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Florida Labor & Employment Lawyer > Blog > Discrimination > Employment Lawsuit Filed By Florida Teacher Fired for Alleged Violation of the State’s Highly Controversial “Don’t Say Gay” Law

Employment Lawsuit Filed By Florida Teacher Fired for Alleged Violation of the State’s Highly Controversial “Don’t Say Gay” Law

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According to a report from NBC News, a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a teacher who was fired for an alleged violation of Florida’s so-called “don’t say gay” law. The educator purportedly used the gender neutral pronoun “Mx” to refer to themselves in the classroom. In this article, you will find a more detailed account of the lawsuit.

Background” What is Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Law? 

Florida House Bill 1557 (HB 1557) is often derisively referred to as the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law by the opponents of the law. The supporters of the law refer to it as Florida’s “parental Rights in education” law. What does the bill actually do? The original version of the law puts major restrictions on what educators can say in the classroom regarding sexual orientation and gender identity between kindergarten and third grade. In May of 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed an enhanced version of HB 1557 that expanded sexual orientation and gender identity between kindergarten and eighth grade. Beyond that, the expanded law put restrictions on health education for students between sixth grade and twelfth grade. The law has been slammed by LGBTQ rights groups nationwide.

 The Case: Teacher is Florida Terminated After Using “Mx” Pronoun for Student 

AV Vary was a high school science teacher at Florida Virtual School. The Florida Virtual School is an online institution, but it is a public school. According to allegations raised in a lawsuit, Vary was terminated for using the gender-neutral title “Mx.” in school communications. Initially, the administrators at the school accepted the use of the gender-neutral pronoun. However, following the expanded Florida law, the administration changed their tone. The school purportedly told Vary that Florida law bars it from allowing the use of the gender neutral pronoun by a teacher in the classroom.

The Teacher has Filed a Sex/Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

AV Vary—who prefers “Mx” over traditional honorifics—filed an employment discrimination complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The complaints assert discrimination based on gender identity. Notably, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ workers against sex-based discrimination, including sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination.

Broadly explained, gender identity discrimination in employment is the unfair treatment of employees based on their gender identity and/or their gender expression. It is a form of workplace  discrimination that can manifest itself in a wide range of different ways, including  hiring, firing, promotions, pay, job assignments, harassment, and other aspects of employment. Unfortunately, it  often targets transgender employees or non-binary employees.

Get Help From an Employment Litigation Attorney in Florida 

Employment law is complicated. The right advocate can help you determine the best course of action. If you are an employer or an employee with a question about Florida law, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today for a fully confidential initial consultation.

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