Tampa Employment Discrimination Lawyer
There are many forms of discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination can be proven in a variety of ways, including: direct evidence, circumstantial evidence, pattern or practice evidence or workplace policies that have a disparate impact on a particular group or class of individuals. Contact an employment discrimination lawyer if you believe you are a victim of workplace discrimination.
Different types of employment discrimination claims are viewed differently by courts. For example, an employee that feels that he or she was terminated from their job because of their disability has to prove several elements of their claim (Does the condition meet the definition of “disability” under the law? Can they perform the essential functions of their job with or without a reasonable accommodation?) in order to prevail.
On the other hand, the burdens of proof in a claim under the Equal Pay Act are different than other forms of discrimination. The Tampa employment discrimination lawyers at Florin Gray are available to discuss your case with you, and can help you determine if you were a victim of employment discrimination.
What Kind of Workplace Discrimination Happens in Tampa?
Federal laws against workplace discrimination apply to Florida employers, but only if those employers have 15 or more employees. State anti-discrimination laws apply to all employers with 15 or more employees. However, a few exceptions to this do exist. For example, federal age discrimination laws apply to employers with 20 or more employees, citizenship status discrimination laws apply to employers with four or more employees, and race discrimination and equal pay laws for men and women apply to all employers regardless of workforce size.
It’s important to note that no state laws are in place prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, but several local statutes throughout Florida ban these types of discrimination.
Sexual harassment is a problem in many workplaces. Sexual harassment can include any type of actions that makes an employee uncomfortable or unable to do his/her job based on his/her sex or sexual characteristics. Unwelcome sexual advances, sexually charged comments and jokes, degrading profanity, and displays of pornographic or sexual material in workspaces may all constitute sexual harassment.
When an employer makes employment-related decisions about an employee based on the employee’s sex, the employer violates federal and state anti-discrimination laws. Employees who experience sexual harassment at work should start by reporting the incident through internal channels to reach an acceptable solution. If the employer takes any adverse action against an employee for submitting a sexual harassment complaint, the employer may face retaliation charges.
Employees have the right to file complaints against their employers if they file such complaints in good faith. They also have the right to not face negative consequences for doing so, as filing a workplace discrimination complaint is a protected action.
Hostile Work Environment
Many workplace discrimination lawsuits refer to the term hostile work environment. Creating a hostile work environment for an employee based on a protected status is a violation of anti-discrimination laws. For example, if an employee has a disability that does not interfere with his or her job duties and the employee’s supervisor makes rude jokes or ridicules the employee for his or her disability, this can easily create a hostile work environment for the employee and make it difficult or impossible for the employee to complete his or her duties.
Some coworkers and supervisors may create hostile work environments unintentionally. For example, a workplace full of people who have worked together for years may have a tight rapport and joke about things that may be unacceptable in other workplaces. A new employee may not enjoy this type of atmosphere or may take offense but could potentially resolve the problem internally. If the original team was to continue making work difficult for the new employee after he or she expressed discomfort, he or she may then have grounds for a hostile work environment lawsuit.
Florida law also prohibits discrimination based on medical conditions, carrying the sickle cell trait, or having HIV or AIDS. Employees with these medical conditions should consult with an attorney as soon as possible if they feel that an employment-related decision hinged on medical status. For example, an employee receives a cancer diagnosis and his employer fires the employee shortly after notifying the employer of his diagnosis. Unless the employer had some reasonable justification for firing the employee, the employer cannot simply terminate employment based on a medical diagnosis, even if an employee with such a diagnosis may be a slight financial liability to the company for health insurance claims and required time off for cancer treatments.
Other Types of Employment Discrimination in Tampa:
- Race discrimination
- National origin
- Marital status
- Age discrimination
- Genetic information
- Wrongful termination
- Forced Resignation/Constructive Discharge
- Unfair Discipline
- Failure to Promote
- Pay Disparities (Equal Pay)
- Loss of Benefits
- Job Recruitment
- Refusing a Reasonable Accommodation for Disability
- Refusing a Reasonable Accommodation for Religion
- Dress Codes
Ultimately, a jury will try and determine the motive or intent of the person or people that were allegedly discriminating against the worker. Generally, motive or intent is established through circumstantial evidence, which is why it is important to have an employment attorney evaluate your potential legal claim. Do you believe that your employer discriminated against you or took adverse employment actions against you due to a similar situation? If so, Our Tampa employment discrimination lawyers at Florin Gray are here to help.
What Kind of Proof Do I Need to File a Discrimination Case?
To have a successful workplace discrimination claim, you will need certain types of evidence supporting your belief that an employer did not treat you fairly because of your race, gender, or other protected class. Proving discrimination takes presenting a case against your employer to prove the company more likely than not is guilty. It’s not enough to have a gut feeling; the courts will require hard evidence. The sooner you start collecting evidence of discrimination, the stronger your case will be. The following is a partial list of proof you might be able to use against a defendant:
- Direct evidence such as a statement from your employer
- Memos, notes, or letters from your employer
- Verbal comments that point to discrimination
- Circumstantial evidence such as being part of a protected class and losing a job
- Evidence of someone treating you differently because of your class
- Witness statements regarding derogatory comments
- Evidence showing an employer’s bias or favoritism
- Violation of a company’s policies
It is rare to have direct evidence of workplace discrimination. Instead, most cases rely on circumstantial evidence. Many clients come to us with the fear that they won’t have a case if it’s just their words against their employers’. Even if you don’t have any hard evidence that you were the victim of discrimination, talk to our Tampa employment discrimination lawyers. We can hire expert investigators to look into your situation and help you find and collect any available evidence. Even if other lawyers have told you that you don’t have a viable claim, contact us. Our Tampa employment discrimination attorneys may have a solution.
