The Cotton State of Alabama is home to nearly five million residents, according to a 2008 census estimate. The state brings in a GDP of around $160 billion annually, per a 2006 report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Alabama is an agricultural center and produces an array of farm goods, including cattle, peanuts, vegetable, cotton, peaches, and soy.

In recent years, Alabama has cultivated more diverse industries, including banking, biotechnology, medical research, steel and iron development, and aerospace. Huntsville, Alabama, serves as the headquarters for a number of NASA Command Centers. Alabama’s only major port city, Mobile, abuts the Gulf of Mexico and generates a sizable income for the state. In 2007, a German contractor signed a deal to build a steel production plant in Mobile worth nearly $4 billion.

Alabama does not have a dedicated state agency to handle employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims at the workplace. Instead, such complaints are funneled through the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency. Atlanta employers must comply with federal anti-discrimination laws pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, The Age Discrimination and Employment Act, The Immigration Reform and Control Act, The Equal Pay Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act, and other laws.

Pursuant to federal law, Alabama prohibits employers from discriminating against current or potential employees on the basis of disability, religion, gender, national origin, race, union membership, religion, color, or pregnancy. Most antidiscrimination claims in Alabama should be made pursuant to guidelines set by federal statutes, although exceptions to this rule can occur.

In the 1960s, Alabama found itself at the heart of the battle over civil rights and equal opportunity in the United States. Massive televised protests in the city of Birmingham captivated the nation’s attention and led to a sea change in the national consciousness on race. Following that volatility, the United States passed both the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These laws ended many de facto and de jure discriminatory practices that had been pervasive throughout the state.

Additional concerns and complaints among employees include:

  • Wage and hour claims. Under the United States Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all employers are required to engage in fair and equitable compensation practices. This means paying employees for every hour they work, as well as adhering to considerations such as overtime, correctly classifying employees, and releasing tips to those who have earned them.

  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. Since 1993, the FMLA has allowed provisions for employees with severe illnesses, sick relatives, or newborn or adopted babies to take up to 12 weeks off work without losing their jobs.

  • Retaliation. The same state and federal laws governing employee treatment often provide provisions protecting them from retaliation. Employers may not take punitive measures (such as firing, demoting, or reducing hours) against employees reporting violations.

If your Alabama employer has subjected you to racial discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment or other unfair or unsafe workplace conditions, state laws exist to protect you from such violations. Government agencies and public and private professionals will advocate for you.

Contact an Alabama employment attorney today to discuss your legal options and hold your employer accountable.