Vanderbilt University Law School recently conducted a study examining the relationship between weight class and jobs. Minnesota Public Radio reported on the study, which showed that heavier women are more likely to work lower-compensated jobs as they gain weight. The reason for this phenomenon is not actually clear, but it is evident that perceived beauty or attractiveness is related to better pay for both sexes.
The study’s author has suggested that a sixth category should be added to the prohibited discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She believes that the research study is highly indicative of discrimination against obese people.
Current Kentucky Protections Against Discrimination
The Kentucky Civil Rights Act prohibits public employers from discriminating against employees or prospective employees based on age over 40, disability, smoking status, sex, national origin, religion, color, or race. Kentucky also has two other statutes that protect individuals from being discriminated against on the basis of their HIV or AIDS status or black lung disease.
It is important to note that currently Kentucky does not provide protection for individuals based on their weight, but as the research above indicates this may be something that is on the radar in the future.
Sex Discrimination in Kentucky
The study above was focused on discrimination that many women face in the workplace. Although weight specifically is not a category, sex discrimination is. In Kentucky employers may not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their sex. This Act explains that women must be treated equally as men in the workplace. This includes treating women who are affected by childbirth, pregnancy, and other similar conditions the same as other individuals who have similar temporary disabilities. This includes providing them with the same benefits and treatment.
Retaliation Is Not Permitted
If an employee makes a complaint or participates in a proceeding against his or her employer, he or she may not be discriminated against for that action. The Kentucky Human Rights Commission makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against its employee because that individual has opposed an illegal or discriminatory practice. This includes making a complaint, filing a charge, testifying, or participating in a hearing.
Although it may be difficult to establish retaliation, many times proximity-of-events analysis is used. For example, if an employee makes a charge against his or her employer and an adverse action is taken against the individual soon after that charge, the court will look to the proximity of the events to determine whether there was retaliation.
Have You Been a Victim of Sex Discrimination in the Work Place?
Miller & Falkner is comprised of dedicated attorneys who have significant experience in representing individuals who have been discriminated against by their employers. If you have been discriminated against, you may be entitled to a range of damages, including back pay and retroactive pay. Furthermore, you may be eligible for rehire or reinstatement. Employment discrimination cases are complex and involve a significant amount of investigation and mandatory filings and deadlines. If you or someone you know has been a victim of employment discrimination, contact one of our attorneys today at 502-583-2300 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Landmark Suit in Transgender Discrimination Case Against the U.S. Government, Kentucky Employment Lawyer Blog, November 14, 2014.
EEOC Equal-Pay Case Dismissed for Lack of Specific Information Regarding Pay Discrepancies, Kentucky Employment Lawyer Blog, October 13, 2014