For most people, their sexual orientation is a private subject matter.
Whether you are heterosexual or homosexual, whether you are a member of the GLBT community or not, odds are that you don’t feel as though the world, much less an employer, should have the right to ask you about your sexual orientation. At least as far as an employer is concerned you would be right.
Can an employer ask people to identify their sexual orientation?
The simple answer is that legally your employer cannot ask you to identify your sexual orientation; however, there is a reason you may wish to volunteer the information.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sex.
Over the years, the courts have held that sex discrimination covers discrimination against transgender individuals as well as other members of the LGBT community.
Known as “gender discrimination” it prohibits employers, or prospective employers from discriminating, or allowing discrimination to occur in the workplace, based on an employee’s gender or sexual orientation.
In addition, the Florida Civil Rights Act, or FCRA, also prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on gender.
There is, however, one reason why you may wish to voluntarily disclose your sexual orientation to an employer.
If you are being harassed at work because of your sexual orientation, or perceived sexual orientation, you may wish to discuss the matter with Human Resources or with a supervisor.
Your employer has a legal duty to prevent harassment in the workplace; however, if your employer is unaware that there is a basis for that harassment your employer may try to claim since it was unaware of your sexual orientation it could not do anything to resolve any harassment that may have been occurring should you file a claim down the road.
In other words, if your employer does not know your sexual orientation it cannot protect you – at least that is the claim your company may try to make should you file a lawsuit down the road.
The best course of action to take if you believe you have been discriminated against in the workplace, or harassed, because of your sexual orientation, is to consult with an experienced Florida employment law attorney. Only an attorney can evaluate your specific situation and provide you with individualized advice.
Contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.