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Is Florida's EEOC complaint ranking a good sign?

The year 2013 has come to a close, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has tallied up the number of complaints that were filed throughout the 12 months based on harassment and discrimination in the workplace. In total, there were about 94,000 charges recorded in the United States. When that number was broken down by state, Florida was in second place on the list.

A business that focuses on determining risk and finding compliance solutions analyzed the report a little further. The Network determined that in Florida, the largest percentage of these claims was filed on the basis of retaliation.

With 40 percent of the claims, retaliation was the most common type of complaint. Second to retaliation was the 33 percent that were filed based on race-related charges, and third on the list was complaints based on sex charges with 30 percent.

Landing in second place on a national level may not seem like good news, but the equal opportunity director for Gainesville's Office of Equal Opportunity, Cecil Howard, said that this ranking may have some silver lining.

What it shows us, he said, is that "Most people (in Florida) are aware of their rights to file complaints against employers, and certainly more are going to take advantage of that opportunity."

Howard also noted that employees in Florida have one more level of protection than many employees in other states. In Florida, laws on the local, state and federal level protect employees from workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation for complaining about either of these violations.

Whether an employee knows their rights or not, an employment law attorney can help them enforce those rights and fight for wages and benefits that may have been lost as a result of retaliation such as wrongful termination or other adverse employment actions.

Source: The Independent Florida Alligator, "Florida ranks No. 2 in workplace harassment, discrimination," Hanna Marcus, April 1, 2014

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