Frequently Asked Questions

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Please review the most frequently asked questions below.


What is a "right to work" state?
In Florida, under our state constitution, we are granted the "right to work." This means you have the right to join a union and be free from retalitory action for joining a union or participating in organizing a union.

How is a "right to work" state different from a state that has "employment at-will?"
Employment at-will means that an employer does not have to give an employee a reason for his or her termination. In fact, under employment at-will, an employer can terminate an employee at any time, for any reason, with or without notice, whether the reason is a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all.

Can you file a charge of discrimination on my behalf?
Yes. If you are not comfortable contacting one of the three (3) administrative agencies, I can prepare the charge of discrimination on your behalf.

My employer terminated me from my job without giving me a reason. Does the employer have to give a reason?
Your employer does not have to give a reason for your termination. For more information, please see the link for Wrongful Termination.


What is discrimination?
Discrimination is treating employees different because of an immutable characteristic. Immutable characteristics are based on things an employee cannot change, including an employee's age, sex, race, relgion, national origin, disability, and genetic information. The employee would be protected based on the characteristics, what the law calls a "protected class." The protection is based on federal law. Under Florida law, you would also be protected for these characteristics as well as for marital status and HIV status.

Are all employers covered by these laws?
No. The law protects small businesses. This means if your employer has less than 15 employees for claims based on gender, race, religion, national origin, genetic information or disability; you will not be able to bring a claim. For age related discrimination claims, the employer must have 20 or more employees.

Are all Employers covered by these laws? For Title VII, the American with Disabilities Act, and GINA, the following employers are covered: all private employers, state and local governments, education instutions, private and public employment agencies, labor organizations, and labor management committees controlling apprenticeships and training, if the required number of employees are employed. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act covers allprivate employers, state and local governments (including school districts), employment agencies and labor organizations. The Equal Protection Act covers virtually all employers.

I noticed when I read who was covered it did not mention federal government employers. Are federal employees not protected? Federal employees are covered by Title VII, the Age Disccrimination in Employment Act, the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act, and the Equal Pay Act. Federal employees are also protected by the sections of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which incorporates the requirements of the American with Disabilties Act. The CSRA also covers most federal agency employees with some exceptions.

I learned that there is another agency in Florida, and one in Jacksonville, as well. Do I have to file a charge of discrimiantion with each Agency? No. You do not have to file a charge with each agency. The state and local government agencies are called Fair Employment Practices (FEPA). The EEOC and the FEPA's have work-share agreements that avoid the duplication of work; but also, protects the rights of the employee under federal, state and local laws. Whichever agency the employee uses will "dual file" the charge with the other agencies. The original agency will retain the right to investigate the charge of discrimination and issue a determination.


What type of discrimination is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment claims fall under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act based on gender discrimination.

If sexual harassment is based on gender discrimination, if my employer has less than 15 employees can I still sue for sexual harassment?
Unfortunately, no. Your employer must have 15 or more employees for you to sue the employer for sexual harassment.

I am a male employee, with a female supervisor. I believe she is sexually harassing me. Can I file a sexual harassment claim?
Yes. Sexual harassment can be either a male sexually harassing a female, a female sexually harassing a male, and even same sex harassment.

What makes an environment a "Hostile Work Envorinment?"
Whenever another employee is sexually harassed to an exten that the harassment "unreasonably interfers with the employee's work performance" or if the conduct creates "an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment." Some of the things that the EEOC will look at certain factors to find whether the harassment is hostile. For example: whether the conduct was verbal or physical or both; how frequently it was repeated; whether the conduct was hostile or patently offensive; whether the alleged harasser was a co-worker or supervisor; whether others joined in perptrating the harassment; and whethere the harassment was directed at more than one individual. The EEOC and the Courts will look at the totality of the circumstances.