Utah Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination is the act of making an employment decision that has a disproportionate adverse impact on members of a protected class, or that unfairly punishes employees who participate in a protected activity, and while there are federal laws prohibiting employers throughout the United States from discriminating against their employees, each state has passed its own antidiscrimination laws in place that further protect the rights of employees in the workplace. If you believe you have been treated unfairly at work in Utah because of your membership in a protected class, or in retaliation for exercising your rights as an employee, you may have grounds to file a workplace discrimination claim against your employer. Consult a reputable Utah employment discrimination lawyer today for legal help.

Protected Categories in Utah

Workplace discrimination in Utah occurs when an employer or supervisor unfairly treats a person or group of people at work differently than other people of groups of people, because of their membership in a legally protected class or category. Under state and federal antidiscrimination laws, like the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Utah Antidiscrimination Act of 1965, it is illegal for employers in Utah to make employment decisions on the basis of the following protected categories:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex (including pregnancy and childbirth)
  • Age (over 40)
  • Sexual orientation
  • National origin
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Gender identity
  • Genetic information
  • Veteran status

According to the Utah Labor Commission, the state of Utah has additional protections in place that allow employees to “express religious and moral beliefs in the workplace in a reasonable manner on equal terms with similar expressions allowed by the employer,” and provide that “employers may not discharge, demote, refuse to hire, retaliate, or discriminate against an individual based on expressions of religious, political, or personal belief outside of the workplace.”

Harassment and Retaliation in Employment

In addition to discrimination on the basis of a protected characteristic, there are other types of employment discrimination that are considered unlawful in Utah, including workplace harassment and retaliation.

  • Workplace harassment and abusive conduct: Rule R477-15 of the Utah Administrative Code prohibits all types of harassment in the workplace, including conduct on the part of an employer, supervisor or another person at work that is unwelcome, demeaning, pervasive, ridiculing, coercive or derisive, and that results in an offensive, hostile or intimidating work environment.
  • Workplace retaliation and protected activities: It is also against the law for a Utah employer to retaliate against an employee for participating in an activity that is protected by law, including refusing to commit an illegal or wrongful act, exercising a legal right or privilege, filing a workers’ compensation claim, opposing an unlawful discriminatory practice, or performing a public obligation. Employees who report to public officials illegal activity on the part of their employer are called whistleblowers and have special protections under the public policy provision of antidiscrimination law.

A Utah Workplace Discrimination Lawyer Can Help

The purpose of state and federal antidiscrimination laws is to ensure that all employees are treated fairly in the workplace, regardless of their age, gender, national origin, race, religion, or another protected characteristic, and despite their participation in a protected activity, such as filing a workers’ compensation claim or reporting illegal activity on the part of the employer. If you believe you have been the victim of employment discrimination in Utah, contact an experienced Utah employment law attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a workplace discrimination lawsuit against your employer, and having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side to represent your case can significantly improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in court.