State Law > Rhode Island > Rhode Island Employment Discrimination Law

Rhode Island Employment Discrimination Law

 

Discrimination by employers is prohibited in the following sections of the Rhode Island General Laws.
Fair Employment Practices Act

  • 28-5-5 Equal employment opportunity right.
  • 28-5-6 Fair Employment Practices-Definitions.
  • 28-5-7. Unlawful Employment Practices
  • 28-5-7.1 Firefighter and law enforcement.
  • 28-5-7.2 Fair Employment Practices-Proof of unlawful employment practices in disparate impact cases.
  • 28-5-7.3. Motivating factors; Discriminatory practice complaint.
  • 28-5-24 Fair Employment Practices-Remedies - Compliance.
Equal Pay
  • 28-6-17 Wage Discrimination Based on Sex-Definitions.
  • 28-6-18 Wage Discrimination Based on Sex-Wage differentials based on sex prohibited.
  • 28-6-20 Wage Discrimination Based on Sex-Civil liability of employer for sex differential - Actions.
  • 28-6-21 Wage Discrimination Based on Sex-Penalty for violations.
  • 28-6.9-1 Tax and Income Information From Job Applicants-Requests for tax documents prohibited.
  • 28-6.9-2 Tax and Income Information From Job Applicants-Penalties for violations.
Temporary Employee Protection Act
  • 28-6.10-3 The Temporary Employee Protection Act-Job description notification.
  • 28-6.10-4 The Temporary Employee Protection Act-Penalty for violations.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
  • 28-51-1 Sexual Harassment, Education and Training in the Workplace–Definitions.
  • 28-51-2 Sexual Harassment, Education and Training in the Workplace–Adoption of workplace policy and statement.
  • 28-51-3 Sexual Harassment, Education and Training in the Workplace–Education and training programs.
Genetic Testing
  • 28-6.7-1. Prohibition of genetic testing by employer.
HIV Discrimination
  • 23-6.3-11 Prevention and Suppression of Contagious Diseases–Discrimination prohibited.
Contract Discrimination
  • 42-112-1. Contracts.
Disability Discrimination
  • 42-87-2. Prohibited discrimination.
  • 42-87-3. Prohibited discriminatory acts.
Employment discrimination prohibited against victims of domestic abuse
  • 12-28-11. Prohibited practices.
The Rhode Island Workplace Violence Prevention Act of 2001
  • 28-52-2. Employer's responsibilities.
  • Discrimination Against Military
    • 30-11-2. Members of the Militia.
    • 30-11-6. Reservists, Discrimination Prohibited.
    Discrimination Against Tobacco Use
    • 23-20.10-14. Discrimination for use of tobacco products prohibited.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 05-01 January 17, 2005
    • Promotion of Equal Opportunity and the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in State Government

    Fair Employment Practices Act

    28-5-2 Statement on discriminatory practices.

    The practice or policy of discrimination against individuals because of their race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin is a matter of state concern. Such discrimination foments domestic strife and unrest, threatens the rights and privileges of the inhabitants of the state, and undermines the foundations of a free democratic state. The denial of equal employment opportunities because of such discrimination and the consequent failure to utilize the productive capacities of individuals to their fullest extent deprive large segments of the population of the state of earnings necessary to maintain decent standards of living, necessitates their resort to public relief, and intensifies group conflicts, thereby resulting in grave injury to the public safety, health, and welfare.

    28-5-5 Equal employment opportunity right.

    The right of all individuals in this state to equal employment opportunities, regardless of race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin, is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right.

    28-5-6 Fair Employment Practices–Definitions.

    When used in this chapter:

    (1) "Age" means anyone who is at least forty (40) years of age.

    (2) "Because of sex" or "on the basis of sex" include, but are not limited to, because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work, and nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to permit otherwise.

    (3) "Commission" means the Rhode Island commission against discrimination created by this chapter.

    (4) "Discriminate" includes segregate or separate.

    (5) "Employee" does not include any individual employed by his or her parents, spouse, or child, or in the domestic service of any person.

    (6)(i) "Employer" includes the state and all political subdivisions thereof and any person in this state employing four (4) or more individuals, and any person acting in the interest of an employer directly or indirectly.

    (ii) Nothing herein shall be construed to apply to a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of its religion to perform work connected with the carrying on of its activities.

    (7) "Employment agency" includes any person undertaking with or without compensation to procure opportunities to work, or to procure, recruit, refer, or place employees.

    (8) "Firefighter" means an employee the duties of whose position includes work connected with the control and extinguishment of fires or the maintenance and use of firefighting apparatus and equipment, including an employee engaged in this activity who is transferred or promoted to a supervisory or administrative position.

    (9) "Disability" means any physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment by any person, employer, labor organization or employment agency subject to this chapter, and shall include any disability which is provided protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. section 12101 et seq. and federal regulations pertaining to the act, 28 CFR 35 and 29 CFR 1630; provided, however, that whether a person has a disability shall be determined without regard to the availability or use of mitigating measures, such as reasonable accommodations, prosthetic devices, medications or auxiliary aids. As used in this subdivision, the phrase:

    (i) "Physical or mental impairment" means any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

    (ii) "Major life activities" means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

    (iii) "Has a record of an impairment" means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

    (iv) "Regarded as having an impairment" means has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but that is treated as constituting a limitation; has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; or has none of the impairments but is treated as having such an impairment.

    (10) "Labor organization" includes any organization which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms or conditions of employment, or of other mutual aid or protection in relation to employment.

    (11) "Law enforcement officer" means an employee the duties of whose position include investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the state, including an employee engaged in such activity who is transferred or promoted to a supervisory or administrative position. For the purpose of this subdivision, "detention" includes the duties of employees assigned to guard individuals incarcerated in any penal institution.

    (12) "Person" includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, organizations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, or receivers.

    (13) "Sexual orientation" means having or being perceived as having an orientation for heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality. This definition is intended to describe the status of persons and does not render lawful any conduct prohibited by the criminal laws of this state nor impose any duty on a religious organization. This definition does not confer legislative approval of said status, but is intended to assure the basic human rights of persons to obtain and hold employment, regardless of such status.

    (14) "Gender identity or expression" includes a person's actual or perceived gender, as well as a person's gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression; whether or not that gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression is different from that traditionally associated with the person's sex at birth.

    (15) "Religion" includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer, union or employment agency demonstrates that it is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee's or prospective employee's or union member's religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of its business.

