Department of Labor

Tiny Delaware was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution back in 1787. This mid-Atlantic state is 2,500 square miles in size and has a population of approximately 873,000, according a 2008 estimate. Delaware’s small size notwithstanding, the state boasts a thriving economy based on maritime industries, tourism, industry, mining, and business development. DE also has famously loose tax laws.

In fact, many national companies – particularly and perhaps most notoriously, credit card companies – have incorporated in the state specifically to take advantage of its favorable tax laws. The southern half of the state has a primarily agriculturally based economy. The northern counties support cutting edge engineering and science research.

The agency that oversees employment discrimination and harassment in Delaware is the Department of Labor. Together with the Delaware Workforce Investment Board, the DOL enforces job protections, advertises job opportunities, processes unemployment insurance claims, runs a safe workplace program, enforces labor law and antidiscrimination statutes, and appeals for employment denial.

The DOL plays a role in collecting minimum wage payments for DE workers. It also ensures that disabled and unemployed workers get appropriate wage payment and collection assistance. The DOL’s headquarters are in Wilmington, and the Division serves the needs of about 400,000 laborers in the state as well as 20,000 corporations and other businesses.

According to the DOL, employment discrimination falls under the category of unfair treatment when an employee is treated differently because of age, race, color, sex, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, marital status, or genetic information.

To file a charge with the DOL, an individual must feel like his or her rights have been violated or suppressed under the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act. The DOL requires detailed information, including the complaining party’s name and personal information, the contact information of the employer, a short description of the alleged violation, and the date(s) of the alleged violations.

When an employee is punished for complaining about job discrimination or other unfair practices, it is considered retaliation and can lead to additional charges in the court of law. One of the most common forms of retaliation is firing an employee for reporting an incident of workplace discrimination. Retaliatory actions may include demotion, refusal to promote, unfair job reassignment, reduction in hours or pay, or any other negative action. However, when the illegal conduct doesn’t fall under the category of discrimination, it may be covered by whistle-blower laws.

Additionally, given Delaware’s reputation as a harbor for corporations seeking to avoid tax consequences, the state has come into friction with other states and even the Federal Government regarding tax law. These battles over tax rules for corporations ultimately impact the wage and hour needs of individual workers.

If you feel you have a wage and hour claim against a Delaware employer or a workplace discrimination, harassment, or retaliation case, there are state and federal laws that can protect you. For legal assistance, please contact a local lawyer with a keen understanding of Delaware state labor laws by clicking here.