The Arkansas Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin (including ancestry), gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), or sensory, mental, or physical disability (AR Stat. Sec. 16-123-101 et seq.). The Act applies to employers with nine or more employees.
Retaliation. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against an individual for opposing an unlawful discriminatory practice; making a charge; or 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 discrimination applies to an "employer." Thus, an individual supervisor may be personally liable for retaliation, but not for other forms of employment discrimination.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a series of adverse actions against an employee who has engaged in protected activity can provide sufficient evidence of unlawful retaliation, despite a 6-month gap between the protected activity and the employee's layoff (Heaton v. Weitz, 534 F.3d 882 (8th Cir. 2008)). In this case, the employee complained about a coworker's racial slur. Following an investigation, the employer fired the offending employee. Subsequently, the employee who complained was subjected to a series of adverse actions that ...