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Broward County Employment Law Blog

LGBT workers fighting for workplace discrimination protection

A Florida employee has the right to go to his or her place of work without fearing inappropriate or unfair treatment from others. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination is still a problem for many employees, particularly for LGBT workers. To combat this problem, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have showed support for passing protections for these employees. However, it appears that these efforts will not be successful in the near future.

Despite widespread support for this legislation, the the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives is blocking it from moving forward. He says that he has concerns that adding these protections will result in a dramatic increase in litigation. One of the challenges to these protective measures is that one's sexual orientation is not physically apparent, unlike someone's gender. The speaker claims this could add complications for an employer, possibly leading to complex and unnecessary lawsuits.

Transgender state employees claim workplace discrimination

Every individual in Florida has the right to a workplace that is free from harassment and discrimination. Sometimes, workplace discrimination does not come in the form of specific words or actions but in more indirect ways, such as in the type of benefits a worker can get. Recently, two transgender state employees filed discrimination claims after their insurance denied specific types of medical treatments.

The lawsuits claim that the state's chosen health care provider acted in a discriminatory manner by blocking their efforts to get gender-affirming treatments. They claim these treatments were medically necessary, and a denial violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There are legal protections available to many types of workers, shielding them from discrimination in the workplace, but there are still many questions surrounding the legal protections available on both state and federal levels to LGBTQ workers.

Workplace discrimination and medical marijuana users

Medical marijuana is legal in Florida, but that does not mean that the men and women who rely on this type of medical support do not face complications. Lawmakers have recently proposed passing laws that would provide workplace protections for medical marijuana users. This would prevent workplace discrimination over this issue and allow victims of discrimination to seek legal recourse.

Without protections in place, it is possible that individuals who are qualified to use medical marijuana could find themselves in trouble at work because of company drug policies. This is a particular concern for people who work in places that ask workers to submit to drug testing on a regular basis. The use of cannabis for medical purposes has only been legal for a few years, and some people believe that employment laws need to catch up.

Restaurant workers say they experienced sexual harassment

Several women who work at Twin Peaks restaurant locations in South Florida says they were mistreated by both their employers and customers while on the job. The waitresses have filed a lawsuit against the company that owns and operates the restaurants, but the company claims that their allegations are baseless. The waitresses say they experienced inappropriate comments, touching and and other forms of sexual harassment on the clock.

The women who work at this restaurant have to wear revealing clothes as part of their uniform. Twin Peaks markets itself as a place that appeals to men because of the way the waitstaff dresses and its sports-bar atmosphere. Regardless of the way employees have to dress and the type of environment where a person works, each individual has the right to a workplace that is free from inappropriate comments and unwanted sexual advances.

News anchor settles workplace discrimination claim

When an employee goes to work, that person has the right to do his or her job without interference due to discrimination or harassment. Unfortunately, mistreatment due to someone's gender still happens in many types of workplaces, including news stations. One anchor from the South Florida area recently took legal action against her employer, CBS, for workplace discrimination. The parties settled the lawsuit. 

Michele Gillen is well known in the area and throughout the state for her hard-hitting journalism and investigations that have had a positive impact in the lives of many. She's also won several awards for her work. Despite her knowledge and talent as a news anchor, she was forced out of her job in 2016.

Potential bill would eliminate workplace discrimination over hair

How a person's hair looks has no bearing on one's ability to do a job and perform the duties of employment adequately. However, Florida employers can still prohibit certain types of hairstyles in the workplace. A newly proposed law could put an end to that, eliminating workplace discrimination against people who wear their hair in certain ways. 

The prohibition of certain hairstyles is often considered race-oriented discrimination. The legislation would allow people to wear their natural hair, twists, braids and dreadlocks without prohibition from the employer. The senator who proposed this bill said that employees should be able to wear their hair as they choose and that workplaces should be respectful and open to the choices of others.

Steps to take if experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace

When a Florida employee steps into the workplace, that individual has the right to be able to work and meet the requirements of the job without fear of experiencing an inappropriate situation. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Sexual harassment still happens in various types of workplaces, and many employees are unsure of what to do next.

There are state and federal laws that protect an employee's right to speak up and fight back if experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. This includes filing a lawsuit against the employer and other parties believed responsible. If a worker does experience harassment it's helpful to keep a log of what happened, when it took place and as many details as possible about the incident.

Sexual harassment in the fast food world

McDonald's restaurants are virtually everywhere in Florida and across the globe, and most people are probably familiar with the brand and the type of food found at its locations. Because of the brand's popularity, many people may also be aware of how sexual harassment affected the company at its highest levels of operations. Just this week, the CEO of the company was ousted due to an improper consensual relationship with a subordinate. 

News of the CEO's departure comes after a few years of a successful turnaround effort at the fast-food giant. Through various efforts, the company was able to improve stock prices and maintain its place in the hyper competitive world of quick food service. Despite this good news for franchisees and investors, the company would not keep him in his leadership position, even though the sexual relationship was between two consenting adults

Are you being discriminated against at work?

Workplace discrimination is illegal, but it happens in offices, hospitals, factories and schools every day. Being mistreated at work can be a daunting experience. Victims of workplace discrimination may feel vulnerable, afraid, angry or resentful. If you have been subject to discrimination at work, you know it can have a terrible effect on well-being.

As an employee, you have rights that need to be respected. Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal workplace discrimination laws and investigating violation complaints. All employees have the right to file an EEOC complaint.


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