Employment Discrimination in Georgia

Employment discrimination against protected classes is illegal in Georgia.

Federal and state law prohibit Georgia employers from discriminating against employees based on certain characteristics, such as race or religion. (To learn more, see our page on employment discrimination and harassment.)

What Are the Protected Classes in Georgia?

In all 50 states, federal law makes it illegal to discriminate based on:

  • race
  • color
  • national origin
  • religion
  • sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • disability
  • age (40-70)
  • citizenship status, and
  • genetic information.

In addition, Georgia state law also prohibits discrimination based on:

  • age (40-70)
  • disability: physical, mental, learning, or mental retardation, and
  • sex (equal pay only).

The EEOC is also currently accepting discrimination claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity, on the grounds that both are protected by Title VII's prohibition against "sex" discrimination. However, this interpretation is currently being challenged through the courts, and the matter is far from settled.

Several cities in the U.S. have their own laws protecting additional characteristics or extending protection to more employees. For example, Atlanta has a city ordinance that protects employees from sexual orientation discrimination. Contact your local government to learn more.

Which Employers Are Subject to the Antidiscrimination Laws?

Federal antidiscrimination laws apply to Georgia employers with 15 or more employees, with the following exceptions:

  • age discrimination (employers with 20 or more employees)
  • citizenship status discrimination (employers with four or more employees), and
  • equal pay for men and women (all employers).

In Georgia, companies with 15 or more employees are subject to the state's disability discrimination law, while employers with 10 or more employees must comply with the equal pay law. Most notably, all employers are subject to the state's age discrimination law.

What Government Agency Regulates Workplace Discrimination in Georgia?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that regulates workplace discrimination. You can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by calling 800-669-4000 or check out its website at www.eeoc.gov. The website will help you locate an EEOC field office in Georgia. (See our article on filing a discrimination claim with the EEOC.)

The Atlanta District Office, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces state antidiscrimination law in Georgia. You can contact the Atlanta District Office, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 404-562-6800 or 800-669-4000 or go to its website.

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