Most people who live and work in Florida may know that there are laws in place designed to protect employees and job seekers against discrimination or harassment in the workplace. It may even be easy to take these laws for granted. However, not every person is able to rely on these laws to shield them from unfair treatment and discrimination today.
People who are gay or transgender continue to struggle for equal treatment in the workplace. As reported by CNN, there is no current federal statute in place that expressly prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Some states do have these types of laws but Florida is not one of them. A new piece of legislation titled The Equality Act has recently been introduced into both houses of Congress to address this very issue.
At the same time, the Supreme Court is set to hear three different cases dealing with this very issue. In two of the cases, employees were fired for being gay. In the third case, an employee who had come out as a transgender woman was fired for wanting to work as a woman.
The question to be reviewed is whether or not the existing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects such discrimination. That statute protects against discrimination based on sex so the high court will essentially be deciding if gender identity and sexual orientation consitute “sex” in the eyes of the Civil Rights Act. The outcome of the decision could have far-reaching implications for LGBT employees everywhere.