Discrimination in the U.S. is strictly illegal and is guarded by the state and federal government. Discrimination occurs in the workplace more frequently when an employer makes a decision based on an employee’s or potential employee’s physical characteristics. These decisions can be related to hiring, hiring, promoting or providing certain opportunities to one employee over another based on superficial characteristics.
When it comes to Florida discrimination laws, the state has been critical in providing a forum for open discussion about discrimination. The state enacted the Human Rights Ordinance, for example, which provided that rights can not be abridged based on an individual’s sexuality. As such, the ordinance stated that an employer (or anyone)( cannot discriminate against a person based on his or her sexuality. This ordinance largely guards the rights of gays and lesbians.
Florida is also experimenting with prejudices and discrimination against people of foreign decent and against people of a certain age. As such, Florida is not only faced with some challenging cases regarding individuals’ nationalities, but they are also challenged by labor law rights for the elderly.
The Civil Rights Act of the 1960s states that employers may not discriminate against a person based on his or her race, sex, sexual orientation, age or religion. Employers may not discriminate against a person based on the persons’ language or ancestry either. However, many employers in Florida do so anyway, violating the Florida discrimination laws.
All places of work are required to post labor laws that contain information about employees’ labor law rights. These rights include information about Florida discrimination laws. The posters not only contain an outline of the law, but they also contain contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee the labor laws. If an employee believes that his or her labor laws have been violated, then the employee must file a claim with state and local agencies overseeing those laws.
While Florida’s laws regarding discrimination do not vary much from that of the federal laws and I did not find anything exceptionally unique about any of the statutes, they do take discrimination in the workforce seriously and afford workers protection from harassment and/or discrimination. In fact they have set up a state agency to handle matters related to discrimination, including educating the public, investigating allegations, and punishing offenders.
The Florida Commission on Human Relations, or FCHR is a resource for both the state and the business community alike. Their overall goal is to eliminate discrimination all together. The agency enforces both state and federal laws with regard to employment. Florida (FL) job discrimination law in the workplace deems that it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, marital status or familial status. These laws apply to employers with 15 or more employees. If you feel you have been a victim of discrimination, you should file immediately, but no later than 365 days from the date the discrimination took place or the date you learned that discriminatory action was used.
Florida (FL) Job discrimination law in the workplace gives the FCHR authority to receive and investigate complaints from any person working or seeking employment with an employer in the public and private sectors. The commission also has the authority to initiate a complaint based on reliable information that any person or business has been, or is engaged in a discriminatory practice. If it is determined by the commission that an individual has been discriminated against they may be entitled to any wages lost, actual and other compensatory damages, reinstatement, promotion, a cease and desist order and attorney fees. In the case of a civil action a complainant may be eligible for up to $100,000 in punitive damages.
Anti-discrimination laws in Florida are outlined in the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA). This is the same place you’ll find the Florida (FL) Sexual Discrimination Law in the Workplace information. The FCRA applies to employers, employment agencies, labor unions, and job training, apprenticeship and licensing organizations. It excludes organizations where employment is conditioned on organizational membership or beliefs such s religious and educational groups. Another important fact about employers is that it only applies to those employing fifteen or more employees. Some cities in Florida do have local ordinances that apply to employers with less than fifteen employees, however.
The FCRA does not specifically define who would be considered an employee under the law, so anyone who feels they are a victim of the law should file a complaint. Such discriminatory acts include firing or hiring based on gender as well as determining an individual’s pay and employment terms and conditions on the basis of gender.
Employers are allowed to treat individuals differently based on sex if a person’s gender is a genuine qualification or is reasonable necessary to complete the tasks of the position in question. In addition, employers in Florida can operate under seniority systems and payment systems where the employee is paid based on the quality or quantity of work as long as these systems do not, by nature, discriminate against anyone based on gender.
If you have a complaint, you must file it within 365 days of the alleged discriminatory act with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). To do so, you just need to contact them by phone, in writing, electronically or in person. You will need to be able to provide a list of facts surrounding your complaint when you make this contact.
The FCHR will look into the case. If they determine there is reasonable cause to believe there was a violation of FCRA, you will be able to either request an administrative hearing or file a suit in private court. You are unable to take your claim to the private courts until it has gone through the FCHR. Additionally, the FCHR works with the EEOC, so filing a complaint with the FCHR automatically starts the process with the EEOC as well.
As an employee in Florida, it’s up to your to know your rights. As an employer in Florida, it’s up to you to know your responsibilities. To help keep everyone informed, be sure to keep an updated version of the Florida Complete Labor Laws poster posted in the workplace.
The place to go for general information on employment, workforce development, labor market information, and related topics is the Agency for Workforce Innovation. This particular agency is part of the Florida Department of Labor. The State of Florida relies on federal regulations for labor issues, using the same references to the federal Workforce Investment Act that many other states do. However, I found that Florida has in place a WIA of its own – the Workforce Innovation Act of 2000.
This state-level law consolidated some agencies and was designed to streamline the process for unemployment compensation, appeals, funding, and other areas. The new law repeals the 1996 Florida regulations. Florida has statutes that specifically address age discrimination and in fact, I found a section of the law that not only prohibits such discrimination, but also aims to remedy situations when older workers find themselves disadvantaged because “rising productivity and affluence” has changed the workplace. Florida law even states that setting arbitrary age limits has “become a common practice.”
The intent of Florida law in this area is to remedy some of these problems for older workers that may have suffered when compared to younger workers in the same industry. The bottom line is that the intent of the state’s law is to promote employment of older workers based on ability. Florida law also prohibits, among other things, “fail or refuse to hire” someone because of age, limit or segregate individuals based on age, and reduce wages based on age without employee’s consent to reduced work.
Many of the guidelines are the same as, or very similar to, those in other states. Additionally, guidelines are close in language to federal law. However, Florida’s laws also specifically list employees of the state who are in the Career Service System. A recent case involving age discrimination issues was the suit filed, in federal court against Florida Gulf Coast University. With this, a 62-year-old professor claimed he was demoted because he complained about being a victim of age discrimination.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took up this suit followed by a spokesperson for the university telling Florida media that it was illegal to collect age information when you hire someone and she did not know the average age of the faculty at the university.
A hot topic in anti-discrimination law these days is sexual orientation. Athough Florida law prohibits discrimination in a number of situations and for a number of populations, there is no statewide non-discrimination law that includes protections based on sexual orientation. Florida courts have ruled against this kind of discrimination, but as of yet, there is no law specifically prohibiting it. I’m sure that gender orientation anti-discrimination laws will be addressed again soon.
Two amendments to the Civil Rights Act that did pass in 2005, however, have brought the Florida laws up-to-date with current scientific realities. The two amendments made it illegal to request or discriminate based on the results of genetic testing or HIV testing.
Besides these two amendments, Florida law prohibits discrimination in workplaces, housing, and public establishments, or membership to private clubs.
Business owners, employment agencies and labor boards may not discriminate on the basis of:
• Race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or marital status
• Retaliation against individuals who have filed complaints of discrimination
• Retaliation by a state agency against an employee who becomes a “whistle-
Employees who are discriminated against on these conditions have up to one year to file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. When discrimination is determined, an employee may receive lost wages, actual and other compensatory damages, promotion, reinstatement, cease and desist order, attorney’s fees and (in civil action only) punitive damages up to $100,000.
Employers must post the Florida anti-discrimination policy in a visible area of their business. These laws along with all the state and federal alws can be found on the Florida Complete Labor Law poster.