The below content should be reviewed in conjunction with the in-depth federal coverage of this topic provided above.

Author: Kass Harstad, Strindberg & Scholnick, LLC

Summary

  • The Idaho Human Rights Act (IHRA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of certain protected classes, including race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sex, and age. See Protected Classes under the Idaho Human Rights Act.
  • The IHRA applies to governmental agencies, regardless of the number of employees, and private employers who have at least 5 employees working in Idaho. See Covered Entities under the Idaho Human Rights Act.
  • The IHRA also recognizes that it is not a discriminatory employment practice for an employer to hire employees on the basis of certain protected classes where the protected status is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the employer's business. See Bona Fide Occupational Qualification.
  • The IHRA has very specific provisions regarding disability discrimination. For instance, it prohibits preemployment inquiries regarding disabilities, but under certain circumstances, it allows employers to require medical exams of applicants and employees. It also defines when chronic contagious diseases, alcoholism and drug addiction constitute disabilities protected by The IHRA. See Disability.
  • The IHRA has specific guidelines regarding mandatory retirement, but allows employers to observe certain seniority systems without breaking the law. See Age.
  • The IHRA is enforced by the Idaho Human Rights Commission. An employee may not bring a claim of discrimination in court until and unless he or she has gone through the Idaho Human Rights Commission (IHRC), and IHRC has strict deadlines that an individual must meet before bringing a claim of discrimination. See Enforcement of the Idaho Human Rights Act.
  • Once an employee has pursued his or her claims through IHRC, he or she may pursue her claims in either federal or Idaho state court. See Enforcement of the Idaho Human Rights Act.
  • Idaho also has a law prohibiting wage discrimination based on sex. Under that law, an employer may not pay lower wages to one sex than the other for comparable work on jobs that have comparable requirements. The law allows IHRC or the individual victim to pursue damages in state court. See Pay Discrimination Under the Wage Act.
  • Idaho also has a statute making it a crime to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex or national origin. See Civil Rights Act.