplace accommodations for disability or religious beliefs and retaliation because an employee: complained about job discrimination and or helped with an investigation or lawsuit.
When it comes to employment law, it is important to know the laws of the state that you live in, whether you are an employer or employee. The reason being is because a lot of the legal action around employment law takes place at the state level as opposed to just the federal level. The way that different states treat workers and the laws that states have implemented vary from state to state.
In an article published by the Chicago Tribune, Patrick J. Cihon, who is an associate professor of law and public policy at Syracuse University, discusses the importance of geographical location and employment assessments. Patrick gives reasons as to why some states are the best and worst to work and live in based on the different employment laws from state-to-state.
California: One of the top states according to Cihon because "its laws include fair employment and allow workers to take unpaid time off up to 40 hours a year for family matters. Its courts protect employees fired for illegal motives, uphold verbal promises or those made in employee handbooks and have broad exceptions from being fired 'at will.'"
Minnesota: The employment laws for Minnesota prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation, have guidelines for drug tests ,and protect whistle-blowers. The Courts are known for challenging employment "at will" rules; which essentially means employees can’t get fired because employers are looking to avoid paying the employees what they have earned. Along with that, employers are not allowed to violate public policy by firing employees who refuse to break the law.
New Jersey: Also has exceptions to "at will" employment in that the state law recognizes written and oral promises which ideally keeps employers acting in good faith and also forbids discrimination (including genetic traits).
Massachusetts: Courts do not allow employers to fire employees for acting in poor faith and prohibit discrimination against employees.
Rhode Island and Wisconsin: Both states have more legislative laws for employees than the vast majority of other states, and Rhode Island’s whistle blower law covers both private and public workers, whereas Wisconsin is only public.
Some of the worst states for employment law include Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. The reason for these states being some of the worst is that they "have minimal equal-employment laws and few judicial protections. Alabama for instance, has no state law forbidding racial discrimination." On top of that, most of "the worst" states are strong on being anti-union.
Why is all of this important?
While many people do not think about the employment laws in their state, it is something that should be taken into consideration. Whether you are looking for a job or are an employment law attorney that is trying to decide where to take cases, the state laws should be something that should be factored in to how you make your decision. At eGenerationMarketing we generate employment law case leads across the country. Contact us if you are looking to increase your caseload!