Federal Employment Discrimination Laws prohibit the discrimination or unfair treatment of an employee or applicant based on their race, sex, natural origin, disability, or age. Florida Employment Discrimination Laws expand upon the federal laws by including marital status, HIV/AIDS diagnosis, and Sickle Cell trait. Some areas, including the city of Tampa, unincorporated Hillsborough County, Temple Terrace, and Plant City include familial status, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression as additional protected classes of people.
These laws are designed to protect employees and prospective employees from being denied workplace opportunities involving hiring, promotions, project assignments and raises. In addition, the laws are designed to protect employees from being harassed or even threatened in their work environment because of their protected classification. Hostile work environments in which an employee is subjected to crude humor, comments, or unwanted physical contact (hitting, touching, caressing, etc.) may also be a direct violation of Federal, State and local laws.
In most cases, it is the employer’s responsibility to protect their employees against discriminatory acts in the workplace. Employers are not allowed to retaliate by any means, including firing, demoting, or reducing pay because an employee filed a workplace discrimination claim. Knowingly disregarding discrimination claims, failing to put an end to such acts, or retaliating against an employee for filing a discrimination claim can place the employer at risk for legal liability.
The main purpose of an employment discrimination lawsuit is to place the victim of discrimination in the position they would have been in, with the same pay and benefits, as if the discrimination had never occurred. In addition, in certain circumstances, punitive damages may be awarded for the pain and suffering caused to the employee who was subjected to such harassment. Attorney fees or court costs may be recovered in some cases.
No one should have to work in a hostile work environment or feel that their efforts at work are not valued because of the way they look, their belief system or protected status. As your lawyers, we will strive to ensure that your rights are respected. If you are being harassed in your workplace because of your gender, race, age, or other protected class then contact our offices to begin your journey to recovery.