    28-5-7. Unlawful Employment Practices

    It is an unlawful employment practice:

    (1) For any employer:

    (i) To refuse to hire any applicant for employment because of his or her race or color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or country of ancestral origin;

    (ii) Because of these reasons, to discharge an employee or discriminate against him or her with respect to hire, tenure, compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment, or any other matter directly or indirectly related to employment; provided, if an insurer or employer extends insurance-related benefits to persons other than or in addition to the named employee, nothing in this section shall require those benefits to be offered to unmarried partners of named employees;

    (iii) In the recruiting of individuals for employment or in hiring them, to utilize any employment agency, placement service, training school or center, labor organization, or any other employee referring source which the employer knows, or has reasonable cause to know, discriminates against individuals because of their race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin;

    (iv) To refuse to reasonably accommodate an employee's or prospective employee's disability unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would pose a hardship on the employer's program, enterprise, or business; or

    (v) When an employee has presented to the employer an internal complaint alleging harassment in the workplace on the basis of race or color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or country of ancestral origin, to refuse to disclose in a timely manner in writing to that employee the disposition of the complaint, including a description of any action taken in resolution of the complaint. Provided, however, no other personnel information shall be disclosed to the complainant.

    (2) For any employment agency:

    (i) To fail or refuse to classify properly or refer for employment or otherwise discriminate against any individual because of his or her race or color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or country of ancestral origin; or

    (ii) For any employment agency, placement service, training school or center, labor organization, or any other employee referring source to comply with an employer's request for the referral of job applicants if the request indicates either directly or indirectly that the employer will not afford full and equal employment opportunities to individuals regardless of their race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin;

    (3) For any labor organization:

    (i) To deny full and equal membership rights to any applicant for membership because of his or her race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin;

    (ii) Because of these reasons, to deny a member full and equal membership rights, expel him or her from membership, or otherwise discriminate in any manner against him or her with respect to his or her hire, tenure, compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment, or any other matter directly or indirectly related to membership or employment, whether or not authorized or required by the constitution or bylaws of the labor organization or by a collective labor agreement or other contract;

    (iii) To fail or refuse to classify properly or refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against any member because of his or her race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin; or

    (iv) To refuse to reasonably accommodate a member's or prospective member's disability unless the labor organization can demonstrate that the accommodation would pose a hardship on the labor organization's program, enterprise, or business;

    (4) Except where based on a bona fide occupational qualification certified by the commission or where necessary to comply with any federal mandated affirmative action programs, for any employer or employment agency, labor organization, placement service, training school or center, or any other employee referring source, prior to employment or admission to membership of any individual, to:

    (i) Elicit or attempt to elicit any information directly or indirectly pertaining to his or her race or color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or country of ancestral origin;

    (ii) Make or keep a record of his or her race or color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or country of ancestral origin;

    (iii) Use any form of application for employment, or personnel or membership blank containing questions or entries directly or indirectly pertaining to race or color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or country of ancestral origin;

    (iv) Print or publish or cause to be printed or published any notice or advertisement relating to employment or membership indicating any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based upon race or color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or country of ancestral origin; or

    (v) Establish, announce, or follow a policy of denying or limiting, through a quota system or otherwise, employment or membership opportunities of any group because of the race or color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or country of ancestral origin of that group;

    (5) For any employer or employment agency, labor organization, placement service, training school or center, or any other employee referring source to discriminate in any manner against any individual because he or she has opposed any practice forbidden by this chapter, or because he or she has made a charge, testified, or assisted in any manner in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this chapter;

    (6) For any person, whether or not an employer, employment agency, labor organization, or employee, to aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce the doing of any act declared by this section to be an unlawful employment practice, or to obstruct or prevent any person from complying with this chapter or any order issued under this chapter, or to attempt directly or indirectly to commit any act declared by this section to be an unlawful employment practice;

    (7) For any employer to include on any application for employment, except applications for law enforcement agency positions, or positions related to them, a question inquiring or to otherwise inquire either orally or in writing whether the applicant has ever been arrested or charged with any crime; provided, that nothing in this chapter shall prevent an employer from inquiring whether the applicant has ever been convicted of any crime;

    (8)

    (i) For any person who, on June 7, 1988, is providing either by direct payment or by making contributions to a fringe benefit fund or insurance program, benefits in violation with sections 28-5-6, 28-5-7 and 28-5-38, until the expiration of a period of one year from June 7, 1988, or if there is an applicable collective bargaining agreement in effect on June 7, 1988, until the termination of that agreement, in order to come into compliance with sections 28-5-6, 28-5-7 and 28-5-38, to reduce the benefits or the compensation provided any employee on June 7, 1988, either directly or by failing to provide sufficient contributions to a fringe benefit fund or insurance program.

    (ii) Where the costs of these benefits on June 7, 1988, are apportioned between employers and employees, the payments or contributions required to comply with sections 28-5- 6, 28-5-7 and 28-5-38 may be made by employers and employees in the same proportion.

    (iii) Nothing in this section shall prevent the readjustment of benefits or compensation for reasons unrelated to compliance with sections 28-5-6, 28-5-7 and 28-5-38.

    28-5-7.1 Firefighter and law enforcement.

    It shall not be unlawful for an employer as defined in Sec. 28-5-6(2)(i) or any agency or instrumentality of the state or a political subdivision of the state to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any person because of the person's age if the action is taken with respect to the employment of a person as a firefighter or as a law enforcement officer and the person has attained the age of hiring or retirement in effect under any state statute, city or town ordinance, any collective bargaining agreement, or pension plan in effect on March 3, 1983. An employee whose retirement goes into effect shall be allowed to continue his or her employment until the end of the calendar year.

    28-5-7.2 Fair Employment Practices–Proof of unlawful employment practices in disparate impact cases.

    (a) An unlawful employment practice prohibited by Sec. 28-5-7 may be established by proof of disparate impact. An unlawful employment practice by proof of disparate impact is established when:

    (1) A complainant demonstrates that an employment practice results in a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin, and the respondent fails to demonstrate that the practice is required by business necessity; or

    (2) A complainant demonstrates that a group of employment practices results in disparate impact on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin, and the respondent fails to demonstrate that the practices are required by business necessity; provided that:

    (i) If a complainant demonstrates that a group of employment practices results in a disparate impact, the complainant is not required to demonstrate which specific practice or practices within the group results in the disparate impact; and

    (ii) If the respondent demonstrates that a specific employment practice within this group of employment practices does not contribute to the disparate impact, the respondent is not required to demonstrate that the practice is required by business necessity.

    (b) A demonstration that an employment practice is required by business necessity may be used as a defense only against a claim under this section.

    (c) As used in this section:

    (1) The terms "complainant" and "respondent" mean those individuals or entities defined as such in Sec. 28-5-17;

    (2) The term "demonstrates" means meets the burdens of production and persuasion;

    (3) The term "group of employment practices" means a combination of employment practices or an overall employment process; and

    (4) The term "required by business necessity" means essential to effective job performance.

