How will the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) impact employment laws? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Florida Civil Rights Act prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, age, national origin, disability etc. Notice anything missing?
Currently, there is no Federal Law or Florida State Law that prohibits discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment based on sexual orientation. So, at least in the private sector, an employee could be terminated simply because of their sexual orientation and there would be no legal recourse. This is unacceptable and employers should now be proactive and add “sexual orientation” to their current policies even before the federal or state legislatures amend Title VII or enact new laws to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination.
Employers should be proactive and voluntarily implement in-house policies that prohibit any discrimination including sexual orientation because it benefits the company to treat all employees equally and foster a forward thinking employment environment of individual acceptance.