Legal Guidance for Workplace Discrimination Issues in Florida and Alabama
If you are treated unfairly or harassed at your place of work, you may be a victim of employment discrimination. Protected characteristics under federal law include race, ethnicity, color, sex, pregnancy, age, religion, national origin, genetic information, citizenship, and disability. Employers may not take any adverse action against you based on any of these characteristics. At Milam & Milam, our diligent attorneys try to ensure that Alabama and Florida companies do not engage in employment discrimination against their workers.
Beyond federal law, each state has its own set of legal standards that apply in the workplace. For example, Florida's Civil Human Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination in connection with several of the federal protected classes, but it also prohibits discrimination on the basis of marital status, AIDS, and sickle cell trait. Federal anti-discrimination laws, except for the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), only apply to businesses with 15 or more employees. Florida's antidiscrimination laws likewise apply only to companies of that size. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that regulates workplace discrimination in Florida. You can cross-file a claim with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) or file exclusively with the FCHR.
Responding to an Adverse Employment Action
These actions include demotion, termination, unequal pay, unfair hiring practices, failure to promote qualified employees, or any inequality in granting leave, providing training, or allocating work assignments or benefits. For example, under Titles VI and VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, no employer can take an adverse employment action on the basis of race, color, or origin. Additionally, employers cannot limit, segregate, or classify employees or job applicants in a way that would adversely affect the employee's work status because of his or her race, color, or national origin.
Similarly, under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, an employer is not permitted to pay different wages to male and female workers for substantially equal work. Employees may not be hired, fired, promoted, classified, or given training or benefits on the basis of sex. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination and harassment based on religion, as well as physical or cultural traits, perception that somebody belongs to a religious group, or association with a religion.
These laws contain anti-retaliation provisions to protect employees who want to file a complaint or lawsuit against their employer. Retaliatory actions that are prohibited include terminating, demoting, altering benefits, forcing an unpaid leave of absence, harassment, or changing job assignments. If you are a victim of employment discrimination or retaliation, you may be entitled to a wide range of remedies. These can include wage recovery, job reinstatement, financial damages, injunctive relief, and the payment of your attorney's fees.
Federal and state anti-discrimination laws also prohibit employers from instituting apparently neutral employment policies that have an adverse impact on a particular class. For example, if your employer mandates that every employee work one Saturday a month, this would have a disparate impact on people who observe the Sabbath on that day. Or, if your employer mandates that no man may wear a head covering to the office, this might have a disparate impact on people who wear turbans.
Protect Your Rights With a Gulf Coast Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Increasingly, American employees spend significant numbers of hours in the workplace. It is important that this environment is fair and that hard work be rewarded, regardless of your immutable characteristics, such as race, sex, or age. Milam & Milam uses ethical strategies and clear communication to help you seek fair treatment from your employer or appropriate compensation for any damages that you have suffered as a result of discrimination or workplace harassment. Our Gulf Coast employment lawyers are based in Fairhope, Alabama on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. We have 25 years of combined experience and serve clients in Alabama and Florida cities such as Birmingham, Montgomery, and Pensacola. Contact us by calling 251-928-0191 or request a consultation through our online form.