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EEO - Discrimination: Florida

EEO - Discrimination requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Kamilah L. Perry, Phelps Dunbar, LLP

Summary

  • The Florida Civil Rights Act is similar to Title VII as it prohibits employment discrimination practices. However, the Florida Civil Rights Act affords greater protections to Florida residents than similar federal laws. See Discrimination Under the Florida Civil Rights Act.
  • Under the Florida Civil Rights Act, an employee complaining of discrimination must file a charge of discrimination with the Florida Commission of Human Relations before being permitted to bring a private lawsuit against any employer. See Enforcement Through Florida Commission of Human Relations/Judicial Proceedings.
  • The Florida Civil Rights Act provides greater remedies than Title VII for violations of its provisions. See Remedies.
  • Chapter 448, Florida's General Labor Regulations, also specifically prohibit certain types of discrimination against specific classes of employees. See Other Laws Prohibiting Discrimination.
  • Broward County, Miami-Dade County and Tampa have local requirements relating to discrimination. See Local Requirements.

Discrimination Under the Florida Civil Rights Act

The Florida Civil Rights Act is modeled after Title VII (and other federal discrimination laws) and specifically states that it is to be construed in accordance with Title VII. Fla. Stat. § 760 et seq. See Smith v. Avatar Properties, Inc., +714 So.2d 1103 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998). The Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, marital status and pregnancy.

Broward County, Key West, Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Orlando and Tampa have local requirements relating to discrimination. See Local Requirements.

Unlawful Discriminatory Practices

Under the Florida Civil Rights Act, it is unlawful for an employer to:

  • Discharge or to fail or refuse to hire any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, marital status or pregnancy. +Fla. Stat. § 760.10(1)(a).
  • Limit, segregate, or classify employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities, or adversely affect any individual's status as an employee, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, marital status or pregnancy. +Fla. Stat. § 760.10(1)(b).
  • Print any notice or advertisement relating to employment, apprenticeship or training with regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, absence of handicap, marital status or pregnancy indicating any preference, limitation, or specification.

+Fla. Stat. § 760.10(6).

Covered Employers

The definition of employer under the Florida Civil Rights Act is similar to the definition under Title VII, although it does not reference being engaged in commerce. The Florida Civil Rights Act covers any person employing 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding year and any agent of such a person, including private and public employers, employment agencies, joint labor-management committees, and labor organizations. +Fla. Stat. § 760.02(7); +Fla. Stat. § 760.10(7).

The Florida Civil Rights Act does not apply to religious corporations or other organizations where employment is conditioned on, or limited to, membership in the organization or agreement with its religious beliefs. +Fla. Stat. § 760.10(9).

The term employee is not specifically defined under the Florida Civil Rights Act. However, the Florida Civil Rights Act is modeled after Title VII (and other federal discrimination laws) and specifically states that it is to be construed in accordance with Title VII. See Smith v. Avatar Properties, Inc., +714 So.2d 1103 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998). Therefore, like Title VII, the Florida Civil Rights Act covers prospective and current employees, as well as former employees and third parties within the Florida Civil Rights Act's zone of interest. A zone of interest is defined as the class or type of interest that a statute seeks to protect.

Protected Classes

Handicap or Disability

The Florida Civil Rights Act does not define disability or handicap. However, the Florida Civil Rights Act is construed in conformity with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Florida court's use the ADA's definition of a disability. See Byrd v. BT Foods, Inc., +948 So.2d 921 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007). The ADA defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual, a record of such impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment." +42 U.S.C. § 12102(2).

While the Florida Civil Rights Act does not contain specific provisions for mandatory accommodations, in conformance with the ADA, covered employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for qualified disabled applicants or employees so long as the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business.

An employee or job applicant whose tests positive for drugs or alcohol is not, by virtue of the result alone, deemed to have a handicap or disability as defined under the Florida Civil Rights Act. +Fla. Stat. § 440.102(7). However, also in conformance with the ADA, drug and alcohol addiction can be considered a handicap or disability for reasonable accommodations purposes under Florida law. See Razner v. Wellington Regional Medical Center, Inc., +837 So.2d 437 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002).

