The Blue Grass State of Kentucky is home to over 4.26 million people, according to an ‘08 census. Kentucky is known for high quality bourbon distilleries and a unique regional music scene. KY’s Mammoth Cave National Park attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year. The state also supports thriving tobacco and manufacturing industries, several large car companies, coal mining enterprises, and leading hunting and sport fishing businesses. In addition, equestrian fans view the state as the epicenter of horse-racing and horse-showing in the US.
The Division of Employment Standards, Apprenticeship and Mediation administers and enforces Kentucky state laws regarding wage and hour, overtime pay, minimum wage, child labor, and equal opportunity. This public entity checks into allegations of discrimination, wage and hour violations, and child labor violations. It mediates disputes and enforces resolutions. The Division of Employment Standards, Apprenticeship and Mediation also offers training, further education, technical assistance, and other resources for state workers. It operates in conjunction with the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.
Some issues the division regulates include:
- Hour and wage claims. Employers are subject to state and federal laws regarding minimum wage, illegal paycheck deductions, overtime payment violations, and recording worker hours for compensation. When organizations fail to follow the law when it comes to paying their employees, authorities in Kentucky can hold them responsible.
- Sexual discrimination. Regardless of their occupation or title, employees have the right to a workplace that treats all genders equally. Hiring, promoting, or assigning job duties solely based on a worker’s gender is against the law in Kentucky.
- Disability discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers provisions for workers whose physical or mental disabilities interfere with one or more essential life functions. If an individual can satisfactorily perform his or duties with a reasonable accommodation from an employer, that employer is obligated to provide such provisions in the form of tools, facilities, or modified work schedules.
- Family and medical matters. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), workers have the right to take up to 12 weeks off per year to attend to personal or family medical issues, such as childbirth, adoption, or critical illness.
- Racial and national origin discrimination. Long simmering tensions between ethnic whites in rural areas of Kentucky and African-Americans in more metropolitan regions, such as Louisville, can erupt and cause problems. A recent influx of a sizable number of Hispanic immigrants to the region has complicated these dynamics further. As these various racial groups integrate, it’s likely that some discrimination cases will end up in a court of law.
Suffering discrimination or other violations while working at a Kentucky company can be a source of distress for workers, who may worry about harming their professional reputations by speaking out. Fighting for your rights and the rights of others helps create a more equitable working environment for everyone.
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