When a person goes to work, he or she has the right to work in an environment that is free from harassment, discrimination and unfair treatment of any kind. It can be frustrating and emotionally damaging to experience discrimination, but unfortunately, that is the reality for many LGBT workers in Florida. There are currently no protections for LGBT workers in the state, but some lawmakers are working to change that.
There is support on both sides of the aisle for passing legislation that would provide specific protections for these workers. Right now, the law protects against discrimination over factors such as a person’s gender or race but not a person’s sexual orientation or preference. Despite widespread support for passing this type of law, it appears that the fight will continue.
There are many who believe that Florida should add gay and transgender people to the state’s anti-discrimination law, but it appears that the proposed legislation will not even get a hearing at this time. The House Speaker is putting a halt on its forward momentum, stating that providing these protections could actually lead to complications for employers.
His reasoning for this is that it is impossible for an employer to tell if an employee is LGBT simply by looks alone. This is different from physical characteristics, such as gender, pregnancy or race. He believes that this could open the door for a significant increase in unnecessary and complex lawsuits.
While it looks like LGBT workers will have to continue their fight for protections in the workplace, there are signs that things are moving in the right direction. For example, both Republican and Democrat state lawmakers support this movement. Also, several major employers in the state have expressed public support for this effort, including Disney. Others say that offering these protections for LGBT workers could draw talented recruits to the state and help employers when recruiting employees.
What can employees do?
Employees do not have to stay silent on issues pertaining to workplace discrimination and unfair treatment in the workplace. If you suspect you are the victim of illegal treatment, you may find it beneficial to speak with an attorney regarding your legal options. The law provides opportunities for victims of discrimination and harassment to seek recourse through a civil claim. An assessment of your case can help you understand what options you may have.