    (d) Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed as limiting the methods of proof of unlawful employment practices under Sec. 28-5-7 to the methods set in this section.

    28-5-7.3. Motivating factors; Discriminatory practice complaint.

    An unlawful employment practice is established in an action or proceeding under this chapter when the complainant demonstrates that race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of ancestral origin was a motivating factor for any employment practice, even though the practice was also motivated by other factors. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as requiring direct evidence of unlawful intent or as limiting the methods of proof of unlawful employment practices under Sec. 28-5-7.

    28-5-17 Fair Employment Practices–Investigation by commission — Conciliation.

    Upon the commission's own initiative, or whenever an aggrieved individual or an organization chartered for the purpose of combating discrimination, racism, or of safeguarding civil liberties, or of promoting full, free, or equal employment opportunities, this individual or organization being referred to as the complainant, makes a charge to the commission that any employer, employment agency, labor organization, or person has engaged or is engaging in unlawful employment practices and that the unlawful employment practices have occurred, have terminated, or have been applied to adversely affect the person aggrieved, whichever is later, within one year, the commission may initiate a preliminary investigation. If the commission determines that it is probable that unlawful employment practices have been or are being engaged in, it shall endeavor to eliminate the unlawful employment practices by informal methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion, including a conciliation agreement. The terms of the conciliation agreement include provisions requiring the respondent to refrain from the commission of unlawful discriminatory practices in the future and may contain any further provisions that may be agreed upon by the investigating commissioner and the respondent, including a provision for the entry in superior court of a consent decree embodying the terms of the conciliation agreement. Nothing said or done during these endeavors may be used as evidence in any subsequent proceeding. If, after an investigation and conference, the commission is satisfied that any unlawful employment practice of the respondent will be eliminated, it may, with the consent of the complainant, treat the charge as conciliated, and entry of this disposition shall be made on the records of the commission; provided, that the commission shall not enter a consent order or conciliation agreement settling claims of discrimination in an action or proceeding under this chapter unless the parties and their counsel attest that a waiver of all or substantially all attorneys' fees was not compelled as a condition of the settlement.

    28-5-18 Fair Employment Practices–Complaint and notice of hearing.

    (a) If the commission fails to effect the elimination of the unlawful employment practices and to obtain voluntary compliance with this chapter, or, if the circumstances warrant, in advance of any preliminary investigation or endeavors, the commission has the power to issue and cause to be served upon any person or respondent a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice of hearing before the commission, a member of the commission, or a hearing examiner at a place designated in the notice, to be held not less than ten (10) days after the service of the complaint. Any complaint issued pursuant to this section must be issued within two (2) years after a signed and notarized charge has been filed with the commission pursuant to Sec. 28-5-17.

    (b) No proceeding which was pending under this chapter on April 5, 1996, is subject to dismissal on the basis of the commission's failure to issue a complaint within one year after the alleged unfair employment practice occurred or has been applied to affect adversely the person aggrieved, where the charge was filed with the commission within one year after the alleged unfair employment practice occurred or has been applied to affect adversely the person aggrieved, whichever is later, and the respondent had agreed to extend or waive the one year period of limitations.

    28-5-24 Fair Employment Practices–Remedies — Compliance.

    (a) If, upon all the testimony taken, the commission determines that the respondent has engaged in or is engaging in unlawful employment practices, the commission shall state its findings of fact and shall issue and cause to be served on the respondent an order requiring the respondent to cease and desist from the unlawful employment practices, and to take any further affirmative or other action that will effectuate the purposes of this chapter, including, but not limited to, hiring, reinstatement, or upgrading of employees with or without back pay, or admission or restoration to union membership, including a requirement for reports of the manner of compliance. Back pay includes the economic value of all benefits and raises to which an employee would have been entitled had an unfair employment practice not been committed, plus interest on those amounts. Where an unlawful employment practice has been established under Sec. 28-5-7.3, the commission need not award hiring, reinstatement or upgrading with back pay if the respondent establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that it would have taken the same action in the absence of any unlawful motivating factor. In appropriate circumstances attorney's fees, including expert fees and other litigation expenses, may be granted to the attorney for the plaintiff if he or she prevails. Upon the submission of reports of compliance the commission, if satisfied with the reports, may issue its finding that the respondent has ceased to engage in unlawful employment practices.

    (b) If the commission finds that the respondent has engaged in intentional discrimination in violation of this chapter, the commission in addition may award compensatory damages. The complainant is not required to prove that he or she has suffered physical harm or physical manifestation of injury in order to be awarded compensatory damages. As used in this section, the term "compensatory damages" does not include back pay or interest, and the term "intentional discrimination in violation of this chapter" means any unlawful employment practice except one that is solely based on a demonstration of disparate impact.

    28-5-24.1 Fair Employment Practices–Proceedings in superior court.

    (a) A complainant may ask for a right to sue in state court if not less than one hundred and twenty (120) days and not more than two (2) years have elapsed from the date of filing of a charge, if the commission has been unable to secure a settlement agreement or conciliation agreement and if the commission has not commenced a hearing on a complaint. The commission shall grant the right to sue within thirty (30) days after receipt of the request. This terminates all proceedings before the commission and gives to the complainant the right to commence suit in the superior court in any county as provided in Sec. 28-5-28 within ninety (90) days after the granting of the request. Any party may claim a trial by jury.

    (b) As to cases pending before the commission July 8, 1999, in which a finding of probable cause has been made by the commission under Sec. 28-5-18, or will be made in the future, the commission shall, within thirty (30) days of the findings of probable cause or within thirty (30) days after July 8, 1999, whichever is later, notify the respondent of the right to have the complaint heard and decided in the superior court. If within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notification by the respondent the respondent elects in writing to have the case heard in the superior court, the commission shall promptly issue a right to sue letter to the complainant and all proceedings before the commission shall terminate. The complainant has the right to commence suit in the superior court in any county as provided in Sec. 28-5-28 within ninety (90) days of the date of the right to sue letter, a copy of which shall be sent to all parties. Either party may claim a trial by jury in the superior court. Notwithstanding the termination of proceedings before the commission upon the granting of the right to sue notice, the parties may agree to have the commission seek to conciliate or mediate settlement of the case within the ninety (90) day period in which the complainant has the right to commence suit in superior court.