Can My Next Job Discriminate Against Me for Filing a Suit Against a Previous Employer?
As an employee who has already faced discrimination, whistleblowing, and retaliation, you might think your hardest times as an employee are over. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. Trying to find a different job after reporting a previous employer may prove difficult. Even though it’s technically illegal to discriminate against a job applicant for involvement in a lawsuit against a prior employer, companies may be guilty of this type of wrongdoing.
While there are rare exceptions to the rule, for the most part an employer cannot turn an applicant down just for collecting a settlement or judgment in the past. Yet an employee can find it difficult to explain the details of a past discrimination lawsuit to a new employer. If the new employer finds out about your legal history and then bases the decision not to hire you on this information, you could have an additional discrimination claim against the new employer. This, however, might not be the way you want to start a new job.
Do I Have to Disclose a Whistleblower Claim When Applying for a New Job?
No law exists on a federal or state level that makes it mandatory for job applicants to disclose a history of discrimination or other types of the lawsuit to a new prospective employer. Know that if your discrimination case went to trial, however, this information is part of the public record and could come up on a background check. If your case is settled without going to trial, it is a closed record that may come with different rules. Discuss your particular claim with the employment discrimination lawyers at Florin Gray for more information.
What Are the Most Common Employment Discrimination Lawsuits in Florida?
There are several common types of employment discrimination in Florida of which employees must be aware. Data from the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) from 2019 shows that retaliation continued to be the most frequently filed charge filed with the agency, followed by disability, race, and sex. The same types of claims have been filed in the State of Florida.
How are Employees Protected from Employment Discrimination in Florida?
Both federal and Florida law make it illegal to discriminate against employees based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, disability, and age (40 and over). The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA) is our state law prohibiting discrimination in employment. In addition to offering the protections above, the Florida law goes beyond the federal protections and prohibits discrimination based on marital status, AIDS/HIV status, and sickle cell trait.
According to the employment law attorneys at Florin Gray in Tampa, the most common Florida employment discrimination lawsuits are found in the following categories:
Discrimination. Discrimination claims typically result when employers treat an employee differently and adversely because he or she falls into a legally protected category under federal or Florida law. There are several situations when you may need a discrimination attorney from Florin Gray. For example, if you have been terminated or demoted because of your race, color, religion, disability, or marital status, you would have a potential claim and need to consult an attorney. An employer may create an environment so discriminatory and hostile that no reasonable person could continue to work in those circumstances. An employer, in that case, may be deemed to have “constructively discharged” the employee, giving rise to a discrimination claim.
Retaliation. Employers in Florida sometimes retaliate against employees that assert their right not to be discriminated against or to be paid properly. Retaliation can include many adverse actions including termination, demotion, or reduction in hours. Fortunately, both federal and Florida law prohibit employers from taking adverse actions against employees that take legally protected steps. Some examples of legally protected activity include:
- Filing a claim of discrimination;
- Participating in an investigation of a discrimination claim;
- Objecting to your employer’s failure to pay overtime; or
- Refusing to commit an illegal act, like refusing to lie during an investigation.
If you have engaged in protected activity and your employer has taken any adverse action against you, you should immediately consult an employment lawyer at Florin Gray.
Harassment. This is defined as “unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.” Harassment is illegal if you are required to endure the conduct to keep your job, or the conduct rises to the level that any reasonable person would consider hostile, abusive, or intimidating. This could include offensive conduct relating to a legally protected activity or category. It also includes offensive jokes, objects or pictures, name-calling, physical assaults, threats, and any other actions or behavior that might interfere with an individual’s work performance. Any of these unwelcome activities in a persistent manner can create an intimidating, hostile, or abusive environment. Note that the harasser can be anyone that is associated with the workplace, even contractors such as vendors or repairmen. Also, anyone may file a harassment complaint, no matter if they witnessed it or were the subject of it.
Florida law protects employees from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or marital status. You should work with an experienced employment lawyer to protect your rights. You may be entitled to recover damages, such as lost wages, lost benefits, compensation for non-economic injuries (such as mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, and emotional pain and suffering), along with punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Employment Discrimination Attorney
If an employer has discriminated against you under Florida or federal law, you should speak with an experienced employment law attorney at Florin Gray. An Florin Gray lawyer can tell you whether your claim has merit and what steps to take to protect your rights. An experienced employment discrimination lawyer may be able help you obtain compensation for your treatment and injuries. Contact an employment discrimination law attorney at Florin Gray today.
At Florin Gray, our legal team is dedicated to the pursuit of justice for the people we represent. Our law firm has more than 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in employment law matters. And we operate differently than many law firms, always putting the best interests of our clients first.