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Employment Discrimination

LAWS PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION

While workplace discrimination and harassment is prohibited by law, it still exists in the workplace.

There are a number of state, federal, and local laws that prohibit employers from discriminating in areas such as hiring, firing, recruitment, promotions, pay, and job assignments. If discrimination or harassment occurs based on a legally protected class, it is illegal.

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PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION

Both Florida and Federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical conditions.

If you believe you have been discriminated against or treated differently for employment-related purposes for any of these reasons, do not hesitate to call our office to discuss your potential claim.

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NON-COMPETE AGREEMENTS

With some limited exceptions, Florida law permits employers to enforce non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants against employees who sign such agreements. Therefore, it is important that you obtain legal counsel before signing any such agreement and, if you already have signed such an agreement, you should seek the advice of counsel to determine its scope.

Man touching woman's knee - sexual harassment in business office

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sexual harassment is considered a type of sex discrimination and is prohibited by Federal and Florida laws. Sexual harassment may exist where a co-employee, non-employee, or supervisor creates a severe and pervasive hostile sexual environment by making unwelcome sexual advances, requesting sexual favors, or engaging in other verbal or physical conduct.

Illegal harassment can include offensive remarks about women in general based on stereotypes, and need not be of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment may occur between the same and opposite sex and may be perpetrated by a man or by a woman. Moreover, a victim of sexual harassment need not be fired or demoted to have a claim of sexual harassment.

The time limit to file a charge of discrimination is short and, therefore, it is important to obtain legal assistance if you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment.

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WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINTS

Florida law prohibits a private employer from taking any retaliatory personnel action against an employee in certain situations, including: (1) because the employee has disclosed or has threatened to disclose to the government that an employer is engaging in an activity or has a policy or practice that violates a law, rule, or regulation; (2) because an employee has provided information to, or testified before, a governmental agency, person, or entity that is investigating, holding a hearing, or conducting an inquiry into an employer’s alleged violation of a law, rule, or regulation; or (3) because an employee has objected to, or refused to participate in the employer’s activity, policy, or practice which violates a law, rule, or regulation. Florida law also has a Whistleblower law that covers public employers and employees. Finally, under certain circumstances, Federal law may provide a basis for asserting a Whistleblower action. If you believe you have been retaliated against for any of these reasons, do not hesitate to call our office to discuss your potential claim.

AGE, RACE, SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN, & RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION

Under both Florida and Federal law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals, including employees and job applicants, for reasons including the individual’s age, race, sex, national origin or religion. Sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Employers also are prohibited from retaliating against an individual who opposes an unlawful employment practice or who participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under the Florida or Federal employment discrimination law. If you believe you have been discriminated against or retaliated against, do not hesitate to call our office to discuss your potential claim.

DISABILITIES DISCRIMINATION

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Florida law prohibit certain employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities or perceived disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA protects employees who have an impairment that substantially limits a “major life activity” such as self-care, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. The ADA also protects employees who have an impairment that substantially limits a “major bodily function” such as “functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.”  Mitigating measures other than “ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses” are not be considered in assessing whether an individual has a disability.  An impairment that is episodic or in remission is still considered a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.  So long as an employee can perform the essential job functions with a “reasonable” accommodation, then the employee is protected from discrimination under federal and some state laws.

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Equal Pay Discrimination

A number of laws protect employees from unequal pay for substantially the same work.  For example, the Equal Pay Act (EPA), Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensure that employees subject to pay discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age or disability can challenge such discriminatory pay practices.  On the state level, the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) also prohibits pay discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.  Even with all these legal protections, equal pay discrimination still exists.  If you believe you are being paid less for substantially equal work, contact a discrimination attorney at Bober & Bober, P.A. to discuss your unequal pay issue today.

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