Tampa Discrimination Lawyer

Home » Employment Claims » Tampa Discrimination Lawyer

tampa discrimination lawyer and employment law book with gavel

Proudly Standing For Employees across Tampa Bay

Although it should never happen in today’s society, there are still frequent occurrences of discrimination in the workplace, which can lead to a hostile work environment. If you believe that you have been treated differently because of your race, gender, age, national origin, religion, or disability, you may have a right to recover damages from your employer.

Similarly, if you have been denied a job for any of the above reasons, you may have a cause of action against the discriminating employer. Hiring a seasoned Tampa discrimination lawyer is the best way to recover damages and seek justice. A skilled employment attorney will help you collect evidence against your employer and file a discrimination claim.

Common Types Of Employment Discrimination

Undoubtedly, workplace discrimination comes in various forms. Generally speaking, employment discrimination exists when an employee is treated differently than other employees on the basis of some personal characteristics or traits of the employee. Employment discrimination can exist where:

  • You are denied a job on the basis of a protected characteristic;
  • You are denied a promotion on the basis of a protected characteristic;
  • You receive a less favorable employment performance review because of a protected characteristic;
  • You are ridiculed or demeaned because you possess a protected characteristic;
  • You are routinely assigned more difficult or menial tasks than your peers because of a protected characteristic;
  • You are denied benefits that your peers receive because of a protected characteristic;
  • Other negative actions and/or words based on a protected characteristic.

“Protected characteristics” include those covered by federal and state laws, such as age, race, gender, ethnicity, pregnancy, religion, national origin, and/or marital status.

Several federal laws prohibit discrimination, and one major piece of Florida legislation governs employers’ actions. The federal laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal discrimination laws nationwide. EEOC laws cover most employers with at least 15 employees or, in the case of discrimination, 20 employees. They cover all types of work situations, such as:

  • Benefits
  • Harassment
  • Hiring and firing
  • Promotions
  • Training
  • Wages

Likewise, EEOC has an anti-harassment whistleblower protection policy. This means your employer cannot retaliate against you for exercising your rights under whistleblower protection laws. Retaliation includes:

  • Demoting
  • Denying overtime or promotion
  • Firing or laying off
  • Reducing pay or house

Florida Statute 760.10, part of Florida’s primary employment law, details unlawful employment practices in the state and enforcement policies.

Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is when an employer treats a job applicant or employee differently because of age. An employing authority must give equal consideration to all applicants for a position and treat all employees equally.

However, federal law only legally protects those aged 40 and older. It doesn’t protect those younger than 40, though some states have further protections for younger individuals.

Further, an employer cannot mandate a retirement age for older employees (with exceptions). For instance, public safety employees and airline pilots can (and do) have a mandated retirement.

Similar to age discrimination, disability discrimination is also illegal. The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, employment being one. Some states have further protections for persons with disabilities that require employers to make reasonable accommodations for them. Florida is not one of them.

Although Florida law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of handicap, FCRA doesn’t define handicap or disability. Also, no statutes or regulatory provisions exist for private-sector employment.

Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination (or sex discrimination) is when an employer treats a job applicant or employee differently because of their sex. It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, which equally protects men and women.

Additionally, in the 2020 case Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled that firing individuals because of their sexual orientation or transgender status violates the prohibition of sex discrimination under Title VII. The Court explained that discrimination based on homosexuality or transgender status necessarily entails sex discrimination.

Under the law, sexual harassment is also a form of gender discrimination. Therefore, an employment lawyer can assist if you’ve experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

Race Discrimination

Perhaps the most well-known form of discrimination is racial discrimination. This is when an employer treats a job applicant or employee differently because of race. Color discrimination, or treating someone in the workplace differently because of the color of their skin, is also illegal.

Race discrimination laws make harassment on the basis of race illegal, too.

Pregnancy Discrimination

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against pregnant people in all aspects of employment, which includes:

  • Assignments and promotions
  • Hiring, firing, and laying off
  • Pay and fringe benefits (leave and health insurance)
  • Training
  • Any other conditions of employment

If one is temporarily unable to perform their duties because of a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer is responsible for treating them in the same way as other temporarily disabled employees. Harassment against a pregnant person is also illegal.

Further, nursing mothers have the right to pump (express) milk in the workplace.