    (c) As to cases commenced in the commission after July 8, 1999, the complainant or the respondent may elect within twenty (20) days after receipt of a finding of probable cause, to terminate by written notice to the commission all proceedings before the commission and have the case heard in the superior court. In the event of an election to terminate the proceedings, the commission shall issue a right to sue letter to the complainant with a copy of the letter sent to all parties. The complainant has the right to commence suit in the superior court within any county as provided in Sec. 25-5-28 within ninety (90) days of the date of the right to sue letter. Either party may claim a trial by jury in the superior court. Notwithstanding the termination of proceedings before the commission upon the granting of the right to sue notice, the parties may agree to have the commission seek to conciliate or mediate settlement of the case within the ninety (90) day period in which the complainant has the right to commence suit in superior court.

    (d) The superior court may make orders consistent with Sec. 28-5-24; provided, that the court shall not enter a consent order or judgment settling claims of discrimination in an action or proceeding under this chapter, unless the parties and their counsel attest that a waiver of all or substantially all attorney's fees was not compelled as a condition of the settlement.

    28-5-26 Fair Employment Practices–Modification of findings or orders.

    Until a transcript of the record in a case is filed in a court as provided in this chapter, the commission may at any time, upon reasonable notice and in a manner that it deems proper, modify or set aside in whole or in part any of its findings or orders.

    28-5-29.1 Fair Employment Practices–Punitive damages.

    In addition to the remedies provided in Sec. 28-5-24, where the challenged conduct is shown to be motivated by malice or ill will or when the action involves reckless or callous indifference to the statutorily protected rights of others, the court may award punitive damages; provided, that punitive damages are not available against the state or its political subdivisions.

    28-5-37 Fair Employment Practices–Posting of statutory provisions.

    Every employer, employment agency, and labor union subject to this chapter shall post in a conspicuous place or places on its premises a notice to be prepared or approved by the commission, which sets forth excerpts of this chapter and any other relevant information which the commission deems necessary to explain the chapter. Any employer, employment agency, or labor union refusing to comply with this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500).

    Equal Pay

    28-6-17 Wage Discrimination Based on Sex–Definitions.

    (a) "Director" as used in Sec. 28-6-17 — 28-6-21 means the director of labor and training.

    (b) "Employee" means any person employed for hire by any employer in any lawful employment, but does not include persons engaged in domestic service in the home of the employer, or employees of any social club, fraternal, charitable, educational, religious, scientific, or literary association, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private individual.

    (c) "Employer" includes any person acting in the interest of an employer directly or indirectly.

    (d) "Employment" means any employment under contract of hire, expressed or implied, written or oral, including all contracts entered into by helpers and assistants of employees, whether paid by employer or employee, if employed with the knowledge, actual or constructive, of the employer in which all or the greater part of the work is to be performed within the state.

    28-6-18 Wage Discrimination Based on Sex–Wage differentials based on sex prohibited.

    No employer shall discriminate in the payment of wages as between the sexes or pay any female in his employ salary or wage rates less than the rates paid to male employees for equal work or work on the same operations; provided, that nothing contained in this section shall prohibit a variation in rates of pay based upon either difference in seniority, experience, training, skill, or ability, or difference in duties and services performed, either regularly or occasionally, or difference in the shift or time of day worked, or difference in availability for other operations or any other reasonable differentiation except difference in sex; and, except as provided in this section, any provision in any contract, agreement, or understanding entered into after passage of this act establishing a variation in rates of pay as between the sexes, is null and void.

    28-6-19 Wage Discrimination Based on Sex–Enforcement of provisions.

    The director of labor and training has the power and the duty to carry out the provisions of Sec. 28-6-17 — 28-6-21.

    28-6-20 Wage Discrimination Based on Sex–Civil liability of employer for sex differential — Actions.

    An employer who violates the provisions of Sec. 28-6-18 is liable to the employee or employees affected in the amount of their unpaid wages, and in an additional equal amount of liquidated damages. An action to recover the liability may be maintained in any court of competent jurisdiction by any one or more employees for and in behalf of himself or herself or themselves and other employees similarly situated. At the request of any employee paid less than the wage to which he or she is entitled under Sec. 28-6-17 — 28-6-21, the director of labor and training may take an assignment of the wage claim in trust for the assigning employee and may bring any legal action necessary to collect the claim, and the liquidated damages provided by this section. The director of labor and training is not required to pay the filing fee or other costs in connection with the action. The director of labor and training has power to join various claimants against the employer in one cause of action.

    28-6-21 Wage Discrimination Based on Sex–Penalty for violations.

    Any employer who violates any provision of Sec. 28-6-17 — 28-6-21, or who discharges or in any other manner discriminates against any employee because the employee has made any complaint to his or her employer, the director of labor and training, or any other person, or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to Sec. 28-6-17 — 28-6-21, or has testified or is about to testify in any proceeding, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200) or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, or by both fine and imprisonment.

    Tax Information

    28-6.9-1 Tax and Income Information From Job Applicants–Requests for tax documents prohibited.

    No employer or agent of any employer shall request or require any applicant for employment to provide copies of his or her federal or state income tax return, W-2 statement or related tax documents as a condition of consideration for employment.

    28-6.9-2 Tax and Income Information From Job Applicants–Penalties for violations.

    In any civil action alleging a violation of this chapter, the court may:

    (1) Award to a prevailing applicant punitive damages in addition to any award of actual damages and reasonable attorney's fees and costs; and

    (2) Afford injunctive relief against any employer or agent of any employer who commits or proposes to commit a violation of this chapter.

    Temporary Employee Protection Act

    28-6.10-3 The Temporary Employee Protection Act–Job description notification.

    (a) Before any temporary employee is given any new job assignment regardless of whether or not the assignment is with the same contracting company, an employment agency shall provide the temporary employee with the opportunity to see and have a copy of a written notice that includes a job description with classification requirements, estimated longevity of the assignment, information concerning any job hazards, anticipated pay rate, benefits and work schedules. A copy of the job description shall be kept on file for a period of one year by the employment agency and be available to the employee.

    (b) A notice of this law must be posted and maintained at all employment agencies where workers can view it.

    28-6.10-4 The Temporary Employee Protection Act–Penalty for violations.

    Upon determining that a person has violated Sec. 28-6.10-3, the department of labor and training shall send a written notice of the violation to the person at his or her last known address containing a description of the fines prescribed in this section. Any person determined by the department to have committed a second violation of Sec. 28-6.10-3, within five (5) years of the first violations, is subject to a five hundred dollars ($500) fine. Any person determined by the department to have committed a third or subsequent violation of Sec. 28-6.10-3, within five (5) years of a previous violation, is subject to a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000). A violation occurring more than five (5) years from the date of a previous violation is considered a first violation.

    Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

    28-51-1 Sexual Harassment, Education and Training in the Workplace–Definitions.

    (a) As used in this chapter the term "sexual harassment" means any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when

    (1) submission to such conduct or such advances or requests is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; or

    (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct or advances or requests by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions effecting such individual; or

    (3) such conduct or advances or requests have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offense working environment.