Medical Marijuana

An amendment to the state constitution permits the use of medical marijuana, including smoking, by qualified registered patients with a debilitating medical condition. Fla. Const. Art. X, § 29(b)(1); +Fla. Stat. § 381.986(1), as amended by +2017 Bill Text FL S.B. 8A

Under the law, individuals suffering from the following debilitating medical conditions may be qualified to use medical marijuana:

  • Cancer;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Glaucoma;
  • Positive HIV/AIDS status;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD);
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • Crohn's disease;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as, or comparable to, those listed above, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient;
  • Terminal conditions diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the physician certification; or
  • Chronic nonmalignant pain.

Fla. Const. Art. X, § 29(b)(1); +Fla. Stat. § 381.986 as amended by +2017 Bill Text FL S.B. 8A.

Under the law, medical use does not include possession, use, or administration of marijuana that was not purchased or acquired from a medical marijuana treatment center. Further, medical use does not include use at a qualified patient's place of employment unless permitted by the employer.

The law contains myriad protections for employers. An employer is still permitted to establish, continue, or enforce a drug-free workplace program or policy. Additionally, an employer is not required to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence of marijuana. Medical marijuana is not reimbursable under the Florida Workers' Compensation Law. Lastly, the law does not create a cause of action against an employer for wrongful discharge or discrimination. Fla. Const. Art. X, § 29(c); +Fla. Stat. § 381.986 as amended by +2017 Bill Text FL S.B. 8A. See Disabilities (ADA): Florida and Preemployment Screening and Testing: Florida.

Using medical marijuana in any form, including smoking, is generally prohibited in a public place or in an enclosed indoor workplace, as defined by the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act is prohibited. +Fla. Stat. § 381.986(1)(j), as amended by +2019 Bill Text FL S.B. 182.

Religion

The Florida Civil Rights Act does not apply to religious corporations or other organizations where employment opportunities are conditioned on, or limited to, membership in that organization or agreement with its religious beliefs. +Fla. Stat. § 760.10(9). However, non-religious affiliated Florida employers are expected to comply with Title VII to provide reasonable accommodations to religious employees.

Churches, religious organization, corporations, associations, fraternal benefit societies, schools, or integrated auxiliaries of a church as well as any church employee, clergy or minister acting within the scope of his or her employment may not be required to solemnize any marriage or provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods or privileges if such an action would violate a sincerely held religious belief of the entity or of the individual. +2016 Bill Text FL H.B. 43.

Gender Identity

No provision of Florida law explicitly addresses discrimination based on gender identity. However, a the Florida Commission on Human Relations has held that a transsexual employee can bring a claim for sex discrimination under Florida law.

Sexual Orientation

There is no state-wide nondiscrimination law that includes protections based on sexual orientation. However, many local ordinances protect employees based on sexual orientation. See Local Requirements.

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment: (1) requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex; and (2) requires a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state. . See Obergefell v. Hodges, +2015 U.S. LEXIS 4250 (U.S. June 26, 2015). Even though gender identity and sexual orientation are not explicitly recognized as protected classes under federal law, in light of this ruling it is best practice for an employer to review and revise its discrimination policies and provide equal treatment to individuals in same-sex marriages with regard to leave, benefits, compensation and other terms of employment.

Marital Status

Unlike federal laws, the Florida Civil Rights Act provides protection from discrimination based upon marital status. The Florida Supreme Court has held that marital status means the "state of being married, single, divorced, widowed or separated, and does not include the specific identity or actions of an individual's spouse." See Donato v. American Tel. & Tel. Co., +767 So. 2d 1146(Fla. 2000).

However, taking or failing to take any action with regard to marital status is not unlawful discrimination if marital status is prohibited under the employers' nepotism policy. +Fla. Stat. § 760.10(8)(d).

Pregnancy

Under an amendment to the Florida Civil Rights Act, pregnancy is explicitly recognized as a protected class.

Accordingly, women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions must be treated the same for all employment-related purposes, including the receipt of benefits. An employer who fires or refuses to hire a pregnant woman, forces her to take maternity leave, forces her to take another job, or bars her from returning to work for a period of time after her pregnancy may constitute unlawful discrimination. A pregnant woman's employment status can be changed only if her pregnancy interferes with her ability to perform her job.

Age

Similar to the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the Florida Civil Rights Act also forbids discrimination on the basis of age. However, Florida law applies to protect employees of all ages, not just those over 40 years of age, as specified by the ADEA. See +Fla. Stat. § 760.02(6) and +29 U.S.C. § 631(a).

It is not unlawful for an employer to take or fail to take any action on the basis of age, where the employment action is pursuant to law or regulation designed to benefit persons of a particular age group. +Fla. Stat. § 760.10(8)(c)).

