Florida business owners and employers have a lot of information to keep straight when working with their employees and generally conducting business endeavors. When it comes to their workers, employers must ensure that they follow applicable employment laws and do not inadvertently or purposefully violate the law by mistreating workers. Discrimination is a serious issue that most employers understand to an extent, but it is also important that they understand associational discrimination.
Associational discrimination occurs when a supervisor, manager, employer or other similar party discriminates against a person for his or her association with a member of a protected class. For example, if a white worker is associated with a worker of a difference race and is treated less favorably because of that association, the white worker may be facing associational discrimination. This could happen with workers associated with others who have disabilities, are of a different religion or different gender, or are otherwise protected under anti-discrimination laws.
When it comes to what type of connection counts as an association, the following relationship types could apply:
- Social relationship or friendship
- Family relationship
- Business relationship
- Romantic relationship
Though an employer may not intentionally commit associational discrimination, it is possible that a worker could see any adverse treatment they face as this type of mistreatment. In some cases, Florida workers may take legal action against their employer if they believe this type of wrongdoing has occurred. If this happened, employers would likely need to defend against the allegations, and fully understanding associational relationships, how they could affect the workplace and ways to prevent discriminatory actions may be necessary.