Fla.: Gov. Scott Signs Bill Banning Pregnancy Discrimination

By Rosemarie Lally Jun 9, 2015

Florida employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy under legislation signed into law May 21, 2015, by Gov. Rick Scott.

The legislation amends Florida’s Civil Rights Act (FCRA) to expand the existing protected classes of race, sex, and physical disability to include pregnancy. The measure, S.B. 982, was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives April 24 and, with Scott’s signature, will go into effect July 1, 2015.

The new law makes it unlawful for an employer to discharge or to refuse to hire any individual, or to discriminate with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment, on the basis of pregnancy. The legislation also makes it an unlawful employment practice to limit, segregate, or classify employees or applicants for employment in a way that would deprive an individual of employment opportunities or adversely affect her status as an employee on the basis of pregnancy.

Further, it is unlawful for an employment agency to fail to refer an individual for employment or for a labor organization to deny membership to an individual on the basis of pregnancy. Similarly, the law forbids employers, labor organizations, and joint labor-management committees that control apprenticeship or training programs to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy in admitting an individual into a program established to provide apprenticeship or training opportunities.

The law also prohibits discrimination against individuals in obtaining a professional or occupational license, certification, or other credential, on the basis of pregnancy. The measure also states that public accommodations may not be denied to an individual based on pregnancy.

Complaints alleging violations of the new law may be filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations within one year of the alleged violation. A Florida employee also now has the option of bringing a pregnancy discrimination claim in state court under FCRA.

Rosemarie Lally, J.D., is a freelance legal writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.

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