Two Florida state representatives have introduced a bill in Tallahassee to include sexual orientation and gender identity to Florida laws prohibiting workplace discrimination. Local ordinances have been cropping up across the country to address the issue.
But, at the state level, a prior attempt to pass workplace protections in Florida prohiting sexual orientation discrimianition failed. The house bill was brought by one representative from each of the major political parties. A Florida state senator has filed a companion bill in the Senate.
In the absence of a local ordinance in areas of Florida, there is not law that necessarily grants workplace protection against discriminatory practices for members of the LGBT community. Federal laws do not expressly address workplace protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.
The recently filed house bill is known as the Competitive Workforce Act. Despite that lack of statewide or federal laws specifically defining sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under workplace anti-discrimination laws, some claimants may have other causes of action to find redress for discriminatory practices.
A worker may be able to assert a claim of sex discrimination to seek a legal remedy for LGBT discrimination in areas where a more localized law does not provide a specific cause of action. A Florida employment law lawyer can help a person in assessing individual circumstances.
The recent introduction seeking to revive debate on the Competitive Workforce Act is aimed at providing statewide protections. One of the representatives sponsoring the measure says that, "It is time for Florida to catch up with the majority of its largest cities and counties that have already created these protections," according to the Orlando Sentinel. The representative also says that introduction of the bill by Republican and Democratic co-sponsors shows that the two parties can work together on issues.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Orlando-area Rep. Saunders files anti-discrimination bill," Feb. 8, 2013