    (b) As used in this chapter, the term "employer" means any entity employing fifty (50) or more employees.

    28-51-2 Sexual Harassment, Education and Training in the Workplace–Adoption of workplace policy and statement.

    (a) All employers and employment agencies shall promote a workplace free of sexual harassment.

    (b) Every employer shall:

    (1) Adopt a policy against sexual harassment which includes:

    (i) A statement that sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful;

    (ii) A statement that it is unlawful to retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint of sexual harassment or for cooperating in an investigation of a complaint for sexual harassment;

    (iii) A description and examples of sexual harassment;

    (iv) A statement of the range of consequences for employees who are found to have committed sexual harassment;

    (v) A description of the process for filing internal complaints about sexual harassment and the work addresses and telephone numbers of the person or persons to whom complaints should be made; and

    (vi) The identity of the appropriate state and federal employment discrimination enforcement agencies, and directions as to how to contact those agencies.

    (2) Provide to all employees a written copy of the employer's policy against sexual harassment; provided, that a new employee shall be provided such a copy at the time of his or her employment.

    (c) Employers are encouraged to conduct an education and training program for new employees and members, within one year of commencement of employment or membership, which includes at a minimum the information set forth in this section. Employers are encouraged to conduct additional training for new supervisory and managerial employees within one year of commencement of employment which shall include at a minimum the information set forth in subsection (b), the specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees and the methods that these employees should take to ensure immediate and appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints. Employers and appropriate state agencies are encouraged to cooperate in making education and training available.

    (d) Employers shall provide copies of their written policies on sexual harassment to all employees upon their request on or before September 1, 1997.

    (e) Employers shall be required to maintain copies of their written policies on sexual harassment at their business premises, and copies of the policies shall be made available to any state or federal employment discrimination enforcement agency upon request.

    28-51-3 Sexual Harassment, Education and Training in the Workplace–Education and training programs.

    Employers are encouraged to conduct an education and training program on sexual harassment consistent with the aims and purposes of this chapter for all employees, including, but not limited to, supervisory or managerial personnel, on or before September 1, 1997.

    Genetic Testing

    28-6.7-1. Prohibition of genetic testing by employer.

    (a) No employer, employment agency or licensing agency shall directly or indirectly:

    (1) Request, require or administer a genetic test to any employee, licensee, or applicant for employment or licensure;

    (2) Affect the terms, conditions or privileges of employment or licensure or terminate the employment or licensure of any person who obtains a genetic test;

    (3) Deny employment or deny an application for an occupational license, or suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew an occupational license; or take any other action affecting the terms, conditions or privileges of employment against an employee or a license holder based directly or indirectly on the refusal of the employee, licensee or applicant for employment or licensure to:

    (i) Submit to a genetic test;

    (ii) Submit a family health history; or

    (iii) Reveal:

    (A) whether the employee, applicant or holder has submitted to a genetic test; or

    (B) the results of any genetic test to which the employee, applicant or holder has submitted; or

    (4) Otherwise use genetic information to adversely affect the employment, licensure, or application for employment or licensure of any individual.

    (5) Reveal genetic information about employees, licensees, or applicants.

    (b) No person may sell to or interpret for an employer, employment agency or licensing agency a genetic test of a current or prospective employee or licensee.

    28-6.7-3. Violations.

    In any civil action alleging a violation of this chapter, the court may:

    (1) award to a prevailing applicant or employee punitive damages in addition to any award of actual damages, and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs; and

    (2) afford injunctive relief against any employer who commits or proposes to commit a violation of this chapter.

    28-6.7-5. Waivers prohibited.

    Any contract or agreement, which purports to waive the provisions of this chapter, is declared null and void as against public policy.

    HIV Discrimination


    23-6.3-11. Discrimination prohibited. -- No person, agency, organization, or legal entity may discriminate against an individual on the basis of a positive HIV test result, or perception of a positive test, in housing, education, employment, the granting of credit, public accommodation, or delivery of services, nor shall an HIV test be required as a condition of employment.
    23-6.3-12. Administrative relief. -- Any individual who believes that he or she has been unlawfully discriminated against in housing, education, employment, the granting of credit, public accommodations, or delivery of services on the basis of a positive HIV test, or perception of a positive test, may bring action for administrative relief before the Rhode Island human rights commission; and that commission may hear the matter and grant relief in those cases.

    Contract Discrimination

    42-112-1. Contracts.

    (a) All persons within the state, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, disability, age or country of ancestral origin, shall have, except as is otherwise provided or permitted by law, the same rights to make and enforce contracts, to inherit, purchase, to lease, sell, hold and convey real and personal property, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.

    (b) For the purposes of this section, the right to "make and enforce contracts, to inherit, purchase, to lease, sell, hold and convey real and personal property" shall include the making, performance, modification and termination of such contracts and rights concerning real or personal property, and the enjoyment of all benefits, terms and conditions of the aforesaid contractual and other relationships.

    (c) Nothing contained herein shall be construed to affect chapter 14.1 of title 37, chapter 5.1 of title 28 or any other remedial programs designed to address past societal discrimination.

    (d) For purposes of this section, the terms "sex", "disability" and "age" shall have the same meaning as those terms are defined in section 28-5-6, the state fair employment practices act.

    42-112-2. Civil liability.

    A person whose rights under the provision of section 42-109-1 have been violated may commence a civil action for injunctive and other appropriate equitable relief, and for the award of compensatory and exemplary damages. An aggrieved person who prevails in an action authorized by this section, in addition to other damages, shall be entitled to an award of the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys' fees in an amount to be fixed by the court.

    Disability Discrimination

    42-87-2. Prohibited discrimination.

    No otherwise qualified person with a disability shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be subject to discrimination by any person or entity doing business in the state; nor shall any otherwise qualified person with a disability be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of any program, activity or service of, or, by any person or entity regulated, by the state or having received financial assistance from the state.

    42-87-3. Prohibited discriminatory acts.

    The discriminatory acts prohibited by Sec. 42-87-2 include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

    (a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, no person or entity licensed or regulated by the state, or having received financial assistance from the state, or doing business within the state, shall:

    (1) Deny an otherwise qualified person with a disability the opportunity to participate in or benefit from any aid, benefit or service;

    (2) Afford an otherwise qualified person with a disability an opportunity to participate in or benefit from any aid, benefit, or service that is not equal to that afforded others;

    (3) Provide an otherwise qualified person with a disability with an aid, benefit, or service that is not as effective as that provided to others;

    (4) Provide different or separate aid, benefits, or services to otherwise qualified persons with a disability or to any class of otherwise qualified persons with a disability unless that action is necessary to provide otherwise qualified persons with a disability with aid, benefits, or services that are as effective as those provided to others;

    (5) Aid or perpetuate discrimination against an otherwise qualified person with a disability by providing significant assistance to an agency, organization, or person that discriminates on the basis of disability in providing any aid, benefit, or service to beneficiaries of the recipients program;

    (6) Deny an otherwise qualified person with a disability the opportunity to participate as a member of planning or advisory boards; or

    (7) Otherwise limit an otherwise qualified person with a disability in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving an aid, benefit, or service.

