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Delaware brings uniformity to anti-discrimination policies

The governor of Delaware signed an executive order recently to make anti-discrimination policies in state agencies uniform.

State and federal laws prohibit businesses in Delaware to discriminate against employees based on factors such as age, race, religion and gender. Up until recently, the state government left it up to each of its agencies to create its own policy addressing the matter. However, Gov. John Carney changed that by issuing an executive order stating that there must be one policy by which all agencies abide.

The order

As reported by WMDT, the order is a necessary part of resolving issues related to employment discrimination. The state's human resources department will now be tasked with developing a consisted policy across the board that addresses both the behavior and the complaint process.

In a press release issued by the state government, a state representative and treasurer of the Delaware Black Caucus noted that the culture in workplaces must change in order to ensure that people are given equal opportunities. Also, it is necessary for employees to feel comfortable notifying management about issues they are having.

The order mandates that a policy be in place by April 1.

Delaware's current laws

Delaware law states that no one may receive unfair treatment in the workplace based on any of the following:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Color, race or national origin
  • Religion
  • Sex or pregnancy
  • Disability
  • Age (if the person is 40 or older)

Anti-discrimination laws also include marital status and genetic information. Discrimination occurs when someone is harassed, treated poorly, denied a benefit or change or retaliated against based on these factors. For example, it is illegal to deny someone a promotion based on his or her race.

Filing a claim

When discrimination does occur, it is imperative for victims to take action. Not only does this start the road to recovery for the individual, but it could be instrumental in changing the way a company runs operations.

There are several ways to call a discriminatory practice to attention. The first is to file a claim with the Delaware Department of Labor, providing detailed information about what took place and who is involved. According to the DDOL, this must be filed within 300 days of the incident. Additionally, this must be filed prior to opening a private claim against the defendant in court.

It is also possible to alert the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if the violation pertains to a federal law. The EEOC and the DDOL use work sharing agreements, which means employees do not need to file claims with both agencies.

Understanding a worker's rights is not always black-and-white. Anyone who has concerns about this topic should speak with an employment law attorney in Delaware.

View Cases

  • Sheridan v. E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 100 F.3d 1061 (3rd Cir. 1996) (en banc) (Plaintiff's jury verdict and the "pretext only" paradigm for proof of intentional discrimination established).
  • Hawkins v. Division of State Police, et al., C.A. No. 99-297-SLR (Religious discrimination case which successfully obtained an offer of judgment and caused the State to stop using the MMPI-1.
  • Miller v. Daimler Chrysler Corp., C. A. No. 01-827-JJF (D.Del. 2003) (Race Discrimination claim survived Motion for Summary Judgment).
  • Panaro v. J.C. Penny, Inc., C.A. 01C-02-010 JOH, 2002 WL 130692 (Del. Super. 2002)(In a personal injury case, admission into evidence of direct examination of deceased deponent/plaintiff does not.
  • Price, et al. v. L. Aaron Chaffinch, et al., C.A. No. 04-956-GMS, 2006 WL 1313178 (D.Del. 2006) (First Amendment Retaliation, Petitions Clause and Defamation Claims survived Motion for Summary Judgment).
  • Reyes v. Freebery, 141 Fed. Appx. 49 (3d Cir. 2005) (per curiam) remanding to District Court to explain its restrictions on the public's right to access to judicial records and counsel's First Amendment.
  • Underwood v. Sear Roebuck and Co., 343 F.Supp.2d 259 (D.Del. 2004) (Gender discrimination claim survived Motion for Summary Judgment).
  • Shotzberger v. State of Delaware Dept. Of Correction, 2004 WL 758354 (D.Del. Jan. 30, 2004) (Gender discrimination claim survived Motion for Summary Judgement).
  • Stull v. Thomas S. Neuberger, P.A., 2003 WL 21481016 (Del. Super. Febr. 28, 2003) (Effect of Delaware accord and satisfaction law on a contract for legal services).
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