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2 new bills in Florida legislature address LGBTQ discrimination

Two legislators, a Republican and Democrat, have each filed bills that intend to add legal protections for LGBTQ people in Florida. Currently, state law only prohibits discrimination motivated by sexual, racial or ethnic prejudices. No state-level legal protections currently exist to protect against sexual orientation discrimination in regard to housing, public lodging or employment.

The president of the Fort Myers LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce said new laws banning sexual orientation discrimination were necessary. Without the laws, members of the community could lose their jobs or be denied a place to live.

An opinion poll of Floridians found that 75% of respondents wanted LGBTQ people to have legal protection. With that level of support, one political consultant said that he did not see the issue as politically risky for either side of the aisle. He added that more Republicans might choose to support the reforms if Governor Ron DeSantis came out in favor of the bills. His office has not provided a public statement about the proposed legislation.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation could lead to a hostile work environment. Negative views might prevent someone from receiving a promotion or gaining positive work evaluations. A worker might even suffer wrongful termination for unfair reasons. However, legal counsel could help a victim make a formal complaint and seek lost pay and other damages. After evaluating the situation, the attorney might suggest ways to go forward with a discrimination complaint. Legal representation during arbitration with the employer or in court might improve the plaintiff's ability to communicate harm and collect a settlement.

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