The Great Plains state of Nebraska is home to 1.78 million people. It produces a gross product worth about $68 billion a year, per a report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Nebraska’s economy is primarily agriculture based. The state’s biggest cash crops include soybeans, corn, and beef. IT, telecommunications, trucking and rail transport industries thrive here. Omaha is home to a plethora of insurance companies as well as Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate run by billionaire investor, Warren Buffet.
The Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission (NEOC) investigates and enforces employment discrimination cases in the state. The Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (also called Legislative Bill 656) established the NEOC in 1965. Over the years, the agency’s mandate has expanded. Subsequent to its foundation, the Equal Pay Act, the Nebraska Civil Rights Act, the Act Prohibiting Unjust Discrimination in Employment Because of Age, the Fair Housing Act, and the Fair Employment Practice Act have all been added to the NEOC’s jurisdiction.
Seven Commissioners -- each individually selected by the Governor -- run the organization out of Lincoln. The NEOC also maintains a presence in Scotts Bluff and Omaha. Per the commission’s website, the NEOC has four principle missions:
- To collect and process the complaints and concerns of Nebraska’s citizens in a time efficient manner.
- To guarantee equal opportunity to all citizens of the state in the arenas of housing, accommodations, and employment.
- To provide correct information to the public.
- To serve the public efficiently.
In Nebraska, employment dispute cases often arise in the state’s food service industry. Workers at NE’s big beef, poultry, and pork plants labor under strenuous conditions for low wages. In addition to difficult work environments, employees occasionally face problems such as:
- Employment discrimination. Employers may not use an applicant’s or employee’s age, religion, disability, race, national origin, or gender as a factor in hiring decisions. They also may not use one or more of these attributes to treat an individual differently concerning work assignments, promotions, or other work-related situations.
- Sexual harassment. In Nebraska, supervisors may not use a sexual favor as a condition of a favorable review, raise, promotion, or any other employment-related decision. Employees are entitled to work in an environment in which inappropriate or lewd language does not create a hostile culture.
- Hour and wage violations. Often, wage and hour violations happen without either employers or employees realizing. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets forth regulations regarding how an employer must pay its staff. Companies withholding overtime for additional hours worked, tampering with timecards, or engaging in other misleading activities are stealing wages from employees and can be subject to serious legal consequences.
If your Nebraska employer has not complied with fair employment practices, you might feel intimidated or afraid to address the matter. A local employment lawyer who understands such circumstances can explain your legal options in a confidential initial consultation. With a professional advocate on your side, you and your colleagues can receive the fair treatment you deserve. Contact an attorney today to assert your rights.