The Florida Civil Rights Act does not impose mandatory retirement. Further, +Fla. Stat. § 110.124, which governs public employees, prohibits the termination of an employee solely because of the attainment of age 65, with certain exceptions. For example, Sec. 8, Art. V of the Florida State Const., provides that no justice or judge shall serve over the age of 70 except upon temporary assignment or to complete a term. +Fla. Stat. § 321.03(1) requires mandatory retirement at age 70 for instructional personnel in the public schools. +Fla. Stat. § 321.04(4) provides that "[n]o patrol officer of the Florida Highway Patrol shall serve beyond the age of 62".

AIDS or HIV

Florida specifically prohibits discrimination against any individual with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and prohibits any employer from:

  • Requiring an individual to take an HIV test as a condition of hiring, promotion, or continued employment, unless the absence of HIV is a bona fide occupational qualification for the job in question;
  • Refusing or failing to hire, discharging, segregating, classifying or otherwise depriving an employee of employment opportunities because he or she may have HIV or AIDS; and
  • Refusing or failing to hire, discharging, segregating, classifying or otherwise depriving an employee of employment opportunities because he or she is a licensed care professional or health care worker who treats or cares for HIV-infected persons.

+Fla. Stat. §760.50.

Any employer in violation of the statue may be required to pay liquidated damages of $1,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater, in addition to attorneys' fees and whatever other relief the court deems appropriate. Further, an employer who intentionally or recklessly violates this statute may be required to pay $5,000 in liquidated damages or actual damages, whichever is greater. +Fla. Stat. § 760.50(6). This statute also makes all of the other protections under Florida Civil Rights Act available to such individuals.

In evaluating a claim for HIV or AIDS discrimination under Section 760.50, courts impose the identical standards for evaluating a claim for employment discrimination, except that an employee is not required to prove that the HIV or AIDS conditions amounts to a handicap or disability. See Establishing a Discrimination Claim. This is because Section 760.50 prohibits discrimination based upon even the perception of the disease, without reference to the physical condition of the employee. See Byrd v. BT Foods, Inc., +948 So.2d 921 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007).

Establishing a Discrimination Claim

Since the Florida Civil Rights Act is modeled after Title VII, it is well settled that Florida courts follow the three-part framework set forth in the federal case of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, +411 U.S. 792 (1973) to establish an employment discrimination claim based on circumstantial evidence. The employee must establish a prima facie case of discrimination by showing:

  • The employee belongs to a protected class;
  • The plaintiff was subjected to adverse employment action;
  • Similarly-situated employees, outside of the plaintiff's racial minority, were treated more favorably than the plaintiff; and
  • The plaintiff was qualified to do the job.

If a prima facie case is raised successfully, a presumption of discrimination against the defendant arises. The employer must then present a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the employment action. If the employer meets its burden of offering non-discriminatory reasons for its employment action, then the presumption of discrimination no longer exists, and the employee must prove the employer's legitimate reasons for discharge were a pretext for discrimination.

A prima facie case of employment discrimination may be established by a showing of either direct evidence of discriminatory intent, such as a blatant derogatory remark by a decision-maker, or with a statistical analysis showing a pattern or practice of discrimination. See City of West Palm Beach v. McCray, +2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 8266 (Fla. 5th DCA May 23, 2012).

Defenses

While it is unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status when hiring or terminating an employee, there are major exceptions to this rule under the Florida Civil Rights Act. These factors may be considered in employment decision when they are considered a bona fide occupational qualification, or BFOQ. A BFOQ is a job requirement which when viewed on the surface seems discriminatory, but actually is reasonably necessary for the performance of the job. Accordingly, under the Florida Civil Rights Act, it is not unlawful for an employer to:

  • Take or fail to take any action on the basis of religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status in those certain instances in which religion, sex, national origin, age, absence of a particular handicap, or marital status is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary for the performance of the particular employment to which such action or inaction is related. +Fla. Stat. §. 760.10(8)(a).
  • Observe the terms of a bona fide seniority system, a bona fide employee benefit plan such as a retirement, pension, or insurance plan, or a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, as long as such system is not used as a subterfuge for unlawful discrimination under the Florida Civil Rights Act. +Fla. Stat. §. 760.10(8)(b).

Posters

All Florida employers must post the Florida Law Prohibits Discrimination Poster in a conspicuous manner, in a place accessible to employees.

