State Law: Utah


The Law

The Utah Antidiscrimination Act of 1965, found in Utah Code Annotated Title 34A, Chapter 5, makes it illegal for an employer or labor organization to discriminate against someone on the basis of sex.

An "employee" under the Antidiscrimination Act is "any person applying with or employed by an employer." An "employer" means, "the state, any political subdivision, a board, commission, department, institution, school district, trust, or agent of the state or its political subdivisions, or a person employing 15 or more employees within the state for each working day in each of 20 calendar weeks or more in the current or preceding calendar year." Not included in Utah’s definition of "employer" are religious organizations or associations, "a religious corporation sole, or any corporation or association constituting a wholly owned subsidiary or agency of any religious organization or association or religious corporation sole."

Thus, the Utah statute against discrimination in the workplace applies only to employers with 15 or more employees, which is the same number of employees required under Title VII.

The Utah Antidiscrimination Act specifically covers employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, childbirth, and pregnancy-related conditions.

Filing A Complaint

The Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division investigates complaints filed with it free of charge. Complaints under state law must be filed within 180 days of the date you became aware you were being discriminated against or the date of the alleged illegal act.

You may file a complaint with the Commission by calling 530-6801 or 1-800-222-1238 and scheduling an appointment with an intake officer. You may also complete a complaint form and mail it to: 160 East 300 South, 3rd Floor; P.O. Box 146630; Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6630. The intake officer will prepare a formal charge of discrimination for you to sign and have notarized.

Once you file a formal complaint with the Commission, the Commission will send your employer a letter and a copy of your complaint, stating that you believe you were/are being discriminated against. The employer will have an opportunity to respond to this complaint. The Commission will schedule a Resolution Conference between you and your employer to see if the complaint can be resolved before an investigation is begun.

If the complaint is not resolved at this time, an investigator will be assigned to your case, who will investigate your claim by colleting all relevant information and interviewing potential witnesses. After the investigation is complete, it will be determined whether there is reasonable cause to believe you have been discriminated against and your rights violated.

If no cause is found, you may request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. If cause is found, you and your employer will be asked to attempt to negotiate a settlement through the Commission’s conciliation proceedings. If conciliation is unsuccessful, or if you wish to bypass conciliation proceedings, you may request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. You may retain counsel of your choosing at any point throughout the administrative process.

You may decide to go through the federal court process instead of the Commission’s investigative process. You must first file with the EEOC and request a Notice of Right to Sue in order to file in federal court. There is no private right of action in Utah for discrimination claims, which means you cannot file a claim in state court under state law. The attorney you hire will explain this process to you. State law does not allow for compensatory damages (emotional pain/suffering) or punitive damages in the administrative process. Most attorneys choose to file in federal court.

For more information and a more detailed explanation of the complaint process, please visit the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division website.