Employees in Nebraska are protected from workplace discrimination based on certain traits, such as race or disability. Congress and the Nebraska legislature have decided that these traits, called protected characteristics, are not a fair basis for employment decisions—including who to hire, who to fire, and how much to pay employees. Below, we explain your rights under the state and federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination, including which employees are protected. (For more on this topic, see our employment discrimination and harassment page.)
Federal Laws Banning Employment Discrimination
Federal laws—including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act—protect employees in all 50 states against discrimination based on:
- national origin
- age (applies only to employees who are 40 years of age or older)
- genetic information, or
- physical or mental disability.
These federal laws make it illegal for employers of a certain size to discriminate in all aspects of employment, including hiring, benefits, promotions, pay, discipline, and termination. You are protected from discrimination if you work for a private employer with at least 15 employees (or 20 employees, for age discrimination).
Government employees are protected from discrimination, too. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act applies to all federal, state, and local government employers. For other types of discrimination, all federal government employers are covered, and state and local government employers are covered if they have at least 15 employees.
Nebraska Laws Banning Employment Discrimination
Nebraska’s Fair Employment Practice Act also prohibits discrimination. The state of Nebraska and all of its subdivisions must follow this law, as must private employers with at least 15 employees. (The law prohibiting age discrimination applies to private employers with 20 or more employees.) Employers may not discriminate based on:
- race or color
- national origin
- sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions)
- AIDS or HIV status
- age (covers only employees who are at least 40 years old), or
- marital status.
Nebraska law also prohibits all employers, regardless of size, from discriminating based on genetic information.
Agencies That Enforce Discrimination Laws
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the government agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination. The EEOC website provides details on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the primary federal law that prohibits employment discrimination, as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other federal laws. See Laws Enforced by EEOC for details. See our article on how to file an EEOC claim or visit the EEOC’s website for more information.
The Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission enforces state laws that prohibit discrimination. You can find detailed information about the state’s Fair Employment Practice Act, as well as the process for filing a complaint, at the Commission’s website.
Finding an Employment Law Attorney in Nebraska
If you believe you have been discriminated against at work, you should talk to an experienced Nebraska employment lawyer. A lawyer can assess your situation, explain the laws that might apply, and evaluate the strength of your claims. A lawyer can also advise you on how to proceed, including filing a complaint or lawsuit, and what damages might be available if you win.