Race, Color, Religion, Sex/Gender & Origin Employment Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which covers employers with Fifteen (15) or more employees, protects workers from being discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of their race, color, religion, sex/gender, or national origin.

Under federal law, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any job applicant or employee because of a protected characteristic in the process of hiring, job training, compensation, promotion, termination, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Notably, federal law prohibits both intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that disproportionately exclude individuals on the basis of a protected characteristic that is not job related.

Many individual State laws, including the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA), as well as many City and County ordinances, also prohibit discrimination in the workplace on the basis of protected characteristics which sometimes are not only the same as those protected by federal law, but also other characteristics as well. For example, Florida State law prohibits discrimination because of an employee’s marital status. Similarly, in Florida, ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation are in effect in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Orange, and Leon Counties, as well as in the cities of Gulfport, Gainesville, Key West, Lake Worth, Miami Beach, Orlando, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and West Palm Beach.

Some examples of unlawful employment discrimination may include:

  • Your employer pays you less, or provides you with lesser benefits, than co-workers who are of a different race, color, religion, gender, or national origin, even though you perform similar job duties under similar working conditions;
  • An employee is terminated for allegedly violating a Company policy even though he/she has adequately performed their job duties, or had superior performance, than co-workers who are of a different race, color, religion, gender, or national origin, and engaged in similar conduct but were not disciplined in the same way;
  • A Company’s benefits program offers or provides benefits on different levels to employees who are perform the same job but who are of a different race, color, religion, gender, or national origin;
  • Employees of another race, color, religion, gender, or national origin receive promotions more frequently from a Company, or are given more opportunities to develop their careers, than you are despite you having similar experience and qualifications;
  • Your supervisor, or another management employee, instructs you that unless you provide him/her with sexual favors, your employment will be terminated – – and after you refuse, you are fired as a result of your rejection of such sexual advances; and
  • An employer with whom you have applied for a job expressly states, or acts based upon, a preference to hire members of one particular race, color, religion, gender, or national origin for a given job, even though an employee’s gender/sex is not a bona fide occupation qualification for that position.

The examples set forth above do not represent all forms of unlawful discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Our law firm has extensive experience in litigating the enforcement of employee’s rights, so if you have questions about your rights or think you may have been a victim of discrimination, contact us for a free consultation.