In the last few months, Florida health care workers have been on the front lines of fighting a very serious public health concern. In order to do their jobs, they’ve had to give up their own safety, often without the proper protective gear. Unfortunately, LGBTQ workers who are actively engaged in this very important fight also face the possibility of losing their jobs in certain states, thanks to a lack of certain protections and discrimination at work.
LGBTQ workers do not yet have federal protections at work. If these workers live in states where there are no protections at a state level, they face an elevated risk of discrimination and other types of unacceptable treatment. In some states, they can be fired, rejected for a promotion, harassed or denied important training on the basis of their sexual orientation, and there is little legal ground for recourse available to these individuals.
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering this issue, and it will make a ruling about whether these individuals should have federal protections in employment settings. Advocates point out the injustice of LGBTQ health care workers facing more risks and unfair treatment at work, especially in light of global health concerns. These are essential workers, and they deserve to work in places free from mistreatment and fear of discriminatory treatment.
Florida employees who have experienced discrimination at work because of their sexual orientation do not have to suffer in silence. Victims would be wise to explore the possibility of a civil claim, regardless of their assumptions about the protections available to them. An assessment of the individual case may reveal specific options by which victims can seek justice and a reasonable answer to their concerns.