The Peach State of Georgia was the southernmost state to be admitted into the original 13 colonies. Today, with an area of nearly 60,000 square miles and a population of just under 9.7 million (according to a 2008 estimate), Georgia has one of the most diverse economies in the south. The capital city of Atlanta contains a thriving mixture of businesses. Among other things, it is home to Ted Turner’s media empire, Emory University, burgeoning tech start-ups, and an important underground music scene. Outside of main population centers (Atlanta and Macon), however, Georgia is primarily an agricultural state.

The agency that enforces antidiscrimination laws is the Georgia Department of Labor, which was founded nearly 100 years ago in 1911. It's overseen by a Commissioner appointed by the Governor. The DOL maintains over 50 “career centers” and an identical number of vocational rehabilitation programs.

The DOL’s mandate is to help individuals reach job goals and become financially self-sufficient through better education, workplace training, enforcement of antidiscrimination and anti-harassment statutes, and support provisions. The DOL also administrates Georgia’s unemployment insurance initiatives, gathers information about the job market, and enforces laws pertaining to employee safety, underage labor, safe working conditions, and job placement.

During the birth of the Civil Rights Era, Georgia and its neighbor state Alabama served as primary battlegrounds over the rights of minorities in the workplace. Martin Luther King, among others, led numerous charges to compel Georgia to adopt antidiscrimination laws – not only in the workplace, but also in restaurants, schools, and government.

Antidiscrimination laws have helped thousands of employees assert their rights and take advantage of their freedoms. In addition to race and nationality, employers are prohibited from discriminating based on sexual orientation, marital status, gender identity, age (over 40), and many other characteristics that set individuals apart.

Discrimination can take the form of any negative practice, but often results in prejudicial hiring, failure to promote qualified employees, unequal pay, demotion, wrongful termination, loss of benefits, and other forms of inequality. More specifically, particular classes of individuals have rights as well – such as Jewish employees who observe the Sabbath and Muslim employees that take time to pray throughout the day.

Under both state and federal laws, these discriminative practices are punishable by the courts and are taken very seriously. If you are a member of a protected class or believe there is evidence that discrimination has taken place, you may have a case against your employer.

Whether you have encountered harassment, racial discrimination, or other kinds of unsafe or unpleasant conditions at work, don’t hesitate to pursue legal action. You may be able to regain your employment status and other benefits. For more information, contact a local attorney by clicking here.

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