The Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (NFEPA) prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, marital status, or national origin (NE Rev. Stat. Sec. 48-1101 et seq.).
Effective September 10, 2021, the term “race” includes characteristics such as skin color, hair texture, and protective hairstyles. Protective hairstyles include braids, locks, and twists (NE Rev. Stat. Sec. 48-1102).
The NFEPA applies to all public employers and private employers with 15 or more employees, including employment agencies and labor unions.
The NFEPA prohibits a covered employer from making any decision regarding hiring, discharge, advancement, compensation, or any other condition of employment based on one of the protected characteristics. Discrimination in the form of harassment is prohibited; and employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who file complaints under the NFEPA or participate in the investigation or hearing of discrimination claims.
It is permissible to hire an individual based on one of the protected characteristics if that characteristic constitutes a reasonable BFOQ for the job in question. A BFOQ is a characteristic that is absolutely essential to performing the job in question. For example, being female would be a reasonable BFOQ for a job modeling women's clothing. Nebraska recognizes BFOQ exceptions to the antidiscrimination requirements for religion, sex, disability, marital status, or national origin. There is no exception for race or color as a BFOQ under the NFEPA (NE Rev. Stat. Sec. 48-1108). These exceptions are narrowly interpreted, and employers should use extreme caution in relying ...