The great northwest state of Idaho boasts over 83,600 square miles of terrain and is home to more than 1.5 million people, per a 2008 census estimate. Idaho is dominated by an agrarian economy based to a large extent on potato farming.
The state is also home to significant mining operations – due to its geologic diversity, Idaho has been nicknamed the Gem State. Timber and development industries also thrive here. Idaho’s largest city, the state capital Boise, is by no means a bustling metropolis. But notwithstanding the state’s lack of substantial hi-tech or banking industries, Idaho attracts thousands of people a year to visit its pristine wilderness preserves and national forests.
The Idaho Department of Labor administers the state’s labor laws. In addition to providing career resources, the DOL offers assistance for individuals with wage and hour claims, minimum wage violation complaints, and sexual harassment and discrimination claims. Though the state has a reputation for being socially conservative and independent, Idaho enforces strict statutes barring discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, age, and other factors.
Common forms of workplace discrimination include unequal pay, prejudicial hiring, wrongful demotion or termination, failure to promote a qualified employee, denial of benefits or training, unfair reassignment, reduction in hours, and other unfair practices. While employees often feel they are being improperly treated at work, it is important to gather both direct and circumstantial evidence to establish the validity of a discrimination claim.
Sexual harassment can take on many forms. It may include unwanted sexual advances, demands for sexual favors in return for job benefits, distribution of pornographic or sexually explicit materials, sexual gestures, inappropriate touching, and crude or offensive verbal remarks.
When discrimination, sexual harassment, or any other unfair action is reported in the workplace, the employee reporting the activity is protected under the laws of retaliation (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act). Retaliation often takes the form of discrimination and may include a reduction in hours, demotion, termination, or other negative treatment.
As more and more Hispanic emigrants have entered the state over the past decade to take minimum wage agricultural and farming jobs, incidences of wage and hour violations have gone up. Often, neither employer nor employee knows about Idaho’s wage and hour statutes; thus, few legal actions are taken. If you or a coworker has experienced a wage and hour violation while working on an Idaho farm, you may be able to collect unpaid wages owed as well as other damages.
If you believe you have been wrongfully treated by your employer, you have the right to pursue legal action in the highest form. Whether it’s discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour violations, retaliation, or anything in between, it’s important to act. For further assistance, click here to find a local attorney.