Title 28
Labor and Labor Relations

Chapter 5
Fair Employment Practices

R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-5-6

§ 28-5-6. Definitions.

When used in this chapter:

(1) “Age” means anyone who is at least forty (40) years of age.

(2) “Because of sex” or “on the basis of sex” includes, but is not limited to, because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work, and nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to permit otherwise.

(3) “Commission” means the Rhode Island commission against discrimination created by this chapter.

(4) “Confidential” means to remain secret and not to be disclosed to another person or entity.

(5) “Conviction” means, for the purposes of this chapter only, any verdict or finding of guilt after a criminal trial or any plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a criminal charge.

(6) “Disability” means a disability as defined in § 42-87-1.

(7) “Discriminate” includes segregate or separate.

(8) “Employee” does not include any individual employed by his or her parents, spouse, or child, or in the domestic service of any person.

(9)(i) “Employer” includes the state and all political subdivisions of the state and any person in this state employing four (4) or more individuals, and any person acting in the interest of an employer directly or indirectly.

(ii) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to apply to a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of its religion to perform work connected with the carrying on of its activities.

(10) “Employment agency” includes any person undertaking, with or without compensation, to procure opportunities to work, or to procure, recruit, refer, or place employees.

(11) “Firefighter” means an employee the duties of whose position include work connected with the control and extinguishment of fires or the maintenance and use of firefighting apparatus and equipment, including an employee engaged in this activity who is transferred or promoted to a supervisory or administrative position.

(12) “Gender identity or expression” includes a person’s actual or perceived gender, as well as a person’s gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression; whether or not that gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s sex at birth.

(13) “Labor organization” includes any organization that exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms or conditions of employment, or of other mutual aid or protection in relation to employment.

(14) “Law enforcement officer” means an employee the duties of whose position include investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the state, including an employee engaged in such activity who is transferred or promoted to a supervisory or administrative position. For the purpose of this subdivision, “detention” includes the duties of employees assigned to guard individuals incarcerated in any penal institution.

(15) “Non-disparagement agreement” means an agreement which restricts an individual from taking any action to include, but not be limited to, speaking or publicizing information that negatively impacts the other party to the agreement to include the reputation, products, services, employees, and management of the protected party.

(16) “Person” includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, organizations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, or receivers.

(17) “Religion” includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer, union, or employment agency demonstrates that it is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s or union member’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of its business.

(18) “Sexual orientation” means having or being perceived as having an orientation for heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality.

(19) The terms, as used regarding persons with disabilities:

(i) “Auxiliary aids and services” and “reasonable accommodation” shall have the same meaning as those items are defined in § 42-87-1.1; and

(ii) “Hardship” means an “undue hardship” as defined in § 42-87-1.1.

History of Section.
P.L. 1949, ch. 2181, § 3; impl. am. P.L. 1952, ch. 2958, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 28-5-6; P.L. 1973, ch. 132, § 1; P.L. 1974, ch. 259, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 144, § 2; P.L. 1980, ch. 245, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 167, § 2; P.L. 1988, ch. 310, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 183, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 32, § 4; P.L. 1996, ch. 362, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 77, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 150, § 4; P.L. 2000, ch. 499, § 2; P.L. 2000, ch. 507, § 2; P.L. 2001, ch. 340, § 3; P.L. 2002, ch. 246, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 96, § 3; P.L. 2009, ch. 97, § 3; P.L. 2013, ch. 309, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 413, § 1; P.L. 2021, ch. 124, § 3, effective July 2, 2021; P.L. 2021, ch. 125, § 3, effective July 2, 2021; P.L. 2023, ch. 252, § 1, effective June 22, 2023.