The legalization of same-sex marriage in the state of Florida is recognized by many as a profound civil rights achievement. And while states across the country consider taking similar measures to extend marriage rights to LGBT citizens, some are raising concerns over what they consider to be serious lapses in legal protections to Florida workers in the LGBT community.
Currently, 29 local governments across the state of Florida prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Many areas of the state, however, do not extend employment law protections to workers in the LGBT community. That means that many employers have the right to fire workers on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity without fear of employment litigation.
Despite the opposition of some state legislators, two state representatives have introduced a bill that would recognize gender identity and sexual orientation as a protected class. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and has already garnered the support of several prominent employers across the state. Critics of the measure argue, however, that the bill would only result in an increase in frivolous lawsuits against employers.
The bill is not the first of its kind to be presented in Florida. Others have been proposed and neglected in the past. However, supporters of the proposed legislation claim that it is a vital aspect of promoting employment in the state. Every day, workers are discriminated against on the basis of their gender and sexual identities. Anyone with questions or concerns about his or her employment rights can speak to an attorney today.
Source: Miami New Times, "Reminder: People Can Still Be Fired In Florida Simply For Being Gay,” Kyle Munzenrieder, Jan. 14, 2015