Last year in Florida, there were nearly 6,000 employment discrimination charges filed with the EEOC. Over half (57%) were for retaliation, a third (33%) were based on disability discrimination, and 31% were for race and gender discrimination claims. (FYI: the percentages add up to over 100% because some individuals filed charges that alleged multiple statutory bases, such as race and gender).
As a result, you should be aware of the important Florida employment discrimination laws that apply to Floridians and how to protect your rights.
Federal and state law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or marital status in employment. In addition, Florida state law also prohibits discrimination based on AIDS/HIV and the sickle cell trait, among other protected characteristics.
Note that while Florida’s state law does not yet address discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, however, Federal law does. In addition, there are several cities and counties in the state that do prohibit these forms of discrimination. Almost two dozen counties prohibit discrimination in private and public employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
These eight state and federal laws are important to understand because they protect employee’s rights and offer the basis for a claim of employment discrimination:
Most federal employment discrimination statutes require you to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), or a local county/city agency responsible for accepting discrimination charges within 300 days of the discriminatory adverse employment action. State law requires you to file your charge within 365 days. These deadlines are strictly enforced. For most types of employment discrimination claims, you can only file a lawsuit after concluding the EEOC or FCRH process. If you miss the deadline, you are handing your employer a free win.
For these reasons, if you believe you have been the victim of employment discrimination, it is important to contact an experienced Florida employment discrimination lawyer as soon as possible (even if you believe the deadline has expired on your potential claim as some laws have longer filing deadlines depending on your specific situation).
Discrimination in employment can have a serious impact on workers and their families. If you believe you experienced illegal treatment at work, an experienced employment discrimination attorney can help you obtain compensation for your damages. Contact Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC for help.
At Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, our legal team is dedicated to the pursuit of justice for our clients. Our law firm has over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing victims of employment discrimination. We operate differently than many law firms and always put the best interests of our clients first. Contact us today.
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