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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions pertaining to each of the laws we cover. However, if you have any questions, concerns, or would like any further information, please contact us.

Equal Employment

What is employment discrimination?

If you believe you have received unequal treatment by your employer based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, retaliation, disability, age or genetic information, you have the right to file a discrimination complaint. We also address employment issues related to criminal history.

What laws protect me from discrimination in the workplace?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amendeded makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, retaliation, disability, age or genetic information. The laws also make it illegal to retaliate against a person who complained about or objected to discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination or participated in an employment discrimination investigation. The laws also require that employers reasonably accommodate applicants’ and employees’ sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

Who is considered an employer under Title VII?

- Companies that have 15 or more employees are covered under federal & state laws..

- Companies with at least 6 employees within the City limits of Orlando are considered employers under local law (Chapter 57 of the Code of the City of Orlando).

Are there exemptions under Title VII?

Some employers that may be exempt from employment discrimination laws are (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • those with less than 15 employees (federal law) and are outside Orlando City Limits
  • some religious corporations, associations, societies and schools
  • Indian tribes
  • a bona-fide private membership club

For more information please contact our office.

General Coverage – Employees

If you receive a W-2 from an employer for tax reporting purposes, you are generally covered by the  laws that prohibit discrimination.
Some employees and activities not covered by employment discrimination laws are (this is not an exhaustive list) –

  • A contractual employee  is one who receives a 1099 for income tax reporting purposes; also includes independent operators, and signature bearing contracts (excludes Federal contracts)
  • Political affiliations
  • Union activities
  • Unemployment compensation
  • On-the-job injuries

How long do I have to file an employment complaint?

  • Under Chapter 57, complaints must be filed within 180 calendar days from the date the incident occurred.
  • Under Title VII, complaints must be filed within 181 and 300 calendar days from the date the incident occurred.
  • Under the Florida law if your complaint occurred within 301 to 365 calendar days, you should contact the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) at 800.342.8170.
  • Per the anti-discrimination laws, the time to file a complaint is limited. However, coordination between rules and regulations is mandated by existing laws. Regardless of the number of days remaining to file a charge, it is best to file as soon as possible. If more than one incident of discrimination occurred, the deadline usually applies to each incident.
  • Exceptions to this general rule are in the event of alleged ongoing harassment  equal pay violations.

Am I protected against retaliation from my employer?

Yes. Employment retaliation is illegal. If you feel you may have been targeted as a result of complaining or objecting to discrimination, filing a charge or participating in a discrimination investigation let us know immediately.

Fair Housing

What is housing discrimination?

Being treated unequally where you live or when trying to buy, rent, lease, sell or finance a home. Housing discrimination includes those who have been denied a reasonable accommodation or modification for a disability.
For more examples click here.

What laws protect me from housing discrimination?

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended is known as the Fair Housing Act, that prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status. Familial status includes children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18.

Chapter 57 of the code of the City of Orlando mirrors the Fair Housing Act, and includes sexual orientation and marital status as protected classes.

For information on all of the laws pertaining to Fair Housing, please click here.

What kinds of housing are covered under the Fair Housing Act

  • Condominiums
  • Duplexes
  • Multi-unit dwellings (apartments) with 4 or more units
  • Mobile homes
  • Trailer courts
  • Private homes
  • Vacant land
  • Homeless shelters
  • Shelters for victims of domestic violence
  • Group homes for the recovery of drug addicts and alcoholics
  • Seasonal bungalows
  • Hospices
  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living

Are there any exceptions in the fair housing law?

Yes, there are several exceptions which can be further explained by any one of our staff members upon request. The exceptions are as follows:

  1. The sale or rental of a single-family house (without the assistance of a real-estate agent), provided that the owner does not own more than 3 single-family houses at any one time.
  2. The sale or rental of rooms or units in a dwelling with four separate living quarters if the owner occupies one of the living quarters.
  3. The sale, rental, or occupancy of dwellings owned or operated by religious organizations, associations or societies for other than a commercial purpose to persons of the same religion.
  4. The sale or rental of housing intended for, and occupied primarily by persons 55 years of age or older; or, solely for 62 years of age or older.
  5. Private clubs not open to the public, may limit the rental or occupancy of that place of lodging or give preference to their members

 

 

 

How long do I have to file a housing complaint?

  • Contact the OHR to assist with sorting through the rules and regulations and assisting with the filing process
  • Under the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended) and Chapter 57 of the code of the City of Orlando, complaints must be filed within 365 calendar days from the date of the alleged discriminatory incident.

Public Accommodation

What is Public Accommodation?

Public Accommodation is the legal right to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place open to the public. This includes discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

These places include but are not limited to: resorts or amusements, transient hotels or motels, buffets, retail stores, theatres, motion picture houses, golf courses, bowling alleys etc.

Chapter 57 of the Code of the City of Orlando (Your local code on discrimination protection)

What is the Chapter 57 code?

Chapter 57 is a local ordinance used to enforce protection against discrimination in the city limits of Orlando. Chapter 57 is different from federal laws in that it includes protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation. In the case of employment discrimination, it allows citizens to file a charge against employers with 6 or more employees. In the case of housing discrimination, marital status is included as a protected group.

How does Chapter 57 affect Housing discrimination?

Chapter 57  mirrors the federal Fair Housing Act but is slightly different  because it includes sexual orientation  and marital status as protected groups.

How does Chapter 57 affect employment discrimination?

Chapter 57 mirrors the federal Civil Rights law (Title VII) but is slightly different from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended in that it also protects you from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

What is the Chapter 57 Review Board?

The Chapter 57 Review Board is the Civil Rights Board established to assist the Office of Human Relations in investigating discriminatory practices. It consists of seven members and is as diverse as our local community.

The purpose of this board is to advocate for the citizens of Orlando in the areas of human and civil rights, with a primary focus on equal rights and equal opportunities in employment, housing and public accommodations. It may conduct mediation and/or conciliation conferences and community forums.

For more information concerning the Board, visit the Chapter 57 Section of our website here or contact our office.

 

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