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Employment Laws in Kentucky

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on May 25, 2012.

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Employers in Kentucky must conform to these state rules relating to the employment relationship.

Employee means an individual employed by an employer but does not include an individual employed by his or her parents, spouse or child, or an individual employed to render services as a domestic in the home of the employer.

Employer means a person who has eight or more employees within the state in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year and an agent of an employer.

Persons employing two or more workers are subject to provisions prohibiting unequal pay for equal work based on sex.

For purposes of discrimination based on disability, employer means a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year and any agent of an employer.

Employer, with regard to disability, does not include the United States, a corporation wholly owned by the government of the United States or an Indian tribe or a bona fide private membership club, other than a labor organization, that is exempt from taxation under the tax code.

Prohibited Employment Discrimination

Employers may not discriminate in their hiring or employment practices on the basis of an individual's:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • national origin
  • sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions)
  • age (40 and over)
  • disability
  • smoking preference outside the workplace

Assistance dogs. Persons accompanied by an assistance dog are not required to have in their personal possession a certificate issued by the assistance dog training agency or school establishing that their dogs have been trained.

Emergency responders. The Volunteer Firefighter and Emergency Services Leave law provides that an employee who is a volunteer firefighter, rescue squad member, emergency medical technician, peace officer, or member of emergency management is protected from discharge for leaves of absences due to injury incurred in the line of duty. The law allows employers to request specific information about an injury from the appropriate agency and physicians.

Firearms. Employers may not fire, discipline, demote, or otherwise punish an employee who is lawfully exercising the right to possess a firearm in a vehicle and engaging in conduct in compliance with the law.

Recordkeeping Requirements

Employers that are subject to Kentucky's Fair Employment Practices Act must make and keep records relevant to the determination of whether unlawful practices have been or are being committed for one year after the record was made, or until final determination of a discrimination complaint, whichever is later.

Posting Requirements

Employers may be directed to post notices in conspicuous places as a relief or a penalty for a fair employment practice violation.

Employers subject to Kentucky's equal pay law must keep an abstract or copy of the law posted in a conspicuous place in or about the premises where any employee is employed. Upon request, employers will be furnished copies or abstracts of the law by the state without charge.

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