The Magnolia State of Mississippi boasts a population of just under 103 million, per a 2008 census estimate, and brings in approximately $84 billion in annual GDP, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Often regarded as the heart of the Deep South, Mississippi supports an array of important industries, including tourism, cotton, gambling and river and marine based businesses. The predominately rural constitution of Mississippi’s economy has unfortunately subjected the state to economic pressures stemming from the globalization of agricultural markets. In addition, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 disrupted and/or destroyed many of Mississippi’s major industries along the shore. That said, federal reconstruction efforts and works programs have reportedly made progress in terms of reestablishing the state’s economy.
Mississippi’s Department of Employment Security handles issues such as:
- Sexual harassment. Workers subjected to repeated unwanted sexual demands, advances, or lewd jokes or conversations may appeal to their employers for redress.
- Wage and hour violations. Employers dishonestly withholding regular or overtime wages by falsifying records, incorrectly classifying workers, or skimming tips can be held responsible by the MDES. Employees are entitled to receive wages that accurately reflect the hours worked.
- Discrimination. The MDES advocates on behalf of workers suffering adverse treatment from current or prospective employers based on gender, race, national origin, religion, or other protected statuses. Discrimination is not tolerated in Mississippi.
The MDES receives federal funding and offers a variety of services to Mississippi residents and workers, including job placement programs, unemployment services, and labor training. The MDES Labor Market Information Department tracks the state’s economic trends, including statistics on unemployment, average wages, and trends in discrimination and harassment.
Mississippi offers employees a variety of protections pursuant to both state and federal law. For instance, employers must abide by all relevant Acts of Congress, including the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, and the Equal Pay Act. In addition, Mississippi law offers special protections to vulnerable classes. Employers are strictly prohibited from discriminating against workers on the basis of disability, sex, national origin, race, color, citizenship status, military status, and age. Employers who receive public funding from the state or federal agencies may be required to recognize additional protected classes.
During the Civil Rights struggle, Mississippi served as a battleground for many of the most crucial engagements of the era. Back in the 1960s, more than four out ten Mississippians where African Americans; yet Jim Crow laws and de jure segregation had led to severely unequal treatment in the state. In 1969, per a federal order, Mississippi’s schools were officially desegregated. The matriculation of MSU’s first African American student marked the beginning of the end of America’s legacy of entrenched and institutional racial discrimination.
Despite the progress that Mississippi and the rest of the US has made in terms of racial relations, discrimination and retaliation at workplaces persist in some quarters. If your Mississippi employer has subjected you to unfair practices, harassment, or racial discrimination, you can take legal action to correct the problems. Search for a local employment attorney today to discuss your potential case.