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A close look at workplace discrimination

Every Florida employee has the right to work in an environment that is free from harassment and discriminatory treatment. Unfortunately, many employees experience different types of discrimination at work despite both state and federal laws against it. Victims are often unsure of how to react to this, and they may not speak out due to pure disbelief that it's happening or a real fear of retaliation.

If you are a victim of discrimination in your workplace, you do not have to navigate this complicated matter alone. You have the right to speak out about what you have experienced and seek to hold liable parties accountable. In some cases, those subjected to discriminatory behaviors at work could have grounds to pursue damages through a civil claim.

Types of discrimination you may experience

Discrimination can come in many different forms. A person can experience discrimination for a number of reasons, and it can come from a co-worker, employer, executive, customer or other third party. Employers are accountable for allowing, initiating or ignoring discriminatory practices at any level or in any aspect of operations. Some common types of workplace discrimination include:

  • Gender discrimination - Employers must give men and women equal treatment in the workplace, as well as equal pay for equal work.
  • LGBTQ discrimination - It is illegal to discriminate against someone at any stage in the employment process because of sexual orientation or lifestyle.
  • Pregnancy discrimination - An employer cannot use pregnancy as a factor in decisions regarding hiring, firing, promoting and more.
  • Disability discrimination - An employer must provide a disabled employee reasonable accommodations so that he or she can continue to work.
  • Religious discrimination - It is illegal to use a person's religious affiliation or lack of religious practice as a factor in any employment decision. 

Harassment is a type of discrimination, and these two behaviors often go hand-in-hand. If you believe you are a victim, you have the right to seek an end to this treatment. If you reported discrimination and your employer did nothing about it, you could have grounds for a civil claim.

The way forward 

It is not easy to face the people who discriminated against you and take steps to hold them accountable. It can be intimidating to speak out against discrimination and pursue a beneficial outcome to your situation, but you do not have to do it alone. It may be helpful for you to speak with an experienced employment law attorney regarding your options and how to move forward.

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