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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Florida Expressly Prohibits Pregnancy Discrimination

Beginning July 1, 2015, a bill signed into law by Governor Scott became effective, extending the protections in the Florida Civil Rights Act to include pregnancy.

Prior to this new law, the Florida Civil Rights Act expressly prohibited discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status.  Some courts, however, had interpreted the reference to “sex” to include conditions unique to sex, such as pregnancy.  For example, in April 2014, the Florida Supreme Court ruled discrimination on the basis of pregnancy was prohibited by virtue of the existing prohibition on the basis of sex, noting that pregnancy is unique to one sex.  This ruling settled any doubt as to whether Florida law protected pregnant women from employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.  By enacting this new law, Florida has now formally codified the body of cases that previously recognized this protection for pregnant women.

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