Federal employees in Tennessee received some promising news about workplace discrimination when Attorney General William Barr agreed to address the concerns brought forward by DOJ Pride. The group promotes the needs of workers at the U.S. Department of Justice who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. In response to a letter from the group, Barr issued an order calling for an investigation of discrimination allegations at the FBI and Bureau of Prisons.
Tennessee members of the baby boom generation are maintaining their health and living longer than previous generations, but age discrimination could derail their career prospects. A survey from AARP found that two-thirds of workers between 45 and 74 had been the target of age discrimination or witnessed it.
The people who write the scripts for the television shows viewed by people in Tennessee are mostly invisible to the public. A survey of 282 working television writers conducted by the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity produced results that indicated widespread bias against writers who were women, nonbinary, LGBTQ, disabled or part of a racial minority. Bias, discrimination and harassment had touched the working lives of 64 percent of respondents.
Many older workers in Tennessee acknowledge the existence of age discrimination. Although proving that employers hold prejudices against older people presents challenges, a 54-year-old male employee of IKEA has gone forward with a lawsuit against the home furnishings company. His lawsuit cites federal age discrimination law, and he seeks relief for himself and a proposed class of older employees at the company.
Nursing mothers in Tennessee and across the country have protected rights on the job under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other laws. While one mother recently won a $1.5 million jury verdict after facing harassment over nursing that forced her to stop breastfeeding, other nursing mothers continue to face serious problems on the job. One report indicates that lactating women are often denied time to take pumping breaks. When they do get breaks to pump, they are often directed to inappropriate, public or unsanitary spaces. In other cases, these women may face sexual harassment or inappropriate comments from other co-workers.
Older workers in Tennessee may face greater protection in the workplace if a bipartisan proposal makes its way through Congress and becomes a law. Sponsored by a Republican and a Democrat each in the House and Senate, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act will make it less difficult for workers to claim age discrimination.
Workers in many industries throughout Tennessee might worry about age discrimination, but the concern is especially prevalent among people in the technology sector. A survey conducted by the job website Indeed.com asked 1,011 technology professionals about their attitudes toward age and the possibility of discrimination. Responses from people with work experience averaging 15 years and 9 months showed that 43 percent of them worried about job loss due to their age.
Employers in Tennessee and throughout the country are supposed to allow mothers to take time to breastfeed. Mothers who need to pump milk are generally entitled to breaks to do so in a private area. However, employers don't always provide accommodations to those who need them. In some cases, workers are terminated for complaining about breastfeeding discrimination in their workplaces. This can have many negative repercussions for female workers such as jeopardizing their financial security.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has issued a ruling that excludes job candidates from the protections created by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Although this court does not impact Tennessee, the decision reveals a weakness in the laws meant to protect people over 40 from age discrimination. The panel of judges believed that the law only applied to a company's existing employees and not job candidates in regard to disparate impact.
Many people view employment at the General Motors plant in Tennessee, but racial discrimination can taint even good jobs. A lawsuit representing nine current and former employees of one of the company's facilities alleges that the African-American workers suffered racial intimidation at the hands of white co-workers. Court documents claim that GM did not adequately respond to complaints about civil rights violations.