What Does The Law Say
What are the laws in Mississippi about sex discrimination in the workplace?
Mississippi does not have any specific law regarding employment discrimination. Complaints of discrimination are brought under federal law. The one exception is sexual harassment, elements of which, such as the law against assault, may be covered by Mississippi laws.
What are the federal laws about sex discrimination in the workplace?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 generally prohibits discrimination in the workplace against members of protected classes, including women. Explicit discrimination, such as open refusal to promote women, and policies, that have the effect of discriminating are both barred by Title VII. Title VII recognizes different types of discrimination, such as discriminatory hiring and retaliation. For further information, see What Types of Discrimination Does the Law Cover. Title VII is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
What is the EEOC?
The EEOC is an independent federal agency created to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace. "The EEOC carries out enforcement, education and assistance through their 50 field offices throughout the country." For Mississippi residents, an EEOC office is located at Dr. A.H. McCory Federal Building, 100 West Capital St, Suite 207, Jackson, MS 39269. The phone number is (601) 965-4537. You can also call toll-free, (800) 669-4000.
To whom does the federal law apply? In other words, who is an "employer" under federal law?
The federal law applies to both public and private employers who employ at least 15 people. Limited exceptions apply.
What is a 'protected class' under this law?
Title VII protects employees from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. These categories are often referred to as 'protected classes,' because Title VII aims to protect individuals against discrimination on the basis of membership in one of these classes.
What constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII?
Title VII prohibits failure to hire, firing, and any discrimination based on sex regarding wages, benefits, or other terms of employment. In addition, Title VII makes it illegal to segregate or classify employees in any way that would limit their performance or opportunities on the job because of their sex.
I think I have been discriminated against; what are my options?
This Web site provides information about filing a complaint of discrimination and the relevant procedures, see How do I File a Claim. For information regarding the different types of discrimination please see What Types of Discrimination Does the Law Cover.
It is also helpful to contact the EEOC. You can contact them in person, by mail, or by phone. It is most helpful to contact your local EEOC office. It is located at Dr. A.H. McCory Federal Building, 100 West Capital St, Suite 207, Jackson, MS 39269. The phone number is (601) 965-4537. Additionally, if this is not in your immediate area, you can call toll-free, (800) 669-4000.
Does it matter when the discrimination occurred?
Yes. If you believe you have been treated unlawfully, it is critical that you act quickly.
(1) For violations of Title VII, meaning for most federal employment discrimination claims, you must file a complaint within 180 days from the date the discrimination occurred.
(2) Violations of the Equal Pay Act must be filed within two years of the incident. However, because many Equal Pay Act complaints also raise sex discrimination claims under Title VII, it is advisable to file an EEOC charge for both complaints.
(3) In Mississippi, the statute of limitations for tort actions, which may apply in some cases of sexual harassment, is one year.
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