Race Discrimination Law in Florida For Employees
Serving You and The State of Florida
Discrimination in the workplace should be a thing of the past, but sadly, this problem still plagues Florida and US businesses on a daily basis. There are many reasons that you might suffer from discrimination in the workplace, but race discrimination is one of the most prevalent kinds of workplace harassment and discrimination each year. This is not only illegal, but it is a serious offense that can cause emotional distress, impact the morale of the workplace, and negatively impact the diversity of the team that works with you at your place of employment.
Discrimination in the workplace worsens morale, and it makes for a toxic work environment that is often unproductive. People who are suffering from discriminatory treatment often underperform due to stress and might be held accountable for this reduction in effective work behavior that is outside of their control. If you are experiencing race discrimination at work, you need to reach out to the team at Lopez Law Group today. We have years of experience in this kind of case and can represent you as you seek redress for these issues at your place of employment.
What is Race Discrimination?
The EEOC defines race discrimination as treating someone who is an applicant or employee of a business unfavorably because of their race or the personal characteristics associated with their race. These characteristics might be hair texture, skin color, facial features, and other defining factors that might be connected with race or the perception of race. Race should never enter into the discussion of promotion, hiring or firing, or social policies at a place of employment.
Race and color discrimination can also involve different treatment of employees due to their ethnicity or perceived ethnicity than other employees doing the same job or working in the same workplace. Discrimination can take many forms, from outright verbal or physical abuse to more subtle treatments like passing over employees for promotions or choosing to pay the employee less for the same work.
Within the EEOC’s definition of race discrimination is an explanation of harassment and the kinds of treatment that might be considered to be harassment related to race. These kinds of behaviors can be frequent or happen on a daily basis. No matter the frequency of this kind of behavior, it is illegal and cannot be allowed in the workplace.
The law does not differentiate between supervisors or peers in the workplace either. Anyone in any position in the company can be held accountable for this illegal behavior toward employees. Even clients and customers can be held accountable for this kind of behavior when they enter the workplace of the employee in question. No one on the property during business hours should act in any way that is racially biased or discriminatory per federal and Florida law.
What Are Some Examples of Race Discrimination in the Workplace?
These are some common examples of racial discrimination in the workplace, but there are many ways that this kind of treatment can be directed at an employee. These are not the only ways that inappropriate behavior can happen in the workplace surrounding race. Racial discrimination can also happen directly and indirectly. Direct discrimination is often easier to spot than indirect discrimination. In many cases, both of these tactics are used against employees in the workplace. It is rare for just one kind of discrimination to be in play when someone is being harassed or experiencing bias related to race.
Indirect discrimination happens when rules or policies that are set by an employer are designed to place specific racial or ethnic groups at a disadvantage for hiring or for promotions and job recognition. An example of this kind of discrimination might be a hiring requirement of a “native English speaker”. This precludes anyone from applying who speaks perfect English just because English might not have been their first language.
Direct discrimination happens when a person is turned down for a job or is treated poorly at a job, specifically due to their race. Statements like, “You just don’t fit in here” or “You aren’t like the people we are looking for” can sometimes be attributed to race. This kind of discrimination can also include physical and verbal threats and other kinds of abuse in the workplace. In some cases, this kind of discrimination can become racial harassment.
There are some other examples of this kind of behavior in the workplace that employees should be familiar with:
- Being passed over for promotion due to your race or your ethnic appearance
- Being told that your clothing or your hairstyle is not allowed due to company policy related to racial expression
- Being harassed, called names, or sent emails of a harassing nature related to your race
- Being excluded from meetings and discussions because of your race
- Being passed over for hiring due to your race or your possible ethnicity
- Being asked specific questions about your religion related to your race
- Being told that you cannot speak about your race or your ethnicity at work
- Unfair criticism
- Changing job standards and expectations on a daily basis related to race
- Implicit bias being used to justify decisions made related to specific employees
There are many small ways that these kinds of prejudices can be expressed at work, along with more obvious instances of racially-motivated behavior. Racial discrimination can vary from open hostility to subtle and small slights that are harder to detect at first.
What Questions Cannot be Asked During a Job Interview?
This is one of the primary areas where employers can discriminate against certain potential employees. Those who are applying for jobs in the state of Florida should be aware of these kinds of questions as they are almost always linked with potentially discriminatory practices. These questions might cross into various aspects of Title VII, but all of them are considered to be discriminatory.
- How old are you?
- Are you married? Are you single?
- Do you belong to a minority group?
- Where were you born?
- Do you plan to take any religious holidays?
- Do you have handicaps of any kind?
- Are you planning to have children?
- Will you wish to discuss ethnicity or religion at work?
- Do you identify with any specific racial group?
These kinds of questions can be linked with employers who attempt to tell staff that they cannot wear religious symbols such as the cross or the star of David. These policies might also cross over into requests not to wear traditional head coverings due to perceived issues with social policies at the company or safety policies.
While there are some instances where safety could legitimately be impacted by the choice to wear specific clothing items, these kinds of issues are rare. In most cases, traditional clothing and religious iconography cannot be limited in the workplace when they are worn as jewelry or are part of a person’s work uniform. These gray areas can be common sources of difficulty for employees, and there are many cases where a skilled lawyer can help support the rights of a person who is being told they cannot wear the clothing or symbols related to their background at their place of employment.
What Are the Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws?
