Discrimination is a serious issue that affects many people in Utah and across the United States. It is illegal for employers, landlords, and other individuals to discriminate against someone based on protected characteristics, including race, religion, gender, and national origin. In this blog, we will provide a comprehensive overview of Utah’s discrimination law, including what is protected, who is covered, and how to file a complaint.
What is Protected Under Utah’s Discrimination Law?
Utah’s Anti-Discrimination Act (UADA) makes it illegal to discriminate against an individual in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on the following protected characteristics:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
It is important to note that discrimination can take many forms, including but not limited to, unequal pay, harassment, and unequal treatment in housing or public accommodations.
Who is Covered Under Utah’s Discrimination Law?
Utah’s Anti-Discrimination Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees, and to landlords with five or more units. In addition, the UADA applies to all public accommodations, including restaurants, hotels, and retail stores. The law also applies to labor organizations and employment agencies.
How to File a Discrimination Complaint in Utah
If you believe that you have been discriminated against in employment, housing, or public accommodations, you may file a complaint with the Utah Anti-Discrimination and Labor Division (ADL) or with the Federal Equal Opportunity Commission. To file a complaint, you must complete a complaint form and submit it to the Utah ADL within 180 days of the discriminatory act or 300 days if you file with the federal EEOC.
The complaint process typically involves an investigation by the ADL, and may result in a settlement, conciliation, or a hearing. If a hearing is held, a hearing officer will hear evidence and make a determination as to whether discrimination has occurred.
If the hearing officer finds that discrimination has occurred, the ADL may take action to remedy the situation, including ordering the employer or landlord to cease the discriminatory practices and pay damages to the victim of discrimination.
If the investigation does not find enough evidence, you still have the right to sue in federal court if you are given a notice of right to sue. Or if you go through the Utah division, you are given a hearing to determine whether or not there is discrimination. At this time however, the Utah division had determined that it gives a lesser amount of damages compared to its counterpart such as reimbursement of attorney fees and no punitive damages and no future lost wages which is something to consider. There is a pending appeal though on this issue in the Utah Court of Appeals but has not been resolved yet as of the date of this article.
Discrimination is a serious issue that affects many individuals in Utah. It is important to understand what is protected under Utah’s Anti-Discrimination Act and how to file a complaint if you believe you have been the victim of discrimination. If you need assistance or have any questions about Utah’s discrimination law, talk to our Utah Employment Attorney today.