Every year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives tens of thousands of complaints regarding workplace discrimination and resolves cases worth tens of millions of dollars in monetary benefits. These cases cover discrimination based on disability, race, sex, age, national origin, color, religion, equal pay issues, and the improper use of genetic information. More than half of all cases involve some element of unlawful retaliation by the employer against the employee for filing a claim, complaining to the employer, or participating in a government investigation.
James P. Tarquin, P.A., is an Ocala-based employment discrimination law firm serving clients in Citrus Country and throughout Central Florida. Our Inverness, Florida, employment law firm tackles cases under every Florida and federal employment discrimination law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), The Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and others.
Call our office if you feel you were discriminated against as a job applicant or employee on the basis of one of the protected characteristics outlined below. If you were not hired or were fired, demoted, passed over, transferred, reassigned, or unfairly disciplined because of your membership in a protected class, you have the right to a legal remedy for the harm done to you. Our experienced and dedicated Central Florida employment law attorneys can help.
Racial fears, stereotypes, and outright bigotry or racism lead some individuals in managerial or executive positions to discriminate against employees based on race; in some organizations, the problem goes well beyond the actions of any one supervisor and is institutional in nature. Both Title VII and FCRA prohibit discrimination in employment based on an individual’s race, including a mistaken belief about the individual’s racial makeup or the individual’s marriage to or association with a person of a certain race.
Race discrimination in employment includes termination and adverse employment actions based on race as well as racial segregation in the workplace or assignment to particular jobs based on race. Employers are prohibited from bowing to real or perceived discriminatory customer preferences and treating employees unfairly on that basis, and employers can also be held liable for racial harassment by creating a hostile work environment or failing to investigate and address employee complaints of a hostile environment.
National Origin Discrimination
Title VII and FCRA prohibit discrimination against employees because they were born in another country or descended from people from a particular country or region. Even people born in America can be subjected to unlawful national origin discrimination. Discriminating against an applicant or employee based on their accent and certain “English-only” rules in the workplace also violate the law against discrimination based on national origin.
While most sex/gender discrimination in the workplace is aimed at female workers, both females and males alike can be subject to myths and stereotypes about what jobs they are and are not suited for and what they can and cannot do. When men and women in the workplace are treated differently when it comes to discipline, termination or other employment decisions, sex or gender discrimination may be at play, and the discriminated worker or workers may have a claim under Title VII or FCRA. Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that Title VII claims of sex discrimination should include discrimination based on an individual’s sexual identity, extending the protections of Title VII to transgender workers and others.
Another federal law, the Equal Pay Act (EPA), requires equal pay for equal work. The EPA contains many nuances and defenses, but the Central Florida employment discrimination attorneys at James P. Tarquin, P.A., are up to the task of handling cases in this complicated area.
Yet another aspect of sex and gender discrimination in the workplace includes sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims, including same-sex harassment. Our employment discrimination lawyers take on cases where unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is so severe and pervasive that it has created a hostile work environment for employees based on their sex or gender.
A specific federal law protects certain workers from being discriminated against because of their age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employment discrimination based on age for workers who are 40 years old or older. FCRA has a similar prohibition, so employees can choose to file claims either under Florida state or federal law. Employers might harbor stereotypes or unjustified opinions about workers’ abilities based on their age, but acting on these impulses is not allowed. Employment decisions based solely on a workers’ age, or age-based harassment, are illegal. An older worker who is fired, not hired, denied a promotion or assignment because of their age likely has a legal claim for money damages against the employer.
Since 1990, the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has literally opened the doors to thousands of workers who were formerly denied a chance at employment because of a disability. The ADA prohibits discrimination in employment based on a physical or mental disability, being regarded as disabled, or having a history of a disabling condition. A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a person in the performance of one or more major life activities.
The ADA protects qualified individuals with a disability who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodation. Whether interviewing an applicant for a position or at any time during employment, the employer is required by law to engage in an interactive process with the employee to come up with a reasonable accommodation that will allow them to do their job. Reasonable accommodations can only be turned down if they would cause an unreasonable hardship on the employer.
It is clear that the ADA is intended to be read broadly to protect the worker, but cases must be litigated daily around the country to help individuals with disabilities gain or maintain employment as required by law. James P. Tarquin, P.A. can help you understand your rights under the ADA and make sure they are protected.
As with race, national origin, and sex/gender, both Title VII and Florida’s FCRA prohibit discrimination in employment because of a person’s religion or religious views. This law also requires employers to reasonably accommodate a person’s religious beliefs or practices, which might require modification of a company’s dress code, specified break periods, and accommodating an employee’s religious needs when it comes to working days and times or job assignments. Whether the issue is an employee’s affiliation with a minority organized religion or the employee’s individual sincerely held religious beliefs, the employer should be respectful, accommodate where required, and refrain from unlawful discrimination or harassment based on religion.
Call James P. Tarquin, P.A., for Employment Discrimination Claims in Central Florida
The categories above are just examples of some of the main areas of employment discrimination, but there are others as well. If you feel that you were terminated or otherwise unfairly treated because of your personal characteristics or membership in a protected class, call an experienced employment law attorney to discuss any potential claims you might have. In Central Florida, call James P. Tarquin, P.A., in Ocala at 352-401-7671 for a free consultation. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience in Florida employment law and will fight to make sure your rights are protected and vindicated, including securing employment or money damages as appropriate.