Tag Archives: City of Miami

Setting the Stage for Supreme Court Review of Whether Title VII Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Three circuit courts of appeal have issued opinions on whether Title VII prohibits sexual orientation discrimination. The Second Circuit (New York, Connecticut, and Vermont) and Eleventh Circuit (Alabama, Georgia, and Florida), relying on past precedent, have held that Title VII does not prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, on April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit (Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin) issued a conflicting opinion, becoming the first circuit to hold that sexual orientation discrimination is indeed prohibited. Now, with the circuits split on this issue, the stage is set for the U.S. Supreme Court to be asked to resolve this conflict. However, recent reports opine that the employer in the Seventh Circuit case will not appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. If the employer does not appeal, another case will have to make its way through the lower courts before the divergence of opinion can take center stage at the Supreme Court.

Until the battle is fought before the Supreme Court, Florida employers should keep in mind that while Florida falls under the jurisdiction of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and thus, arguably sexual orientation discrimination is not currently prohibited by Title VII, many municipalities, including the City of Sarasota and City of Miami, have local ordinances that prohibit such discrimination. Further, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency charged with enforcing Title VII, takes the position that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation constitutes sex discrimination and is therefore prohibited.

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes
jfowler-hermes@williamsparker.com
(941) 552-2558

A Successful Challenge to Local Minimum Wage Ordinances in Florida

With efforts to raise both the federal and state minimum wage meeting lackluster success, advocates of raising the minimum wage have been focusing on effecting change at the local level. In Florida, such efforts have led to ordinances raising the minimum wage in municipalities such as the City of Miami and the City of West Palm Beach. However, on March 27, 2017, a court struck down the City of Miami’s Living Wage Ordinance, finding that it is prohibited by Florida Statute § 218.077, which proscribes a municipality from establishing a minimum wage separate from the state or federal minimum wage. In reaching its decision, the court rejected the City of Miami’s argument that Article X, § 24(f), of the Florida Constitution provides explicit authority for municipalities to enact their own wage ordinances. The City still has time to appeal the decision to Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal.

The decision will lend support to challenges to other wage ordinances in the state. In addition, this decision may cull current efforts in other municipalities to increase minimum wages.

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes
jfowler-hermes@williamsparker.com
(941) 552-2558