On May 5, 2021, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts signed legislation (LB 451) amending the state’s Fair Employment Practice Act by adding protections against employment discrimination based on race, including skin color, hair texture, and protective hairstyles, including braids, locks, and twists.
However, it is not an unlawful employment practice for an employer to enact a legitimate health and safety standard that regulates characteristics associated with race if the employer can show that:
- Without the standard, it is reasonably certain that the applicant, employee, or other substantially connected person’s health and safety will be impaired; and
- The standard is adopted for nondiscriminatory reasons, applied equally, and the employer engaged in good faith efforts to reasonably accommodate the applicant or employee.
Due to this legislation, employers should review and update their existing policies to include updated language regarding the term race.