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Kentucky Employee Rights

Kentucky Employee Rights


Guide to Kentucky Employee Rights

If you are working as an employee in the state of Kentucky, federal and state labor laws give you a wide range of rights in the workplace.  Understanding your Kentucky employee rights is important if you want to make sure that your employer is giving you the wages and breaks you are entitled to.  This guide explains some of your Kentucky employee rights according to federal and state law.

Minimum Wage

For most employees, Kentucky employee rights require a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, with overtime paid at a rate of one and a half times that.  However, workers under 20 may be paid a training wage of just $4.15 an hour for the first 90 days of their employment without violating Kentucky employment rights.  While tipped workers only make $2.13 an hour, employers are required to make up the difference if the employee makes less than $7.25 an hour for total hours worked.  If your employer does not bring your pay to at least $7.25 an hour, if you are a tipped employee, they are committing a violation of your Kentucky employee rights.


Kentucky employee rights only require breaks for employees who are minors.  Minors must be given an unpaid meal break of 30 minutes in the middle of their shift.  However, if you are an adult employee, you have no Kentucky employment rights regarding meal breaks or rest breaks.  Federal and state policies require workplaces to give employees reasonable bathroom breaks, and you may be able to seek assistance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration if your employer is violating your Kentucky employee rights to bathroom breaks.

Recent changes to federal law mean that breastfeeding employees are now entitled to unpaid breaks for breastfeeding at reasonable intervals.  You may wish to consult an attorney who has experience with Kentucky employee rights law if your employer is violating this right.

Paid Time Off

Kentucky employee rights do not include any rights to paid time off, including vacation or sick leave.  The only time an employee may have Kentucky employee rights to paid time off is when an employment contract or union contract requires it.

Personnel Files

While state employees have Kentucky employee rights to view their personnel files, private employees are not given the same rights.  If you are an employee of a private company, you have no Kentucky employee rights to view your file and it may be kept secret from you at your company's discretion.

Discrimination and Harassment

Kentucky employee rights include the right not to be discriminated against for your race, sex, national origin, ethnicity, religion, or disability.  Currently, there are no Kentucky employee rights applying to discrimination against people for their sexual orientation.  Harassment for one of these reasons is also prohibited.  If your employer has created a hostile work environment for you, you may be able to sue and seek injunctive relief plus damages.  Talking to an employment lawyer with experience defending people's Kentucky employee rights may help you understand your range of legal options.