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José J. Santiago

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Carlos A. Padilla

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Antonio L. García

787-759-3221

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Edgardo Barreto

787-759-3170

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PUERTO RICO LEGISLATURE APPROVES ACTS 22 AND 23 OF MAY 29, 2013 TO AMEND THE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT TO INCLUDE PROTECTION FOR SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR GENDER IDENTITY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

On May 29, 2013, Acts 22 and 23 were (PS 238 and PC 488) passed amending several statutes pertaining to employment discrimination and the protection of partners and/or couples under the Domestic Violence Act in both public and private sectors. The purposes of these statutes are to broaden the provisions under Puerto Rico’s legal system to offer full protection and equal human rights in the workplace to every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or domestic partner.

 

Up  until  now,  there  were  persons that  lacked legal  protection  against  labor  discrimination  of  private employers as well as Government agencies or offices. The courts have also closed doors on claims of discrimination by reason of sexual orientation in the workplace.

 

Due to this rule of law, employees have not been able to take their claims before the Antidiscrimination Unit (ADU) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

The statute establishes as public policy to reject discrimination by reason of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, whether public or private, reaffirming that a human being’s dignity is inviolable and that all people are equal before the law. The Act prohibits any employer from suspending, refusing to employ, dismissing or in any other manner or form harming a person due to any of the characteristics protected by the law.

 

Among others, the law amends several articles of Act No. 100 of June 30, 1959 to add sexual orientation and gender identity as a reason of discrimination in employment and prohibits an employer from discriminating against any employee or his/her employment conditions because of this.

 

Act 23 amends the Act for Prevention and Intervention with Domestic Violence to offer protection to all partners or couples regardless of their marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

All government entities and agencies, etc. are ordered by these Acts to conform their regulations to include these causes of discrimination and to prepare protocols of compliance, education and training with regards to the public policy of eradicating every kind of discrimination in employment and to include the protection afforded to all partners or couples regardless of whether they are married or not, their sexual orientation or gender identity. Private employers should also adopt measures to amend their rules, regulations, policies and protocols to include these amendments.

 

The Labor Law Group at Fiddler González & Rodríguez, P.S.C., will issue the FGR LABOR WATCH with information of legal issues and developments in areas of interest to our friends and clients. If you know anyone who would like to receive the FGR LABOR WATCH, please feel free to forward this newsletter. For more information about any matter raised in this Labor Watch, please contact your usual FGR labor lawyer or José A. Silva Cofresí at jsilva@fgrlaw.com.

©2014 FIDDLER GONZÁLEZ & RODRÍGUEZ, P.S.C. Permission is granted to view, store, print, copy or distribute the content of this newsletter for noncommercial or personal use, provided you do not alter it and you give us proper credit. The content of this newsletter is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice or advertising. In addition, the above discussion has been provided in general terms and, therefore, should not be relied upon as legal advice applicable to a specific set of facts and circumstances. Before taking legal action, consult a lawyer you trust. Although we will try to be accurate, you cannot rely on its applicability to your specific problem without consulting your lawyer. Fiddler González & Rodríguez, P.S.C. and the members of the Labor Law Group assume no responsibility to inform you of additional changes in law or any other legal issues related to matters addressed in this email of which we may become aware after the date hereof. This newsletter is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between you and our firm or any of our attorneys. If we are not already representing you, be mindful that your email communications to any of our lawyers will not be treated as privileged or confidential until you ask us to represent you, we first conduct a conflict of interest search, we agree to represent you and you sign an engagement letter from the law firm.

***IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any United States federal tax advice in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written by Fiddler González & Rodríguez, P.S.C. to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding any penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. **

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