The Rocky Mountain state of Utah is home to over 2.7 million people and produces a GDP of around $95 billion every year. Adherents of the Mormon religion make up nearly three quarters of the population. The Salt Lake City region serves as the center of Utah’s economy. Tourism, oil production, coal mining, financial services, and information technology businesses all thrive in Utah. The state boasts rugged, variegated terrain - from the Moab Desert and Zion National Park in the south to the skier-friendly snowy peaks of the north and west.
The Utah Labor Commission’s Antidiscrimination Division handles an array of employment-related cases, including:
- Workplace harassment. Sexual harassment continues to be a problem in professional settings. Such behavior can include “quid pro quo” propositions (in which a manager offers an employment-related benefit in exchange for sexual favors), unwanted sexual advances continuing after the recipient has asked them to stop, and individuals making sexual jokes or comments.
- Discrimination. Diverse populations of employees comprise the Utah workforce, and employers must respect the unique characteristics of their applicants and employees. With regards to sex, race, age, disability, national origin, religion, and other factors, companies may not treat individuals differently in their hiring practices or how they assign work duties.
- Retaliation. The same laws protecting workers from discrimination, harassment, and other illegal employer practices also prohibit companies from imposing sanctions on those who report them. Therefore, employers may not fire, demote, reduce hours, or otherwise punish employees who assert their rights under the law.
The CAD operates three separate sub-divisions: Fair Housing, Employment Discrimination, and the Wage Claim Unit. Employment discrimination policies are enforced pursuant to the Utah Antidiscrimination Act of 1965 (found in Title 34A Chapter 5 of the state code). This Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers on the basis of age, physical and mental disability, national origin, race, gender, religion, or color, and other factors.
The Wage Claim Unit enforces laws pursuant to the Utah Minimum Wage. This sub-division collects and investigates claims, resolves them when possible, and files judgments and enforces said judgments against uncooperative employers. It also assists employees in situations where employers have failed to pay earned overtime, falsified employees’ timecards, or otherwise stolen wages from their workers.
Religious discrimination has played an enormous role in shaping Utah’s culture and institutions. The Mormons who first settled the state arrived in the Rockies after fleeing from persecution in Missouri. Since Mormons comprise a small percentage of the overall US population and an outsized percentage of Utah’s population, this sometimes leads to conflicting dynamics at workplaces.
Given that workplace discrimination of any kind is illegal (according to both state and federal laws), if you’ve experienced religious harassment, discrimination, or other unfair practices in Utah, it may be time to look for legal help. One of the many employment law firms in Utah can use their expertise to hold your employer accountable for his or her actions.