The Arkansas Civil Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of any sensory, mental, or physical disability (AR Stat. Sec. 16-123-101 et seq.). The Act covers public and private employers with nine or more employees.
A separate law prohibits public employers from discriminating against applicants or employees who are hearing impaired, visually handicapped, or physically handicapped. Covered employers include the state, political subdivisions, public schools, and any employment supported by state funds (AR Stat. Sec. 20-14-301).
"Disability" means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life function. Employers must provide reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities unless to do so would be an undue business hardship (AR Stat. Sec. 16-123-102 (3)). Excluded from the definition of disability are:
- Compulsive gambling, kleptomania, or pyromania
- Current use of illegal drugs or psychoactive-substance-use disorders resulting from illegal use of drugs
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against an individual for opposing an unlawful discriminatory practice, making a charge, testifying, assisting, or participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing concerning practices prohibited by the Act.
Individual liability. The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that an individual supervisor may be held personally liable for retaliating against an employee in violation of the Act (Calaway v. Practice Mgmt. Servs., 2010 Ark. 432 (2010)). In reaching its conclusion, the court noted that the Act's antiretaliation provision applies to a "person" while the provision prohibiting employment ...