·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


What are Some Illegal Reasons to Terminate a Worker in Kentucky?

— June 28, 2022

A worker cannot be fired or mistreated because they have taken legal action against the employer or done anything to protect their rights in the past.

Louisville, KY – Employers are allowed to hire and terminate workers as they need to in order to run their business. However, workers are given certain protections through federal and state law to prevent employers from mistreating them based on legally protected characteristics. These protected characteristics are generally based on traits that a person cannot change, while something a person can control like job performance can be considered in employment decisions. Anyone who has recently experienced a job loss or demotion in Kentucky can seek out legal advice from an attorney to determine if a lawsuit is necessary. 

Protected classes

The employer cannot terminate or mistreat any worker based on race, gender, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. There are both state and federal laws which say that these protected classes of people cannot be subjected to any disciplinary action or job loss due to their membership in the class. 

Because most employers will not admit to discriminatory practices that affect protected classes, there are often various pretexts used for discrimination. It may require some kind of investigation by the victim and their lawyer, or specific evidence from workplace communications to show that a discriminatory motive was present.

Pre-textual forms of discrimination

It is possible in some situations that an employer has terminated a worker for an illegal reason, but they have attempted to tell them the action was taken for another reason. Any such behavior is considered pre-textual discrimination, and it is still illegal because the intention of the employer was to change their workplace based on a protected characteristic. 

Performance reviews are a common source of demotions and terminations that may be illegitimate. A company can very easily tell a worker that their performance is suddenly below accepted standards at the company for various reasons, even if the allegations are dubious or untrue. The performance review can provide a cover for illegal discrimination because it appears on the surface that the worker’s performance is not up to company standards.  


A metal pea whistle
A metal pea whistle; image courtesy of Zephyris at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons,

A worker cannot be fired or mistreated because they have taken legal action against the employer or done anything to protect their rights in the past. This is a common tactic used by some employers to eliminate the potential for financial losses caused by previous victims of sexual harassment. When retaliation is detected, it may be possible to sue the employer for damages related to the worker’s specific losses.  

More information about employment law in Kentucky is a site that assists people who need to meet with a local lawyer. Anyone who has questions about labor law in Louisville in other cities can use the site to find an attorney who matches their specific needs. 

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