The Sunflower State of Kansas is home to over 2.8 million people, per a 2008 census estimate. Kansas produces significant agricultural output, including wheat, sorghum, beef, and pork products. Prior to European settlement, Kansas was home to a diverse and thriving community of Native Americans, who hunted bison on the plains of the Kansas River. Today, while that independent spirit remains, Kansas has emerged as a hub for industries ranging from communications to hi-tech to financial services and insurance.
The key organization that oversees fair employment practices is The Kansas Department of Labor. Prior to 2004, this body was known as The Kansas Department of Human Resources. The KDOL is run under the auspices of the state’s Secretary of Labor and functions in a variety of capacities to support state workers. The organization runs the Kansas worker’s comp system, enforces wage and hour laws, ensures compliance with child labor laws, researches and profiles employment trends in the state, and helps to regulate safe work conditions. Some of the laws that the KDOL helps enforce include the Kansas Wage Payment Law (state statute 44-313), the Kansas Minimum Wage and Overtime Law (state statute 44-1201), the Kansas Child Labor Law (state statutes 38-602 and 38-603), and the Kansas Private Employment Agency Law, (state statute 44-401).
Recent discrimination cases in Kansas have dealt with definitions of so-called protected classes. For instance, Native Americans are considered members of a protected class, but Anglo Americans are not. So should a person of mixed race be accorded protected class status? If so, what fraction of one’s identity must belong to a protected class be for one to deserve the protection of Kansas’ antidiscrimination laws?
Although discrimination cases have received a great deal of attention in Kansas, employees face a wide range of legal issues, including:
- Sexual harassment. When a supervisor or coworker demands sexual favors, imposes repeated unwanted sexual attention, or creates a hostile work environment with inappropriate jokes or comments, employers can be held responsible.
- Retaliation. Employers may not use reduced hours, demotions, changed job duties, or firings to penalize workers for reporting violations.
- Wage and hour violations. Common employer offenses when it comes to wages and hours include falsifying time records, neglecting to pay overtime, incorrectly classifying staff members, and stealing tips from workers.
When Kansas workers become familiar with the state and federal laws that apply to them, it empowers them to advocate for themselves and others and to seek legal representation when employers fail to live up to their obligations.
If your employer has engaged in one or more of the following practices – or you suspect them of doing so – you may feel overwhelmed and alone. Standing up to an employer may be intimidating, but it becomes easier when you have the law on your side.
To discuss your legal options for workplace discrimination or other cases, contact a local employment attorney. An experienced professional will help you keep your employer accountable and ensure you are treated fairly.