Individual Liability

In line with Title VII, Florida courts hold that there is no individual liability under the Florida Civil Rights Act. However, an individual can at least be liable under § 760.10(5), which prohibits discrimination against persons seeking licenses, certificates, credentials, to pass an examination, or to become a member of a club, where those accomplishments are required in order to engage in a profession, occupation or trade. +Fla. Stat. § 760.11(1).

Enforcement Through the Florida Commission of Human Relations/Judicial Proceedings

Under the Florida Civil Rights Act, an employee complaining of discrimination must file a charge of discrimination with the Florida Commission of Human Relations (FCHR) within 365 days of the violation before being permitted to bring a private lawsuit against any employer. This is longer than the 180 days required under Title VII. +Fla. Stat. § 760.11. After a charge is filed, the FCHR has 180 days to investigate the charge to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that discrimination has occurred. +Fla. Stat. § 760.11(3).

A charge under the Florida Civil Rights Act must be verified under oath. +Fla. Stat. § 760.11. Any changes or amendments to a charge of discrimination may be made within 60 days of the filing, unless good cause can be established for making a later amendment.

One key distinction between Florida and Federal administrative procedure involves the employee's right to sue. Under Title VII, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's finding of cause or no cause of discrimination is irrelevant to the plaintiff's right to sue. However, under the Florida Civil Rights Act, if the FCHR finds that there is no cause to believe that discrimination occurred, then the employee is not permitted to bring a lawsuit against the employer. In that instance, the employee's only option is to request an administrative hearing within 35 days of the no cause finding. (+Fla. Stat. § 760.11(7)). If the administrative law judge reverses the FCHR's no cause finding, only then may the employee bring a private suit against an employer. The suit must be brought within one year from the judge's final order. On the other hand, if the FCHR finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, the employee can bring a private lawsuit within one year of the finding (), or request an administrative hearing within 35 days. +Fla. Stat. § 760.11 (5); +Fla. Stat. § 760.11(6). If the FCHR is unable to complete its investigation within 180 days, the employee may proceed with a private lawsuit against the employer, as if reasonable cause of discrimination had been found. +Fla. Stat. § 760.11(8).

If the FCHR makes a determination after 180 days, but the employee has not yet filed suit, the employee can still file suit regardless of whether a later no cause determination is made, so that the employee is not penalized for the FCHR's delayed determination. See Woodham v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield, +829 So. 2d 891 (Fla. 2002).

Remedies

Unlike the EEOC, the Florida Civil Rights Act does authorize administrative agencies to award damages, and also provides for the enforcement of any damage awards by the courts.

An employee who is permitted to sue an employer under the Florida Civil Rights Act may recover damages under § 760.11(5). The remedies under the Florida Civil Rights Act are virtually the same as the remedies under Title VII, including back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney's fees. Under the Florida Civil Rights Act, however, no liability for back pay can accrue from a date more than two years prior to the filing of the charge of discrimination. There is also no dollar cap on compensatory damages against private employers, and punitive damages under the Florida Civil Rights Act are capped at $100,000.00. The Florida Civil Rights Act also provides for unlimited emotional distress damages.

The Florida Civil Rights Act provides for right of trial by jury for claimants seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Other Laws Prohibiting Discrimination

Chapter 448 of the Florida Statutes, General Labor Regulations, also contains provisions that specifically prohibit discrimination against certain classes of employees.

Equal Pay

Florida prohibits wage rate discrimination based on sex, similar to the federal Equal Pay Act. The statute applies to public employees and any employer who employs two or more employees. +Fla. Stat. § 448.07(1)(a); +Fla. Stat. § 448.07(1)( (b). However, the statute does not apply to employers who are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act. +Fla. Stat. § 448.07.

The statute prohibits the payment of less wages for equal work on the basis of sex for jobs which require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except when such payment is made pursuant to:

  • A seniority system;
  • A merit system;
  • A system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or
  • A differential based on any reasonable factor other than sex when exercised in good faith.

An employer who violates this statute is liable to the employee for the amount of the difference between the amount the employee was paid and the amount he or she should have been paid under this section. However, an employee is not permitted to recover more than one year of equal pay, and any claim must be brought 6 months after termination of employment. A court may also award to the prevailing party any attorneys' fees and costs of the action. Unlike its federal counterpart, this statute does not provide for the recovery of liquidated damages.

It is also an unlawful employment practice under FCRA for an employer to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation because of such individual's sex or pregnancy. +Fla. Stat. § 760.10(1)(a).

