How do Discrimination Laws Protect Employees?

August 2, 2018 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
How do Discrimination Laws Protect Employees?

Employment Discrimination is Illegal

It's hard to imagine a world without the discrimination laws that protect employees today. It was once a common practice to fire a woman for getting pregnant or paying black workers a fraction of the wages white workers made. Thankfully, our country has put discrimination laws in place to help put an end to practices like this. Unfortunately, people are still discriminated against in the workplace despite such practices being made illegal in on both federal, state, and even local levels. Discrimination can occur for a variety of reasons from race to sexual orientation with varying levels of protection depending on the basis of discrimination, how it happened, and where it happened.

Anti-Discrimination Laws That Protect Employees

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the primary law in which protection from discrimination in places of employment is given. It's original purpose was to make illegal the unequal treatment of others in the workplace based on their race, ethnicity, religion, sex, and national origin. Over time, new legislation has been passed to help expand and increase the level of protection against employment discrimination.
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 guarantees that men and women that perform the same kind of work are paid equal wages.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects people aged 40 and older from age discrimination in employment.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an amendment to Title VII and prohibits discrimination against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition that is related to pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination against qualified people with disabilities who work in the federal government;
  • Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information about an applicant, employee, or former employee
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1991 provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination

Florida Discrimination Law

These examples of employment discrimination legislation work on the federal level and are applicable to all states of this country but each state has its own individual sets of discrimination laws that further protect discriminated groups. In the state of Florida, there are laws in place that prevent the discrimination of employees and job applicants for the following reasons.
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Age
  • Disability or handicap
  • Marital Status (single, married, divorced, widowed, et.)
  • Sickle Cell Trait
In addition to the state laws, many counties and cities in Florida have their own local ordinances that prevent the discrimination of employees.

What is Employment Discrimination?

Employment Discrimination is defined as the unequal treatment of a specific employee because they have a certain trait that has no bearing on their qualifications for their job. Employment discrimination can come in a variety of forms and target a variety of specific groups. At times, employment discrimination can also be very difficult to detect. Subtle differences in treatment can go undetected or certain policies that affect different groups may not be known to an employee. This can happen for several reasons. An employer could actively be making these policies and decisions with the full intent to discriminate because of prejudice or bias. Other times the discrimination could be institutional and occur because it is ingrained into the workings of a business. Other times an employer may not even realize that they are utilizing discriminatory practices.

Discriminatory Practices Prohibited by these Laws

The following aspects of someone's employment are protected by federal discrimination laws.
  • hiring and firing
  • compensation, assignment, or classification of employees
  • transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall
  • job advertisements
  • recruitment
  • testing
  • use of company facilities
  • training and apprenticeship programs
  • fringe benefits
  • pay, retirement plans, and disability leave
  • other terms and conditions of employment
  • discriminatory practices under these laws also include
In addition to these protected areas of employment, federal discrimination law prohibits
  • retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices
  • harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, genetic information, or age.
  • employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities, or based on myths or assumptions about an individual's genetic information; and
  • denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability
  • discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group.
All of these protections must be available to employees from an employer so that they are informed of their rights. They should also be available to those who may have disabilities requiring special accomodation.

LGBT Discrimination and Other Exceptions

Discrimination works to prevent the unequal treatment of many marginalized groups in the workforce but there are still some groups and aspects that are less protected than others. Most notably LGBT individuals still are not afforded protection from employment discrimination on a federal level. Several states have laws that protect LGBT individuals from discrimination but Florida is not one of those states. Employment discrimination protection for LGBT individuals is not given by Florida state law but is from certain counties and cities.

Discrimination Law Allows for Legal Action Against Discriminating Employers

If you have experienced discrimination as an employee or as a job applicant then there a measures that discrimination law gives the discriminated the ability to take. When someone experiences discrimination at their place of work then they can file a complaint not only with their employer but with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who is in charge of enforcing federal discrimination law. If need be, legal measures can also be taken against an employer that has discriminated against an employee. Employment discrimination claims can allow an employee to see reparations for the discrimination that they faced from an employer

Seek an Experienced Florida Employment Law Attorney

If you or a loved one have been discriminated against in the workplace based on your, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, or national origin, then do not hesitate to Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about receiving a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled lawyers have the expertise that you will need to secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's offices. Please call us at 727-451-6900. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900 Florida Employment Law Attorneys


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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