    (b) Notwithstanding any inconsistent terms of any collective bargaining agreement, no otherwise qualified person with a disability shall, solely on the basis of disability, who with reasonable accommodation and with no major cost can perform the essential functions of the job in question, be subjected to discrimination in employment by any person or entity receiving financial assistance from the state, or doing business within the state. The provisions of this subsection apply to the following activities:

    (1) Recruitment, advertising, and the processing of applications for employment;

    (2) Hiring, upgrading, promotion, award to tenure, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, right to return from layoff, and rehiring;

    (3) Rates of pay or any other form of compensation and changes in compensation;

    (4) Job assignments, job classifications, organizational structures, position descriptions, lines of progression, and seniority lists;

    (5) Leave of absence, sick leave, or any other leave;

    (6) Fringe benefits available by virtue of employment, whether or not administered by the recipient;

    (7) Selection and financial support for training, including apprenticeship, professional meetings, conferences, and other related activities, and selection for leaves of absence to pursue training;

    (8) Employer sponsored activities including social or recreational programs; and

    (9) Any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.

    (c) Any person with a disability shall be entitled to full and equal access, as other members of the general public, to all housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or compensation in this state, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.

    (d) Every person with a disability who has a personal assistive animal, or who obtains a personal assistive animal, shall be entitled to full and equal access to all housing and other public accommodations provided for in this chapter and shall not be required to pay extra compensation for the personal assistive animal, but shall be liable for any damage done to the premises by a personal assistive animal. For the purposes of this subsection a "personal assistive animal" is an animal specifically trained, by a certified animal training program, to assist a person with a disability perform independent living tasks.

    (e) No qualified individual with a disability, as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq., nor any individual or entity because of a known relationship or association with an individual with a disability shall be:

    (1) Discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation or commercial facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.;

    (2) Excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of, or be subjected to discrimination by, a public entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.;

    (3) Subject to discrimination in employment by a public entity or employer covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.

    (f) The application, exemptions, definitions, requirements, standards, and deadlines for compliance with subsection (e) shall be in accordance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C., Sec. 12101 et seq. and the federal regulations pertaining to the Act, 28 CFR 36, 28 CFR 35 , and 29 CFR 1630.

    Employment discrimination prohibited against victims of domestic abuse

    12-28-11. Prohibited practices.

    (1) No employer, employment agency or licensing agency shall refuse to hire any applicant for employment, or discharge an employee or discriminate against him or her with respect to any matter related to employment, solely by the reason of his or her seeking or obtaining a protective order pursuant to chapter 15 of title 15 or chapter 8.1 of title 8 of the general laws or refusing to seek or obtain such an order.

    (2) In any civil action alleging a violation of this chapter, the court may:

    (a) award to a prevailing applicant or employee punitive damages in addition to any award of actual damages, and reasonable attorneys fees and costs; and

    (b) afford injunctive relief against any employer, employment agency or licensing agency who commits or proposes to commit a violation of this chapter.

    The Rhode Island Workplace Violence Prevention Act of 2001

    28-52-2. Employer's responsibilities.

    (a) If an employer, or an employer's employee(s) or invitee(s) have:

    (1) suffered unlawful violence by an individual; or

    (2) received a threat of violence by an individual which can reasonably be construed as a threat which may be carried out at the worksite; or

    (3) been stalked or harassed at the worksite; the employer may (in addition to, or instead of, filing criminal charges against the individual) seek a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction, and an injunction pursuant to Rule 65 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, prohibiting further unlawful acts by that individual at the worksite, which shall include any place at which work is being performed on behalf of the employer.

    (b) Proof (by affidavit in an ex parte hearing, or by a preponderance of the evidence in any other hearing) of any action described in subsection (a) shall constitute irreparable harm or damage to the employer, or employer's employee(s) or invitee(s). Upon granting of any restraining order, preliminary injunction, or injunction, the court may, among other appropriate orders:

    (1) order the defendant not to visit, assault, molest, or otherwise interfere with the employer or the employer's operations, or the employer's employee(s) or invitee(s) at the employer's worksite;

    (2) order the defendant to cease stalking the employer's employee(s) or invitee(s) at the employer's worksite;

    (3) order the defendant to cease harassment of the employer or the employer's employee(s) or invitee(s) at the employer's worksite;

    (4) order the defendant not to abuse or injure the employer, including the employer's property, or the employer's employee(s) or invitee(s) at the employer's worksite;

    (5) order the defendant not to telephone the employer or the employer's employee(s) or invitee(s) at the employer's worksite;

    (6) such other necessary and appropriate relief as deemed appropriate in the discretion of the court.

    (c) When necessary to protect the employer or the employer's employee(s), invitee(s), or property, and when authorized by the court, temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, and injunctions granted pursuant to the provisions of this act may be served upon the defendant by a peace officer, sheriff, constable, or policeman, or other officer whose duty it is to preserve the peace, with appropriate orders to such officials to enforce the court's order.

    (d) All orders and injunctions issued pursuant to the provisions of this act shall have statewide validity, unless specifically modified or terminated by the issuing judge, and may be enforced by the issuing court for any violation anywhere in the state, and by any court of competent jurisdiction within the state for violations which may occur within that court's jurisdiction.

    (e) An employer and an employer's agents who act in accord with the provisions of this act shall be presumed to be acting in good faith and, unless lack of good faith is shown by clear and convincing evidence, are immune from civil liability for actions taken hereunder.

    (f) Any employer, or its employee(s) or invitee(s), which does not utilize the procedures authorized by this act, shall not be liable for negligence nor shall evidence of the same be admissible as evidence of negligence.

    (g) In no event shall this chapter be construed to prevent lawful picketing or lawful demonstrations including, but not limited to, those related to a labor dispute.

    Discrimination Against Military

    30-11-2. Members of the Militia.

    No employer, or officer or agent of any corporation, company or firm, or other person shall discharge any person from employment because of being an officer or enlisted person in the military forces of this state or hinder or prevent that person from performing any military service he or she may be called upon to perform by proper authority, or dissuade any person from membership in the military forces of the state by threat of injury to that person in respect to his or her employment, trade, or business in case of his or her enlistment or commission. Any person violating any of the above provisions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

    30-11-6. Reservists, Discrimination Prohibited.

