As the state legislature heads into its final weeks, there are not one but two so-called religious freedom bills under consideration and causing controversy. They come before the legislature as a similar bill in Arizona has captured the national spotlight. Lawmakers in that state passed a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay customers if employees claimed it was against their religion. But Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, under intense pressure by those who say the measure is discriminatory, has vetoed the bill. Lobbying efforts have already begun in Georgia; Delta Air Lines, one of the state’s largest employers and a corporate titan, has come out against the bills.
Religious issues in workplaces have been popping up in the news in recent months, prompting questions about how much faith employees can practice at work. Workplace consultant Brandon Smith said religious discrimination claims are rising in the United States—doubling over the last 15 years.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against a north Georgia county, claiming older employees were targeted during layoffs. In a statement Thursday, the commission said Fannin County violated federal laws by laying off older employees from its Road Department in November 2011.
Two ex-Fort Valley firefighters have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city implicating its former public safety director. The former firefighters say ex-Public Safety Director John Anderson used racial and abusive language toward black police and firefighters, and only hired white people to work with the department.
A metro Atlanta bank is being fined $25,000 by federal authorities who say the bank discriminated against borrowers by publishing marketing materials exclusively in Asian languages. The bank did not admit to any violations by consenting to the fine.
The Southern Poverty Law Center says federal authorities are investigating claims of discrimination against students with disabilities in Georgia public schools. The center said Thursday the investigation comes after it filed a complaint with the Department of Justice in November claiming that the Georgia Department of Education used a funding formula that encourages districts to segregate students with disabilities to receive more funding.