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Am I Protected Against Pregnancy Discrimination Under Florida Law?

Pregnant

There are many ways in which women may face employment discrimination, from unequal pay to pregnancy discrimination on the job. If you work in Florida and were terminated or demoted after your employer found out you were pregnant, what kinds of protections exist under current law? Until 2015, the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) did not expressly prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy. However, a Florida Supreme Court case, Delva v. The Continental Group, Inc., clarified that the prohibition against sex discrimination in the FCRA also included prohibition against discrimination based on pregnancy.

Based on that court ruling, the FCRA was amended to prohibit pregnancy-based discrimination at work.

Understanding the Ruling in Delva v. The Continental Group, Inc. 

Prior to the Delva ruling, the FCRA did contain a prohibition against sex discrimination at work (Florida Statutes Section 760.10). However, the statute did not expressly state that sex discrimination included any kind of discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. In this case, the court stated that there was no question as to whether the plaintiff had faced discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. Indeed, the plaintiff had been discriminated against because she was pregnant. Instead, the question was whether the sex discrimination prohibition under the FCRA also prohibited discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.

The court clarified that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended in 1978 to include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which expressly prohibited pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. However, until the ruling in the Delva case, no such express prohibition existed under Florida law. The FCRA was amended, and it now reads that it is unlawful to discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Discrimination is Illegal in Florida 

What does the amendment to the FCRA, which now includes pregnancy discrimination, actually prohibit? The FCRA employment discrimination prohibitions include but are not limited to the following:

  • Terminating or refusing to hire an employee on the basis of pregnancy;
  • Limiting, segregating, or classifying an employee in a manner that would adversely affect the employee due to pregnancy;
  • Refusing to refer a person for employment due to pregnancy;
  • Excluding an individual from a labor organization because she is pregnant;
  • Refusing an employee into an apprenticeship or training program due to pregnancy; and
  • Indicating a preference for employees who are not pregnant.

Federal Protections Against Discrimination on the Basis of Pregnancy 

The FCRA is modeled on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which we mentioned includes the PDA. The PDA makes clear that any of the following types of discrimination constitute prohibited sex discrimination under federal law:

  • Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy;
  • Discrimination on the basis of childbirth; and
  • Discrimination on the basis of medical conditions related to pregnancy and/or childbirth.

The EEOC makes clear that, under the PDA, an employer cannot discriminate on the basis of pregnancy in any aspect of employment, and an employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because she or pregnant or because of the employer’s (or its employees’) prejudices concerning pregnancy.

Seek Advice from a Florida Employment Discrimination Attorney 

If you applied for a job and were denied employment because you are pregnant, or if your employer discriminate against you due to your pregnancy, you may be able to file a claim. A Florida employment discrimination attorney can answer your questions today.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0760/Sections/0760.10.html

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* Cathleen Scott is licensed to practice in Florida only.

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