Proven Orlando Employment Discrimination Attorneys Ready To Help You
Discrimination in the workplace occurs in a variety of ways. If an employer terminated you from your position, demoted you, or denied your promotion based on your race, gender, disability or pregnancy, you may have the right to challenge your employer’s actions. The Orlando employment discrimination lawyers of Wilson McCoy, P.A., have over 60 years of combined experience fighting for the rights of employees who have faced discrimination, harassment, or retaliation by their employer. Our firm will work with you to help expedite a resolution and potentially settle your matter. If a presuit settlement is unsuccessful, our Orlando employment discrimination attorneys have the skill and experience necessary to passionately advocate your matter before a judge and/or jury.
How Employment Discrimination Claims Work in Florida
“Employment discrimination” means treating a person differently from other people because of their membership in a particular group. The Florida Civil Rights Act, for example, protects workers in Florida from employment discrimination based on:
- race or skin color;
- national origin;
- religious beliefs or practices;
- marital status;
- AIDS/HIV status; and
- sickle cell trait.
Federal civil rights legislation offers additional protections, including protections against discrimination based on all of the foregoing characteristics plus citizenship status and genetic information. Not all of these protections are as absolute as they may seem at first glance. For example, it is legal (and in some cases even required) to discriminate based on immigration status, and it is not against state or federal law to discriminate on the basis of religious belief when hiring a pastor for a church.
Jurisdiction Rules: Which Law Applies?
Federal employment discrimination law applies to companies with a minimum of 15 employees, except for:
- age discrimination claims (federal law only applies to companies with a minimum of 20 employees);
- discrimination based on citizenship status (federal law applies if the employer has a minimum of four employees); and
- equal pay for men and women (federal law applies to companies of all sizes).
Florida state employment discrimination law applies to companies with a minimum of 15 employees. If both federal and state laws apply, but contradict each other on a particular point, federal law is supreme. In some cases, other laws, such as county ordinances, may protect you if state or federal employment discrimination laws do not apply because of the size of your employer.
Filing a Federal or State Employment Discrimination Claim
The Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) enforces state employment discrimination law, while the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal employment discrimination law. Since these two agencies cooperate with each other, you might need to file only a single charge, even if you have claims under both state and federal law.
Missing a deadline can be fatal to your claim. If you seek a remedy under Florida employment law, you must file your claim with the FCHR, or cross-file with the EEOC, within one year of the date that the discrimination occurred. If your claim is based on federal law, you must file within 300 days of the date that the discrimination occurred. Determining the deadline can get tricky if, for example, you are alleging a pattern of discrimination that took place over a long period. To learn more, discuss with our Orlando employment discrimination lawyers.
If your employer fires you, your life can quickly change. Your emotions can be difficult to process, especially if you do not understand why you were terminated. If lingering questions persist, you may want to speak to an Orlando wrongful termination attorney to determine if you have a case. Florida is an “at-will” work state. This means that employers can fire employees for any reason or no reason at all. That limits the number of bases upon which you can claim that your employer illegally fired you. But the “at-will” nature of work in Florida does not preclude wrongful termination cases completely. If your employer violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or any labor law designed for your protection, then you may have a case.
Other Reasons That May Apply
Employers cannot terminate employees for retaliatory purposes either. For instance, your employer cannot retaliate against you for:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim;
- Reporting or objecting to workplace discrimination;
- Demanding wages or overtime owed;
- Taking time off for disability, or medical conditions; or
- Blowing the whistle on illegal practices.
If you think you were let go due to any of these reasons, it is time to discuss your legal options with our Orlando employment discrimination lawyers.
Let Our Orlando Employment Discrimination Attorneys Fight for You
If you feel you have been discriminated against in the workplace by an employer, supervisor or another employee, call our offices. Let our Orlando employment discrimination law firm fight for your rights! Speak with our proven and highly experienced Orlando employment discrimination lawyers today.