The Florida Commission of Human Relations (FCHR) formally announced that it will accept and investigate workplace discrimination complaints based upon sexual orientation and gender identity. This unprecedented move follows last years’ U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and President Biden’s recent January 20, 2021 Executive Order committing to combat sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Bostock held that the federal prohibition on discrimination “because of…sex” includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
The FCHR is the Florida state agency responsible for enforcing the state’s anti-discrimination law, the Florida Civil Rights Act, which is substantially equivalent to the federal anti-discrimination laws. Employers cannot discriminate in hiring, firing, pay, promotions, or any other term or condition of employment. Harassment based on protected class is also forbidden. Retaliation is prohibited as well if you complained about such discrimination to your employer.
If you believe that you have been harassed or discriminated against by your employer because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, including transgender status, you must file a complaint with the FCHR within 365 days of when you knew or should have known of the discriminatory act. To protect your rights under federal law, you must file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the discriminatory act. However, if you timely file your claim with the EEOC, your complaint will be considered also filed under state law.
Consult with experienced employment attorneys if you are experiencing sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination in the workplace.