JULY 8, 2014
Employers within Orlando’s city limits may soon need to modify their EEO policies to include a new protected class: gender identity. Today’s Orlando Sentinel reported that the Orlando City Council is considering an ordinance that would outlaw discrimination against transgender people. Employers would be prohibited from denying employment to applicants who identify themselves as members of the opposite sex or from taking an adverse employment action against employees because they identify themselves as members of the opposite sex.
The ordinance may also require employers to be sensitive to a transgender employee’s request to be referred to by the first name of their choice (similar to nicknames honored in the workplace) and as a member of the opposite sex in respect of the pronouns used in the workplace to refer to the employee. In addition, a transgender employee may not be prohibited from using the employer’s restroom facilities designated for the gender for which the transgender employee identifies.
Orlando’s Human Rights Ordinance already prohibits discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando is one of the last remaining major Florida cities that does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The City Council is expected to conduct a first hearing on the issue at its July 28th meeting.