Further, under Florida law no person shall discriminate against any person based on sex, marital status, or race in the areas of loaning money, granting credit, or providing equal pay for equal services performed.+Fla. Stat. § 725.07. A person includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. A person whose rights have been violated may bring a civil action in the courts and said individual shall be entitled to collect, not only compensatory damages, but also punitive damages and reasonable attorneys fees.

Sickle-Cell Trait Discrimination

Florida prohibits employment discrimination on basis of a sickle-cell trait. +Fla. Stat. § 448.075. The statute prohibits any person or employer from denying employment to any person or discharging any person from employment solely because such person has the sickle-cell trait. +Fla. Stat. §448.076 also prohibits mandatory screening or testing for a sickle-cell trait as a condition for employment.

An employee may sue in civil court for any violation of this statute (with no exhaustion of administrative requirements) within 2 years after discovering that the alleged retaliatory personnel action was taken, or within 4 years after the personnel action was taken, whichever is earlier. +Fla. Stat. § 448.103(1)(a). The employee must first notify the employer about the illegal activity, policy or practice to recover damages. +Fla. Stat. § 448.103(1)(c). The employee may recover the following remedies.

  • An injunction restraining continued violation.
  • Reinstatement of the employee to the same position held before the retaliatory personnel action, or to an equivalent position.
  • Reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority rights.
  • Compensation for lost wages, benefits, and other remuneration.
  • Any other compensatory damages allowable at law.

+Fla. Stat. § 448.103(2).

Interference With Civil Rights

Public Employers

+Fla. Stat. § 112.042 prohibits discrimination in county and municipal employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, or religious creed, if the individual is the most competent and able to perform the services required.

Further, in addition to the Florida Civil Rights Act which is applicable to public employers, Chapters 110 and 112 of the Florida statutes also govern public employment and specifically prohibit certain types of employment discrimination.

Chapter 110 provides that:

  • All appointments, terminations, assignments and maintenance of status, compensation, privileges, and other terms and conditions of employment in state government shall be made without regard to age, sex, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, or handicap, except when a specific sex, age, or physical requirement constitutes a bona fide occupational qualification necessary to proper and efficient administration. +Fla. Stat. § 110.105.
  • No person shall be appointed to, demoted, or dismissed from any position in the career service, or in any way favored or discriminated against with respect to employment in the career service, because of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, religious creed, or political opinion or affiliation. +Fla. Stat. § 110.233(1).

Career service is defined as "all [government] positions not specifically exempted" by Section 110.205, including, i.e., elected officials, legislators, judges, officers and employees of state universities. +Fla. Stat. § 110.205

Chapter 112 of the Florida statues specifically prohibits age discrimination and provides that it is unlawful for a public employer to :

  • Fail or refuse to hire, discharge or mandatorily retire, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of age.
  • Limit, segregate, or classify employees in any way which would deprive, or tend to deprive, any individual of employment opportunities, or otherwise adversely affect an individual's status as an employee, because of age.
  • Reduce the wage rate of any employee or otherwise alter the terms or conditions of employment in order to comply with this act, unless such a reduction is with the employee's express or implied consent.

+Fla. Stat. §112.044 (3)(a).

Employer means the state or any county, municipality, or special district or any subdivision or agency thereof. Employer does not include any Florida law enforcement or firefighting agency. +Fla. Stat § 112.044 (2)(a).

It is not unlawful under this section for an employer to take any action based on a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business, observe the terms of a bona fide seniority system or any bona fide employee benefit plan, such as a retirement, pension, or insurance plan, which is not a subterfuge to evade the purposes of this act, and discharge or otherwise discipline an individual for good cause. +Fla. Stat. §112.044 (3)(f).

Any career service employee who is aggrieved under +Fla. Stat. § 112.044 may appeal to the Florida Public Employee Relations Commission (which exercises jurisdiction over age discrimination cases under +Fla. Stat. § 112.044), and follow the conditions and procedures prescribed by +Fla. Stat. § 447.207 and +Fla. Stat. § 447.208. Otherwise, any other government employee who believes they have been discriminated against under these chapters may file a complaint for discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

Veterans Preference

Private employers may grant a hiring preference to honorably discharged veterans and the spouses of veterans with a service-connected disability. +Fla. Stat. § 295.188. See Recruiting: Florida. An employer should be careful in applying any veterans preference policy that the policy does not have an adverse impact on any other protected class.

