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Broward County Employment Law Blog

Florida women gather to support ratifying Equal Rights Amendment

With the amount of laws that protect gender discrimination in the workplace, you might think that protection of gender equality is part of the U.S. Constitution. But if you are a woman, there is no ratified constitutional amendment giving you equal rights under the law.

Florida advocate groups recently gathered on Women’s Equality Day, August 26, to promote Florida finally ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment. Although the U.S. Congress passed the amendment in 1972, it still has not received ratification from the required minimum of 38 states.

Research shows men are hit harder by age discrimination

While women are more likely to face harassment in the workplace, a new study shows men are more likely to face discrimination when it comes to their careers after they turn 40. The study shows more men believe their age has kept them from finding work or advancing in their current job.

Half of the men surveyed said they had witnessed age discrimination in the workplace compared to 38% of the women who took part in insurer Hiscox’s 2019 Ageism in the Workplace Study. The study's findings are significant as by 2024, workers 55 and older will represent a quarter of the nation’s workforce.

Workplace discrimination reporting mishandled by Google

Google is one the most successful and largest tech companies in the world. It is a leader in its field and industry, and it should be a leader in the way it treats its workers, but unfortunately, that may not the case. Some employees allege that the company mistreated them after they filed complaints of workplace discrimination and harassment. If this is true, it is unacceptable.

Each person has the right to report any form of discrimination or harassment they experience in a Florida workplace. Just last year, Google faced backlash over the way the company handled this issue, and people are now saying that the company has done no better over the last few months. Some even allege that the company stalled and stymied their careers in response to their reporting. If this is true, this is a form of retaliation. 

Study notes that workplace age discrimination is common

Age discrimination at the workplace is common. Such discrimination is significant in Florida because of the large numbers of elderly residents. It also prevents otherwise qualified workers from performing their jobs. Unfortunately, age discrimination does not always garner the attention of other forms of discrimination.

An Insurance Journal periodical references a study concluding that as many as 20 percent of workers over the age of 40 experience on-the-job age discrimination. Most victims never file a complaint out of fear of retaliation. Many employers also fail to provide training that might prevent this discrimination from occurring.

Florida McDonald’s owner sued over religious discrimination

Believe it or not, but McDonald’s is one of the world’s largest employers with nearly two million people working to supply hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets and more to a fast-food-hungry planet. The chain caters to all kinds of people in its more than 37,000 restaurants located in more than 100 countries.

It seems likely that the last thing McDonald’s wants is to be known as a company that discriminates on the basis of religion, but that’s the allegation made in a recent discrimination lawsuit filed against the owner of several Florida McDonald’s restaurants.

More than half of LGBTQ workers have faced or seen discrimination at work

As part of the year-long observance of the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Glassdoor conducted a 2019 LGBTQ Workplace Survey. The website asked more than 6,000 employees about the on-the-job treatment of LGBTQ workers.

The results make it clear that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual preference continues in far too many places of employment. More than half of LGBTQ employees said they have “experienced or witnessed anti-LGBTQ comments by co-workers.”

Subtle signs of sexual harassment in the workplace

Nearly two years ago, the #Metoo movement swept through the United States, leading to the downfall of several high-profile men—most notably, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Fox CEO Roger Ailes—who also were shown to be sexual abusers or sexual harassers.

Since then, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saw an 12% increase in sexual harassment charges for 2018. Yet, sexual harassment is not always so obvious as an unwanted touch or sexual advance.

Working toward LGBT anti-discrimination protections nationwide

Despite the thriving LGBT community in South Florida, the state as a whole still lacks important protections for LGBT individuals against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Same-sex marriage was only legalized in Florida due to a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. And if anti-discrimination protections are to be implemented statewide, it may again be due to federal intervention.

In the fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in what may be a landmark case. The Court ruling could finally decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

What should you do after an instance of workplace discrimination?

Even though workplace discrimination should be a thing of the past, it still comes into play time and time again. For example, age and gender discrimination remains a common problem throughout the country.

If you have reason to believe you're the victim of workplace discrimination, here are five things to do:

  • Talk to your employer: Don't hesitate to meet with the company owner or HR department, as this provides the opportunity to share your feelings and better understand what's going on. While you shouldn't expect your employer to admit anything, you're at least getting your complaint out in the open. This is also a good time to review your employee handbook.
  • Follow-up: If you alert your employer but the issue persists, follow-up to better understand what they're doing to make things right. Don't let them sweep the problem under the rug.
  • Collect evidence: Any evidence related to your claim of discrimination, no matter how small it seems, should be kept in a safe place. For example, if you have an email from a supervisor that proves discrimination, a copy of it will go a long way in helping you in the future.
  • Contact the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): This is typically a last resort, but you shouldn't hesitate to escalate your concern. The EEOC can review your case, contact your employer and do whatever it takes to protect your legal rights.
  • Review all applicable state and federal laws: Doing so will help you understand your legal rights. For example, there is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
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