Palm Beach Gardens LGBTQ Discrimination Attorney
LGBTQ rights have been a controversial subject in Florida in recent years. At the present time there is, in fact, no statewide law that specifically protects people from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. But federal law still affords strong protection in those areas. And even existing Florida laws banning sex discrimination may still offer certain protections to members of the LGBTQ community.
So if a current, former, or potential employer has mistreated you based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, you should speak with a qualified Palm Beach Gardens LBGTQ discrimination attorney to learn more about your options for taking legal action. At the Sconzo Law Office, P.A., we represent clients in a wide range of discrimination and employment law claims.
Supreme Court Extends Title VII Protections to LGBTQ Workers
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with 15 or more workers from discriminating against any employee or job applicant on the basis of sex. In 2020, the United States Supreme Court held this prohibition against sex discrimination also included discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status. As the Court put it, “discrimination based on homosexuality or transgender status necessarily entails discrimination based on sex; the first cannot happen without the second.”
For example, let’s say an employer hired an employee who presented as male at the time. That employee later presents as female. The employer decides to fire that employee because they disapprove of transgender individuals. Under the Supreme Court’s decision, that would constitute illegal sex discrimination, because the employer only fired the employee because they now identified as a woman. The same would be true of an employer who refused to hire a gay or lesbian job applicant because they did not conform to the employer’s expectation of gender norms (i.e., men should only be in relationships with women.)
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued further guidance on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) discrimination under Title VII. The EEOC said that the same laws that forbid sexual harassment in the workplace also cover SOGI harassment. This means an employer can be held liable if an employee is subject to offensive and derogatory remarks about their sexual orientation, transgender status, or gender transition.
For example, if an employer intentionally and repeatedly refuses to use an employee’s post-transition name and preferred pronouns, that can constitute sexual harassment. At the same time, isolated acts of misgendering or even teasing do not necessarily fall within Title VII’s definition of harassment. But an employer who intentionally acts to prevent an employee from presenting under their preferred gender can be held liable for discrimination.
Contact the Sconzo Law Office Today
The status of LGBTQ rights in Florida remains in a state of uncertainty. But there are still steps you can take to combat illegal discrimination in the workplace. Our Palm Beach Garden LGBTQ discrimination attorneys are here to help. If you have any questions or concerns about your legal rights, contact the Sconzo Law Office, P.A., today to schedule a complimentary consultation.