The Rocky Mountain state of Wyoming is the least populous state in the U.S. (barely more than 500,000 people per the latest census estimate). Wyoming pulls in around $27.5 billion a year in GDP. The federal government owns half of the state’s land. WY’s major industries include tourism, mining/energy extraction, and farming of key cash crops, such as barley, hay, and livestock. Wilderness tourists pump billions of dollars into Wyoming’s economy every year. Popular destinations include Yellowstone National Park, Grant Teton National Park, and the Devils Tower Monument.
The Wyoming Department of Employment, Labor Standards Office is charged with ensuring the safety of Wyoming workers and preventing/resolving employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation problems. The WDELSO is based out of the state capital, Cheyenne, and also maintains an office in Casper. The agency collects and investigates employment discrimination claims; mediates them if possible; and renders verdicts in other cases. It also provides information on state laws and regulations regarding employee treatment, wage and hour issues, and employment benefits; monitors the treatment of minors in Wyoming workplaces; and enforces the state’s prevailing Wage Act.
To determine whether you may have a harassment, discrimination, or a wage or hour claim under WY law, you may want to check the Labor Standards Office website for eligibility requirements. A few examples of workplace violations and harassment include:
- Sexual harassment. Whether someone at work called you names, offered unwanted or suggestive comments about your appearance, or engaged in more serious behavior, like workplace sexual assault, federal and Wyomind laws protect your right to a safe work environment. Although manipulators may attempt to dissuade you or threaten you for reporting an incident of sexual harassment, protect yourself and others by speaking up.
- Verbal harassment and discrimination. Not all harassment is sexual in nature; at times, verbal insults and ongoing harassment can be just as intrusive and uncomfortable. Some employees experience additional mistreatment based on race, color, gender, religion, disability, or medical conditions, which can contribute to an unhealthy work environment. Stand up for your rights and the rights of coworkers.
- Employer retaliation. Workers who have the courage to stand up for themselves and report injustices sometimes receive a hefty dose of retaliatory behavior. Retaliation in the workplace can include: unannounced changes in scheduling; undeserved demotions; and unsubstantiated negative reviews. This hostile treatment can take a mental, emotional, and physical toll on employees. It is also illegal. If you've experienced retaliation, you can hold your employer accountable to the law.
Wyoming supports many cowboy ranches and small rural communities. People who work together in these intimate environments become interdependent and fulfill multiple social and economic roles for one another. Given that this interdependence is crucial for survival in rigorous terrain, Wyoming employees sometimes allow their employers to “get away with” harassment and discrimination just to prevent things from getting awkward in their communities. Unfortunately, if discrimination/harassment persists, it can cause long term problems both for current and future employees.
If you or someone you know has concerns about working conditions, payment, FMLA violations, harassment, or other instance of mistreatment, find a local employment attorney as soon as possible. Take affection action to advocate for fair treatment and workplace justice.