Make us your home page
Instagram

PolitiFact Florida | Tampa Bay Times

Florida doesn't protect LGBT workers, but some counties and cities do

BURBANK, CA - APRIL 18:  Clay Aiken arrives at New Horizons "Havana Nights" 2015 Gala Fundraiser at Los Calamigos Ranch on April 18, 2015 in Burbank, California.  (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for New Horizons)

BURBANK, CA - APRIL 18: Clay Aiken arrives at New Horizons "Havana Nights" 2015 Gala Fundraiser at Los Calamigos Ranch on April 18, 2015 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for New Horizons)

The statement

"A gay man who survived #orlando hate crime can STILL show up to work in FL tomorrow and have his boss fire him simply because he is gay."

Singer Clay Aiken, June 12 in a posting on Twitter

The ruling

As the motive behind the deadly June 12 shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando was still being debated, singer Clay Aiken took to Twitter to characterize it as a hate crime and report that gays can be summarily fired in Florida simply because of their sexual orientation.

"A gay man who survived #orlando hate crime can STILL show up to work in FL tomorrow and have his boss fire him simply because he is gay," Aiken tweeted.

For this fact check, we will look at whether Florida really offers no job protection to gays and lesbians.

The short answer: Aiken is mostly correct when it comes to Florida as a whole, but he's wrong to suggest that there is no protection anywhere in the state.

Federal law does not protect the employment rights of the LGBT community, nor does the state of Florida.

However, thanks to city and county law, members of the LGBT community do have employment protection in some areas of Florida.

Currently, 10 counties and 19 cities, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Miami, Miami Beach, St. Augustine, Sarasota and Orlando, have passed protections for gay workers, according to Frank Penela, communications director for the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

Penela also reported that although state law doesn't specifically reference LGBT status in employment, "the Commission will accept some cases under sex-based discrimination. Allegations of gender identity/transgender discrimination, for example, can be viewed as sex discrimination."

Aiken spokesman Josh Pultz noted that bills designed to add protection for gender identity and sexual orientation died in Florida's House and Senate in 2016.

"Regardless of existing employment antidiscrimination ordinances protecting LGBT in at least 31 municipalities, covering as many as 15 counties in the state, the state does not provide such protections — leaving LGBT workers in as many as 52 of the 67 counties without any protection from being terminated because of their orientation," Pultz said in an email.

"Clay's comment stated nothing more than that a gay man in Florida can still be fired for being gay. It did not specify any certain municipality and therefore is factually accurate," he wrote.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union's website, 22 states and the District of Columbia prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The District and 19 states also ban discrimination based on gender identity. That makes Florida one of 28 states with no statewide protection against discrimination.

So Aiken's point is generally true across the state, because gays and lesbians lack protection from employment discrimination under state law and under federal law. However, 19 Florida cities often offer protection to gay workers, including the city of Orlando. Another 10 counties also offer protections.

We rate Aiken's statement Mostly True.

Florida doesn't protect LGBT workers, but some counties and cities do 06/24/16 [Last modified: Friday, June 24, 2016 4:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: Florida's jobless rate looks great — but 25 other state rates look even better

    Economic Development

    No debate here: Florida's unemployment rate continues to drop — even as more people move to Florida and enter the workforce. What's not to like?

    Who remembers the remarkable lines of hundreds of people looking for construction work in Tampa back in March of 2010 at a job fair at the Encore construction site near downtown Tampa? Now the construction industry is struggling to find skilled workers to meet building demand. [
JOHN PENDYGRAFT | TIMES]
  2. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  3. Miami woman, 74, admits to voter fraud. Does jail await, or will she go free?

    State Roundup

    MIAMI — A 74-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to filling out other people's mail-in ballots while working at Miami-Dade's elections department.

    Gladys Coego
  4. Bigger ships carry Georgia ports to record cargo volumes

    Economic Development

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Bigger ships arriving through an expanded Panama Canal pushed cargo volumes at Georgia's seaports to record levels in fiscal 2017, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday.

    The Port of Savannah moved a record 3.85 million container units in fiscal 2017, the state said, benefiting from the larger ships that can now pass through an expanded Panama Canal.
  5. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride

    Florida

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.