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 with visual, hearing, or other physical disabilities. 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.An individual may not be held personally liable for retaliation following an amendment to the Act in 2017 that limits liability for retaliation to an employer only (AR Stat. Sec. 16-123-108(c)). In 2010, the Arkansas Supreme Court had ruled that an individual supervisor could be held personally liable for retaliation (Calaway v. Practice Mgmt. Servs., 2010 Ark. 432 (2010)).