Florida's Laws (Or Lack Thereof) Protecting LGBTQ+ Employees

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Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), discrimination on the basis of sex is legally prohibited in the United States. Although sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in Title VII’s definition of “sex,” the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that it should still cover any acts of workplace discrimination that are based on sexual orientation and/or transgender status. In fact, multiple federal courts have held that such discrimination is a form of sex-based bigotry.

Twenty states and Washington, D.C. have already enacted laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Two other states have established laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation (only), while eleven additional states at least have laws that protect public employees from sex-based and gender-based job discrimination.

Unfortunately, Florida is not one of these states.

There is no statewide law in Florida that prohibits discrimination against people who identify at LGBTQ+. What does this mean? It means that it is legal to fire – or not even hire – someone because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ. However, while there are no statewide non-discrimination protections, several Florida cities and counties, including Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami Beach, Miami Dade County, and City of Miami, have enacted ordinances providing specific protection to workers who identify as LGBTQ. These municipalities protect individuals against discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression.

National Changes Afoot: The Supreme Court and Upcoming LGBTQ Discrimination Cases

In April 2019, the Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the federal employment discrimination law includes protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Federal Courts across the country are split on this issue, and the Trump Administration has declared that Title VII does not provide protections to LGBT individuals.

Next term, the Court will hear two cases concerning sexual discrimination, Bostock v. Clayton and Altitude v. Zarda, and one case on gender identity, R.G. & G.R v. EEOC. The issue that the Court will decide in Bostock and Altitude is whether, under Title VII, discrimination against an employee because of his/her/their sexual orientation constitutes prohibited employment discrimination “because of . . . sex.”

In R.G & G.R., the Court will determine whether Title VII prohibits discrimination against transgender individuals based on (1) their status as a transgender individual or (2) sex stereotyping under Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. Since many states are divided on these issues, the Supreme Court’s ruling will drastically change this country’s landscape regarding the rights of LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace. The Court will hear oral arguments for all three cases on Tuesday, October 8, 2019.

Free Case Evaluation with USA Employment Lawyers – Jordan Richards, PLLC

If you believe you are being discriminated against because of your race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, please contact the results-driven employment attorneys at USA Employment Lawyers today. We are committed to helping employees and businesses achieve favorable case resolutions in a variety of employment law issues.

Contact USA Employment Lawyers at (800) 483-0998 to arrange a free case evaluation.

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