Ethnicity/National Origin Discrimination

Ethnicity or national origin discrimination is when an employer treats a job applicant or employee differently because of their origin, ethnicity, or accent. The law also applies to discrimination against someone because they appear to be from a particular ethnicity or have a spouse of a specific national origin.

It is illegal to harass someone in the workplace because of their ethnicity or national origin.

Arrest Record Discrimination

According to Florida law, a prior conviction is not a reason to deny one a license, permit, or certificate to engage in a particular profession (or industry). The only exception is if the conviction was a first-degree misdemeanor or felony of any degree and the crime directly relates to the profession.

For example, a convicted sex offender cannot get a teacher’s license or a job working in a school. There are also restrictions for some drug crimes.

Although it’s within employees’ rights to get a job after a conviction (and serving their sentence), it’s best to disclose any arrests or convictions if a job application asks you to do so.

Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination is when an employer treats a job applicant or employee differently because of their religious beliefs. The law also makes it illegal to discriminate against one because of their connection to a religious organization or because their spouse is of a particular religion.

It is illegal to harass someone because of their religion.

Florida Civil Rights Act

Employers are prohibited from discharging or refusing to hire any individual on account of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or marital status.

The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA) is the primary piece of legislation governing employer behavior in this state. The FCRA, along with the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employers from discharging or refusing to hire any individual on account of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or marital status. The FCRA provides the employee one year to file a charge with the Commission on Human Relations, so it is essential that the employee act quickly if he or she feels that the employer has acted in a discriminatory manner. The commission then has six months to investigate and determine whether or not the allegations are supported. The commission’s findings essentially dictate what follows as to whether or not there is a lawsuit or an administrative hearing is requested.

The damages under the FCRA include back pay, mental anguish, loss of dignity, and punitive damages. There is a cap on punitive damages of $100,000 but no cap on compensatory damages.

Proving Employment Discrimination Can Be Difficult

If you bring an employment discrimination case against your employer, you will be considered the “plaintiff” and thus be required to provide evidence that the discrimination occurred. The proof will often be circumstantial, as it is rare for an employer to admit that it engaged in employment discrimination, and oftentimes, discriminatory words and actions take place in private with few witnesses around.

Complicating matters further is the fact that your employer will have an opportunity to respond to your allegations and can offer neutral or plausible explanations for your complaints. For example, you may claim you were denied a job because you are 55 and point to the fact that the employer hired a 25-year-old as proof of age discrimination. The employer can reply that it hired the 25-year-old because of a stellar resume or a more successful interview. In other words, once you have provided sufficient evidence that makes it more believable than not that discrimination occurred, the employer has the obligation of producing evidence that tends to show that the action occurred for nondiscriminatory reasons.

Employment discrimination allegations should be referred to an experienced Tampa employment discrimination attorney for investigation as soon as possible. The longer one waits, the more time the employer has to devise a nondiscriminatory reason for its actions, and the more likely it is that important witnesses will become impossible to locate or have trouble remembering the incident. In addition, important evidence such as emails and security tapes can become irretrievably lost if one waits too long.

Our Process: What to Expect When Working With Our Tampa Discrimination Lawyer

Disclaimer: Because no two cases are the same, working with an employment lawyer at Burnett Law may look slightly different for everyone. However, here is what you can expect when working with our law firm.

First, you will come to our law office for a free consultation to discuss your case. Should both parties agree to continue with the attorney-client relationship, Burnett Law will assist with collecting evidence and filing a discrimination claim. We will provide legal advice regarding your case and how to proceed at every step. We will always be honest about possible outcomes you can expect and never promise unrealistic results. Should your case go to trial, we will continue fighting against your employer on your behalf.

Notably, a Tampa discrimination lawyer from Burnett Law can file employment claims in the State of Florida against any business, including:

  • Corporations
  • LLCs, PLLCs, and LLPs
  • Nonprofits

Thus, we are ready to handle your case upon notice. If you have another issue with your employer, we can help. For instance, we also handle personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.

Reviews From Our Tampa Clients

Sure, there are plenty of discrimination lawyers in Tampa, FL. But those at Burnett Law are simply the best. Read some reviews from our past clients to see why you should seek legal representation from our Hillsborough County law firm.

Hire a Tampa Discrimination Lawyer

If you believe you have been wrongfully discriminated against or experienced wrongful termination and want to know more about your legal options, contact Burnett Law, P.A. today for a free consultation. Call us at 813-221-5000.