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Are employers required to give preference to certain employees?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2021 | Employer Concerns |

In Kentucky and across the United States, it is generally a positive development that employment laws are under greater scrutiny and worker protections enhanced. Despite misconceptions due to recent events, most employers strive to ensure their workers are treated fairly and are not subject to mistreatment. However, with the litany of legal claims and accusations that arise seemingly on an everyday basis, it is understandable if employers are concerned and fearful that they will face a lawsuit for employment law violations. Understanding the law and whether it is required to give preference to address an imbalance is a crucial aspect of employers being shielded and defending lawsuits.

Discrimination is illegal, but preference to certain groups is not required

One common issue is dealing with prospective employees and current employees who may say they were discriminated against due to race, age, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability and more. Frequently, these complaints are related to a lack of balance in the workplace. While diversity is important, it is not a legal requirement for employers to account for when making employment determinations.

For example, an employer is not obligated to treat one person favorably over another because they might be in one of the above-listed groups and there is an imbalance in the workplace. A person in a wheelchair does not need to be hired over a person who does not have a disability based on the disability alone and that there are few if any disabled people in the workplace.

This law does not eliminate workplace policies such as a minimum hiring age unless it is required by law; the employer being obligated to adhere to federal regulations; terminating an employee who cannot fulfill job requirements whether there is reasonable accommodation or not; or medical examinations and physical assessments of employees in jobs where they must have certain capabilities.

Kentucky employers have rights and should be legally protected

There might be an automatic perception that a Kentucky business that is accused of some form of wrongdoing with its workers is guilty and should be held accountable. In situations, where this is true, they undoubtedly should be forced to treat employees fairly and reasonably based on the law. However, employers have the right to run their business as they see fit and that includes hiring those whom they deem qualified for the job. For a defense against employment law claims, employers should have legal protection to tell their side of the story and effectively combat the allegations.