The Gulf Coast state of Louisiana saw its population drop from around 4,468,000 in 2000 to 4,410,000 in 2008 – this population decline can be almost directly attributed to an exodus of residents following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Prior to Katrina, Louisiana had been pulling in a gross state product worth about $168 billion (per a 2005 estimate).

Louisiana boasts a profoundly unique heritage. Its French and Cajun influences can still be deeply felt, particularly in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Louisiana generates diverse agricultural products. The Cajun State exports sugarcane, crawfish, poultry, paper products, coal, and cotton, to name but a few money crops. South Louisiana’s port at the mouth of the Mississippi River is the biggest port in the entire hemisphere -- and the fourth biggest on Earth. New Orleans hosts a thriving tourism industry. In fact, conservative estimates put the amount of revenue generated by tourism alone in the state at around $5 billion annually.

The Louisiana Commission on Human Rights (LCHR) deals with LA employment discrimination complaints. This body has powers defined pursuant to state statutes 51:2235 and consists of an Executive Director and a nine-member Board of Commissioners. Pursuant to statutes 51:2231 and 23:301, the LCHR enforces laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees on the basis of child birth, age, disability, race, gender, religion, color, or medical conditions. The Louisiana Commission on Human Rights also prohibits discrimination with respect to lending and banking practices and public accommodations. You can read more about the LCHR’s various policy nuances and enforcement mechanisms on the Commission’s official site.

The tragedy of Katrina taught the nation the dangers of unequal treatment. Many minority residents of New Orleans encountered employment discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and worse as they attempted to rebuild their lives in the wake of the hurricane.

Although many Louisiana employers follow the law, some may purposely or unintentionally violate one or more state or federal statutes, such as:

  1. The Family Medical Leave Act. Also known as FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act requires employers to allow workers up to 12 unpaid weeks off each year to care for newborn or adopted children, family members, or themselves when experiencing an acute medical condition. Employees cannot be fired as a result of such circumstances.
  2. The Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA is an important piece of legislation enacted to help individuals whose mental or physical impairments affect basic life functions. When employers fail to employ such individuals or provide reasonable accommodations to help them do their jobs, they violate the ADA.
  3. Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Since 2002, employees who report fraud within companies for which they work receive special protections against retaliation, when they do so in good faith and through the proper channels.

If discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour violations, or other employer behaviors had an impact on you, legal professionals can help you assert your rights. Reach out to a local Louisiana employment lawyer today to arrange a consultation.

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