Labor and Employment

Laws Against Employment Discrimination in Louisiana

By Lisa Guerin, ​J.D., Boalt Hall at the University of California at Berkeley
Employment discrimination against protected classes in Louisiana is illegal.

Employees in Louisiana are protected from workplace discrimination based on certain traits, such as age or ethnicity. Congress and the Louisiana legislature has 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 employers must comply with the laws and 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:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • sex
  • pregnancy
  • 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.

Louisiana Laws Banning Employment Discrimination

The Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law prohibits discrimination by employers with at least 20 employees. Employers include private entities as well the state of Louisiana and any of its agencies, commissions, boards, or political subdivisions. These employers may not discriminate based on:

  • sex
  • race or color
  • ethnicity or national origin
  • religion
  • age (40 or older only)
  • disability
  • genetic information, or
  • sickle cell trait.

In addition, employers with at least 25 employees may not discriminate based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. (This law also requires employers to allow pregnant employees to take time off work for these reasons.)

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 Louisiana Commission on Human Rights (LCHR) enforces the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law. You can find more information on the law, including information on how to file a complaint, at the LCHR’s website.

Finding an Employment Attorney in Louisiana

If you believe you have been discriminated against at work, you should talk to an experienced Louisiana 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.

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