    No employer, or officer or agent of any corporation, company, or firm, or other person shall discharge any person from employment because of being an officer or enlisted person in the reserve military forces of the United States, or hinder or prevent that person from performing any military service he or she may be called upon to perform by proper authority, or dissuade any person from membership in the reserve military forces of the United States by threat of injury to that person in respect to his or her employment, trade, or business in case of his or her enlistment or commission. Any person violating any of the above provisions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.


    EXECUTIVE ORDER 05-01
    January 17, 2005 


    Promotion of Equal Opportunity and the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in State Government

    WHEREAS, there is a compelling interest in the promotion and achievement of equal opportunity; and concerted commitment is necessary to prevent discrimination and sexual harassment in all departments and agencies of Rhode Island state government; and

    WHEREAS, Rhode Island has an unwavering commitment to providing equal employment opportunity in state government to all qualified individuals without sexual harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, ethnicity, national origin, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or the presence of a sensory, mental, or physical disability; and

    WHEREAS, the prevention and elimination of discrimination and sexual harassment requires continued action to ensure that all employment opportunities existing in or through state government are available to all qualified individuals; and

    WHEREAS, to provide equal opportunity for all employees and applicants in all aspects of employment including, but not limited to recruitment, hiring, retention, training, compensation, benefits, leave, assignment, transfer, promotion, discipline, demotion, terminations, and layoffs, and to ensure reasonable steps are taken to actively promote employment opportunities to all qualified individuals that historically have been underutilized in the state government workforce there is a need to reaffirm policies, practices consistent with State and Federal law.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD L. CARCIERI, by the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do hereby order as follows:

    1. All Directors, their senior staff and all supervisory employees of agencies, departments, state boards, commissions, public authorities and quasi-public corporations of state government ("Agencies") are responsible for ensuring that all aspects of state programs for which they manage are available without discrimination or sexual harassment.

    2. Pursuant to all applicable Federal and State law, all Agencies are to develop, promote, monitor, implement, and maintain equal employment opportunity policies and practices that:

    a) do not discriminate against any employees or applicants for state employment in all aspects of employment including contract procurement and service delivery,

    b) establish guidelines to prevent discrimination and sexual harassment of any employees or applicants for state employment;

    c) identify and actively promote employment opportunities for qualified individuals that historically have been underutilized in the state government workforce;

    d) describe the notice and filing provisions that enable any employee or applicant for state employment who believes he/she has been discriminated against or sexually harassed to immediately report such conduct to appropriate official(s).

    3. All Agency Directors shall designate an individual as the Agency's Equal Employment Opportunity Officer and American with Disabilities Act Coordinator (the Officer). Such Officers, with the assistance of the State Equal Opportunity Office (EOO) as set forth in Title 28, Chapter 5.1 et seq. of the Rhode Island General Laws, shall be responsible for the formulation, drafting and reporting of plans and policies relating to nondiscrimination as well as the prevention of sexual harassment as required by Title 28, Chapter 51-2. All Agency Officers shall annually attend one (1) Equal Employment Opportunity training session and one (1) training session on the prevention of sexual harassment. Each Agency Officer shall work cooperatively with the Diversity Advisory Council as established by Executive Order 05-02 and the State EOO to conduct a semi-annual review and evaluation of hiring/promotion activity within their unit. All Agency Directors shall work cooperatively with the Agency Officer to monitor and maintain compliance according to the guidelines outlined in the Agency's EOO plan.

    4. All Agencies shall comply with Federal laws pertaining to the promotion of equal opportunity for all qualified individuals and the prevention of sexual harassment including but not limited to the following provisions: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, that prohibits employment discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older;

    the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in compensation for substantially similar work under similar conditions; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of disability in both the public and private sector, excluding the federal government; the Civil Rights Act of 1991, as amended, that provides for monetary damages in case of intentional discrimination; Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, that prohibits employment discrimination against federal employees with disabilities; Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, as amended, that forbids gender discrimination in education programs, including athletics that receive federal dollars; the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, as amended, that makes it illegal for employers to exclude pregnancy and childbirth from their sick leave and health benefits plans; and 38 U.S.C. 4212 Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended that prohibits job discrimination and requires affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified Vietnam era veterans and qualified special disabled veterans.

    5. All Agencies of Rhode Island State Government shall also comply with State laws pertaining to the promotion of equal opportunity for all qualified individuals and the prevention of sexual harassment including but not limited to Article 1, Section 2 of the Rhode Island Constitution; all applicable provisions of Rhode Island General Laws Chapter 5 through 6, and Chapter 51 of Title 28. These statutes require Fair Employment Practices regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, disability, age, or country of origin; positive action be taken to affirm the civil rights of protected classes of individuals; promote nondiscrimination, and prohibit sexual harassment.

    6. Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws Title 28, Chapter 5.1, the State EOO shall be responsible for assuring compliance with State and Federal laws prohibiting discrimination and all applicable provisions of this Executive Order.

    7. Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws Title 28 Chapter 51, the Office of Labor Relations within the Department of Administration shall be responsible for assuring compliance with State and Federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment and all applicable provisions of this Executive Order.

    8. Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws Title 28, Chapter 5 Sections 8 through 40, the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights shall be responsible for assuring compliance with State and Federal laws and all applicable provisions of this Executive Order.

    9. Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws Title 42, Chapter 51, the Governor's Commission on Disabilities shall be responsible for assuring compliance with State and Federal laws and all applicable provisions of this Executive Order.

    10. Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws Title 23 Chapter 23-1.8, the Commission on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing shall be responsible for assuring compliance with all applicable provisions of this Executive Order.

    11. Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws Title 28-5.1-5 and Title 36 Chapter 4-26.1, the Office of Personnel Administration within the Department of Administration and the State EOO shall be responsible for assuring compliance with State and Federal laws and all applicable provisions of this Executive Order.

    12. Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws Title 28-5.1-3.1 each Agency of State Government is responsible for assuring compliance with all applicable provisions of this Executive Order. Individuals believing that they have been discriminated against or sexually harassed in employment by or through state government should immediately contact: Rhode Island State Equal Opportunity Office Department of Administration, Personnel Office One Capitol Hill Providence, RI 02908 Tel (401) 222-3090; Fax (401) 222-6391; TTD (401) 222-6144 Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights180 Westminster Street, 3rd Floor Providence, RI 02903 Tel (401) 222-2661; Fax (401) 222-2616; TTY (401) 222-2664 Governor's Commission on Disabilities 41 Cherry Dale Court Cranston, RI 02920 Tel (401) 462-0100; Fax (401) 462-0106; TTY (401) 462-0101 This Executive Order supersedes and rescinds Executive Order No. 96-14 and No. 95-11, and is effective immediately upon the date hereof.

