Discrimination - Employment Section
To file a complaint, complete an Employment Discrimination Questionnaire.
Sec. 2.02. Security of rights of residents. Municode
In order to secure protection to the residents of the county against abuses and encroachments, the county shall use its powers, whenever appropriate, to provide by ordinance or to seek remedy by civil or criminal action for the following:
(e) Protection of human rights. The county shall establish provisions, pursuant to state and federal law, for protection of human rights from discrimination based upon religion, political affiliation, race, color, age, sex, or national origin by providing and ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all people of Pinellas County.
ARTICLE II. DISCRIMINATION DIVISION 1. GENERALLY Sec. 70-36. Territory embraced. All territory within the legal boundaries of Pinellas County, Florida, including all unincorporated and incorporated areas, shall be embraced by the provisions of this article.
The Pinellas County Office of Human Rights administers Chapter 70 of the Pinellas County Code of Ordinances, which prohibits discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, or disability. These provisions cover all conditions and terms of employment including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer, pay, tenure, discipline, discharge, and privileges. This law applies to all employers located in Pinellas County with 5 or more employees, to labor organizations, and to public and private employment agencies. Employment discrimination complaints involving employers with 15 or more employees and based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (over 40)*, or disability, are also filed with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, is the federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability. For further information on the EEOC and federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, go to www.EEOC.gov.
Individuals who prevail in a complaint of employment discrimination brought under these laws may be awarded specific relief to eliminate the effects of the discriminatory action. An individual is protected in his or her right to file a complaint. Retaliation against a person for having filed a complaint of discrimination, agreeing to be a witness, or assisting in an investigation of employment discrimination is also against the law.
An employment discrimination complaint must be filed with the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights within 180 days of the date that the discrimination took place. A complaint may be initiated by writing, telephoning, or visiting the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights.
Only discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, or disability, is covered by these laws. If your complaint alleges any other type of discriminatory or unfair treatment, the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights has no jurisdiction in the matter. Furnish your full name, address, and telephone number where you can be reached, and keep the office informed should there be any change in this information as the investigation progresses. Provide as much information as possible on all parties who were involved in the alleged act of discrimination, especially the correct legal name and address of the person or organization you believe discriminated against you. Inform us of any other agency with which you have filed a complaint.
You will be asked to provide a written account of the discriminatory situation in chronological order beginning six months prior to the date of the most recent alleged discriminatory action, along with any documents that may be relevant to your complaint of discrimination. Attempt to provide the name, address, and telephone number of, or a notarized statement from, any witness to the alleged discriminatory action.
In order to address complaints quickly, the department offers a mediation service. Should both parties agree, a conference will be scheduled with a mediator prior to an investigation.
An investigator will be assigned to investigate the complaint. Following the investigation, the investigator will make a recommendation as to whether or not there is substantial evidence to believe that an act of unlawful discrimination has occurred. If the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights finds that there is no reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred, it will dismiss the complaint. If the complaint has been dual filed with EEOC, a right-to-sue letter will be issued by that agency allowing the Charging Party to take the matter to federal court.
If the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights finds cause to believe that unlawful discrimination has occurred, conciliation discussions will be encouraged in an attempt to negotiate a settlement that is satisfactory to both parties. Cases resulting in an unconciliated cause finding that have been dual filed with the EEOC will be forwarded to that agency for the issuance of a right-to-sue letter. Cases resulting in an unconciliated cause finding that are not dual filed with EEOC are referred to an Administrative Law Judge. The Administrative Law Judge then sets the case for public hearing, and may issue an order awarding actual damages, reasonable costs, and/or attorney's fees.
The Pinellas County Office of Human Rights conducts scheduled training sessions for public and private organizations upon request. These training programs address issues such as sexual harassment, diversity, and equal employment opportunity. For more information on training programs, contact the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights at (727) 464-4880 and ask for the training coordinator.
* E-mail addresses are public records under Florida law and are not exempt from public-records requirements. If you do not want your e-mail address to be subject to being released pursuant to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by telephone or in writing, via the United States Postal Service.