There are various federal laws that prevent discrimination in the workplace of various kinds. Florida employers are required to follow these guidelines while also complying with Florida law related to the topic. The most well-known of these laws is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law stated that no employee can be discriminated against due to race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. This means that employers, peers, clients, and customers are all required to adhere to this law.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires that employers pay men and women the same wages for the same jobs. This can also be applied to race in some circumstances since it is part of the constellation of laws that are used to protect workers against discrimination in the workplace. There is also a new law that was added in 2008, called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. This law prohibits discrimination against employees due to genetic information and genetic testing results.
Does Florida Have Laws Against Racial Discrimination?
Florida does have laws against this kind of discrimination. The Florida anti-discrimination laws protect against bias based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or handicap, age, marital status, AIDS/HIV, and those with sickle cell traits.
Florida also follows federal law in that it forbids employers from retaliating against employees who have reported discrimination in the workplace. This is one of the cornerstones of this kind of law. Employees need to be able to report that they are experiencing this kind of treatment so that employers can attempt to address the concern.
If the employer does not address issues related to racial discrimination in the workplace or their solutions do not resolve the issue, it is time to seek legal counsel and support. Reaching out to a skilled legal team like the one at the Lopez Law Group can make all the difference when it comes to resolving issues at your place of employment related to racial discrimination.
What Are the Consequences of Racial Discrimination in the Workplace?
There are many issues that can plague businesses that use racial discrimination in the workplace and during the hiring process. A lack of diversity in the workplace is a common sign that racial discrimination is in play, and low morale is also commonly linked with these kinds of company policies. Profits might also decrease, and business reputation can suffer.
Everyone is probably aware of at least one Florida-area business that they have heard negative things about with regard to company policy and discrimination in the workplace. While it might seem like companies would be motivated to avoid these problems for the well-being of their business, it can be surprising just how many corporate or privately-owned entities do not consider this kind of policy a problem. Being held accountable for these behaviors can make an impact on how companies do business, but the fact remains that businesses should be aware of the law and should act in accordance with it.
What Remedies Can a Lawyer Offer?
If you have decided to sue your place of employment for racial discrimination, you need to know which kinds of remedies can be offered to you related to your case. These remedies might not apply in all cases, but these are the most common resolutions that are offered to employees to address racial discrimination issues in the workplace.
- Placement in the job that you applied for and were denied because of your race
- Back pay or benefits that you were denied due to racial discrimination
- Orders for the employer to cease all racially discriminatory practices
- Requirements that the employer never again act in a discriminatory way against employees
- Compensatory wages that are granted to cover the expenses that might have been incurred related to discriminatory acts at your place of employment
- Punitive damages that are intended to help create a sense of “punishment” for businesses that have acted in a reckless or racially-biased manner
- Compensation for attorney’s fees and other costs associated with the racial discrimination you have experienced
There are limits to what can be requested as a remedy for these kinds of acts done by an employer. The number of employees that a company has working for them can change the damages and the punitive charges that you might ask for or be awarded related to the case. Federal remedy can also be pursued through the EEOC, but there are stringent requirements that must be met for the EEOC to take action against the business.
Settlement is a more common method of seeking resolution for cases that involve the EEOC. This might not be satisfactory for some people, and a lawsuit without the involvement of the EEOC might be a more appropriate resolution for your specific situation. Residents of Florida can also file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations if there is no case opened with the EEOC.
Your lawyer will be able to advise you about the best course of action for your case. There are various limitations that can apply to your situation, which you should be aware of before you pursue each of these kinds of attempts to address the racial discrimination you have been experiencing at your place of employment. Knowing more about the various options that are open to you can have a big impact on your decisions related to handling the case.
What is the Usual Process to Hold Florida Employers Accountable for Racial Discrimination?
The first step in these cases is a notification of the company’s HR team about the racial discrimination you have experienced. Once the company has been notified of the issue, they should address it right away. If this process is not completed or the employee is told that there is nothing that can be done, it is typical to file a claim with the EEOC.
In the instance that the EEOC or the FCHR cannot support the case or cannot help you and your employer agree to a settlement, the EEOC will issue a notice-of-right-to-sue so that the employee can sue their employer directly for the actions that were wrongfully taken against them. You might have already secured legal representation during the early steps of the process of seeking to legally address the problem. However, if you have not, this is the time when you would contact a lawyer to represent you and your case.
Working with an experienced lawyer is a critical part of the process of attempting to hold your employer accountable for racially discriminatory acts. If you pick the wrong lawyer to represent your case, you will be likely to run into problems throughout the case, which can be avoided by working with a skilled legal team. The law related to these kinds of employment issues can change periodically, which means that an experienced lawyer who works on these kinds of cases often is your best bet.
Work With the Team at the Lopez Law Group
If you have suffered racial discrimination in the workplace, you need to be sure that you have the right legal team backing you as you seek to address this problem. You might have been terminated from your job and are seeking to be reinstated, or maybe you need support to handle bullying and harassment in your workplace related to your race. There are many reasons that you might require the support of a skilled racial discrimination lawyer, and we can help!
Contact us today, and we will be happy to schedule you for a consultation. We are familiar with all of the steps related to filing complaints, as well as the lawsuit process related to racial discrimination in the workplace in Florida. You can count on us to provide effective, skilled, and attentive guidance to your case involving racial discrimination.
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