    So Ordered: Donald L. Carcieri Dated: January 17, 2005

    Sec. 23-20.10-14. Discrimination for use of tobacco products prohibited.

    (a) No employer or agent of any employer shall require, as a condition of employment, that any employee or prospective employee refrain from smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of his or her employment, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his or her compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment for smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of his or her employment. Provided, however, that the following employers shall be exempt from the provisions of this section: Any employer that is a nonprofit organization which as one of its primary purposes or objectives discourages the use of tobacco products by the general public.

    (b) In any civil action alleging a violation of this chapter the court may:

    (1) Award up to three (3) times the actual damages to a prevailing employee or prospective employee;

    (2) Award court costs to a prevailing employee or prospective employee;

    (3) Afford injunctive relief against any employer who commits or proposes to commit a violation of this chapter.

    (c) Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to affect any other provisions of this title.

    Rules:

    Sec. 5.0. Smoking outside course of employment; Prohibited discrimination.

    5.1. Nonretaliation. No person or employer shall discharge, refuse to hire or in any manner retaliate against an employee, applicant for employment or customer because that employee, applicant or customer exercises any rights afforded by the Act or these Regulations, or reports or attempts to prosecute a violation of the Act or these Regulations.

    5.2. Prohibited Condition of Employment: Smoking by Employees Outside Course of Employment. No employer or agent of any employer shall require, as a condition of employment, that any employee or prospective employee refrain from smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of his or her employment, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his or her compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment for smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of his or her employment. Provided, however, that any employer that is a nonprofit organization, which as one of its primary purposes or objectives discourages the use of tobacco products by the general public, shall be exempt from the provisions of this section.

    Sec. 6.0. Enforcement of violations.

    6.1. Enforcement.

    (a) The Department, local fire department, or their designees shall, while an establishment is undergoing otherwise mandated inspections, inspect for compliance with the Act and these Regulations, and shall notify the Department in writing of any violations therein.

    (b) An owner, manager, operator, or employee of an establishment regulated by the Act or these Regulations shall inform persons violating the Act or these Regulations of the appropriate provisions thereof.

    6.2. Complaints. Any person who desires to register a complaint citing a violation of the Act or these Regulations shall submit a written and signed letter of complaint to the Department. All complaints shall be directed to:

    Rhode Island Department of Health Office of Environmental Health Risk Assessment
    3 Capitol Hill-Room 201
    Providence, RI 02908-5097
    Phone: (401) 222-3424

    6.3. The Department, having received a written and signed letter of complaint citing a violation of the Act or these Regulations, shall take one of the following enforcement actions:

    (a) Serve a written notice to comply to an employer or person responsible for administration of a facility subject to the Act and these Regulations, with a copy of the notice to the complaining individual, requiring the employer or person responsible for administration of a facility subject to the Act or these Regulations to correct immediately any violation or section of the Act or these Regulations.

    (b) Upon receiving a second complaint at the Department for the same or continued violation by the same employer or person responsible for administration of a facility subject to the Act or these Regulations, the complaint shall be resolved by notifying the city or town solicitor, having jurisdiction over the licensed holder, to initiate, without delay, an action for injunction to enforce the provisions of the Act, to cause the correction of such violation or section, and for assessment and recovery of a civil penalty for such violation.

    6.4. In addition to the remedies provided by the provisions of this section, the Department, aggrieved by the failure of the owner, operator, manager or other person in control of a public place or place of employment to comply with the provisions of the Act or these Regulations, may apply for injunctive relief to enforce those provisions in any court of competent jurisdiction.

    6.5. Violation and Penalties. An employer who violates the Act or these Regulations shall be liable for a civil penalty as follows:

    (a) A penalty of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for the first violation;

    (b) A penalty of five hundred dollars ($500) for the second violation;

    (c) A penalty of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the third and subsequent violations; which shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought by the city or town solicitor, having jurisdiction over the licensed holder, in the city or town municipal court or any court of competent jurisdiction. Each day the violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as a separate offense. One-half (1/2) of any penalty assessed and recovered in an action brought pursuant to this subsection shall be transferred to the municipality in which the civil action originated and the other one-half (1/2) of any penalty assessed and recovered shall be transferred to the General Fund.

    (d) In any civil action alleging a violation of Section 23-20.10-14 of the Act or Section 5.0 of these Regulations, the Court may:

    (1) Award up to three (3) times the actual damages to a prevailing employee or prospective employee;

    (2) Award court costs to a prevailing employee or prospective employee;

    (3) Afford injunctive relief against any employer who commits or proposes to commit a violation of the Act or these Regulations.

    6.6. Any fines owed under the Act or these Regulations shall be paid within thirty (30) days of judgment entered. Failure to pay within thirty (30) days will result in the doubling of the penalty.

    Sec. 7.0. Severability of rules.

    7.1. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of the Act or these Regulations is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, that portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision and this holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the Act or these Regulations.

    7.2. Nothing contained in the Act or these Regulations shall be construed to affect any other provisions of Title 23 of the Rhode Island General Laws, as amended.


    Homeless Bill of Rights

    34-37.1-3. Bill of Rights. – No person’s rights, privileges, or access to public services may be denied or abridged solely because he or she is homeless. Such a person shall be granted the same rights and privileges as any other resident of this state. A person experiencing homelessness:
    (1) Has the right to use and move freely in public spaces, including, but not limited to, public sidewalks, public parks, public transportation and public buildings, in the same manner as any other person, and without discrimination on the basis of his or her housing status;
    (2) Has the right to equal treatment by all state and municipal agencies, without discrimination on the basis of housing status;
    (3) Has the right not to face discrimination while seeking or maintaining employment due to his or her lack of permanent mailing address, or his or her mailing address being that of a shelter or social service provider;
    (4) Has the right to emergency medical care free from discrimination based on his or her housing status;
    (5) Has the right to vote, register to vote, and receive documentation necessary to prove identity for voting without discrimination due to his or her housing status;
    (6) Has the right to protection from disclosure of his or her records and information provided to homeless shelters and service providers to state, municipal and private entities without appropriate legal authority; and the right to confidentiality of personal records and information in accordance with all limitations on disclosure established by the Federal Homeless Management Information Systems, the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and the Federal Violence Against Women Act; and
    Has the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her personal property to the same extent as personal property in a permanent residence.  (Effective 6/20/12)


    34-37-3. Definitions. -- When used in this chapter:

    (16) The term “housing status” means the status of having or not having a fixed or regular residence, including the status of living on the streets or in a homeless shelter or similar temporary residence. (Effective 6/20/12)
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