Here's a hypothetical example: Jane Smith was hired as human resources director for a government agency. Her regular duties included in part (a) dealing with discrimination issues and complaints that came up in the workplace; and, (b) monitoring the equal employment compliance of the agency's vendors and service providers. When Ms. Smith took her position, she found that there were three open and unresolved discrimination complaints and related investigations; she also found that a number of vendors and providers were out of compliance with respect to their EEO plans. She resolved one of the complaints and recommended disciplinary action; she acted to prod the vendors and providers to get into compliance with their EEO plans. In other words, she did her job.

Smith was fired from her job, and she claimed it was in retaliation for the work she'd done to resolve the discrimination complaint and to get the agency's providers and vendors into compliance. Both federal and Kentucky law prohibit retaliation against an employee that opposes discriminatory actions; put another way, both federal and Kentucky law prohibit retaliation against an employee that acts reasonably and good-faith to get discrimination in the workplace stopped and to have a discrimination-free workplace. The employer argued that Smith was just doing her job as human resources director, that she had to do something that was beyond the scope of her job duties as HR director before she could be protected against retaliation; in other words, the employer argued that Smith's actions to stop and eradicate discrimination were just part of her job and she had no protection from retaliation.

Smith would be protected from retaliation based on her reasonable, good-faith actions to oppose and, more importantly, eradicate discrimination from the workplace, notwithstanding that doing so was part of her regular job duties. This follows from the Sixth Circuit's decision in Jackson v. Genesee County Road Commission, which should be followed by Kentucky courts both state and federal. 

Bottom line: HR directors in Kentucky are protected from retaliation when they just do their job reasonably and in good-faith to eradicate and prevent discriminatory practices in their employer's workplace.