SCOTUS To Hear Gay, Transgender Discrimination In The Workplace

The U.S. Supreme Court this week has agreed to take up workplace discrimination with regard to deciding whether civil rights laws protecting employees covers sexual orientation or gender identity.

Federal law bans discriminating based on race, religion, sex, national origin or color.

The justices will be hearing the cases of two gay men and a transgendered individual who say they were fired because of those facts.

West Palm Beach labor and employment attorney Benny Lebedeker with the Law Firm of Reid Burman Lebedeker Xenick tells us the advice he gives his clients.

"The easiest approach for Florida businesses to take is (to tell employees) 'Look, when you are here, you are sex-LESS. We don't care if you're gay. We don't care if you're straight. We don't expect you to have sexually explicit conversations with the public who comes in here'."

Still, if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in these cases, it could have a major effect on Florida businesses that could find themselves in court.

"The employer could expect to pay the employee's attorneys fees, pay the wages that they have lost and to pay their pain and suffering."

Lebedeker says that the price tag could be extremely high for violators.

"It is not an unreasonable thing, I think, to expect a jury verdict to result in a judgement against the employer of $100,000, $200,000, $300,000, depending on the facts of each case."

The justices will hear arguments in their next term, which begins in October.

Photo: Getty Images

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