Lactation/Breastfeeding Protections and Accommodations

A nursing mother may not be prohibited from breastfeeding her baby in any public or private location where she is is otherwise authorized to be +Fla. Stat. § 383.015.

Local Requirements

Broward County Discrimination

The Broward County Human Rights Act provides that it is a discriminatory practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire, terminate or otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to compensation or the terms, conditions or privilege of employment because of discriminatory classification including race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or gender identity or expression.

The Act applies to an employer with five or more employees for each working day in 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding year (or any agent of the employer).

+Broward County, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 16-3; +Broward County, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 16-33.

Key West Discrimination

The Key West Human Rights Ordinance prohibits an employer with 15 or more employees for each working day in 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year (or any agent of the employer) from discriminating against an individual on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, or source of income. +Key West, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 38-192; +Key West, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 38-221.

In addition, an employer with one or more employees (or any agent of the employer) is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of AIDS and related medical conditions. +Key West, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 38-256; +Key West, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 38-257.

Miami Beach Discrimination

The City of Miami Beach Human Rights Ordinance prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived differences of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, intersexuality, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital and familial status, age, disability, ancestry, height, weight, domestic partnership status, labor organization membership, familial situation, or political affiliation. It applies to an employer with five or more employees for a minimum of four calendar weeks in the current calendar year (or any agent of the employer). +Miami Beach, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 62-31; +Miami Beach, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 62-86.

Miami-Dade County Discrimination

Miami-Dade County has an antidiscrimination ordinance that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, marital status, familial status, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or actual or perceived status as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking of any individual or any person associated with such individual. The ordinance applies to an employer with five or more employees in four or more calendar weeks in the current year (or any agent, acting manager, contractor or subcontractor of the employer). +Miami-Dade County, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 11A-25; +Miami-Dade County, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 11A-26.

An employer is defined as any person who in the regular course of business has five (5) or more employees in Miami-Dade County in each of four (4) or more calendar weeks in the current calendar year and any agent, acting manager, contractor or subcontractor of such person. Employer does not include The State of Florida, Miami-Dade County, an Indian Tribe; or a bona fide private membership club. +Miami-Dade County, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 11A-25.

The Fair Employment Practices Director has exclusive jurisdiction to resolve any complaint a of violation of the Miami Code filed by or on behalf of an employee of Miami-Dade County. Any complaint must be within one hundred eighty days (180) after the alleged unlawful practice occurs. +Miami-Dade County, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 11A-27.

Orlando Discrimination

The Code of the City of Orlando makes it illegal to discriminate against an individual because of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, handicap or marital status. +Orlando, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 57.14.

An employer means any person who has more than five (5) full-time employees working more than thirty (30) hours per week, or who has more than ten (10) employees irrespective of the number of hours per week, in each of thirteen (13) or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such a person.

Any person alleging unlawful discrimination under the Code may file a complaint with the City of Orlando's Human Relations Review Board within one hundred eighty (180) days of the alleged unlawful practice.

Tampa Discrimination

The City of Tampa Human Rights Ordinance, Chapter 12, prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, familial status or marital status. +Tampa, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 12-26.

The ordinance defines employer as any person who has five (5) or more full time employees working more than thirty (30) hours per week, or who has more than fifteen (15) employees irrespective of the number of hours per week, in each of the thirteen (13) or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such a person. The term employer includes the City of Tampa. +Tampa, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 12-17.

Under the ordinance, it is unlawful for an employer to:

  • Fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to that individual's compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, familial status or marital status; or
  • Limit, segregate, or classify employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect that individual's status as an employee, because of such individual's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, familial status or marital status. +Tampa, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 12-26.

It is not unlawful to discriminate on these grounds on the basis of that individual's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, familial status or marital status is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise. +Tampa, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 12-36.

Further, the provisions of the ordinance relating to sexual orientation and gender identity or expression do not apply to religious organization, association, society or any nonprofit charitable or educational institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society. +Tampa, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 12-36 (e).

Any person aggrieved by a violation of the Tampa Code may, within one hundred eighty days after the alleged violation has occurred, file a complaint with the city administrator naming the owner, operator, or other person or entity responsible for the alleged violation. +Tampa, Florida Code of Ordinances Sec. 12-46.

Future Developments

There are no new developments to report at this time. Continue to check XpertHR regularly for the latest information on this and other topics.

Additional Resources

Employee Management > EEO - Discrimination

Florida Commission on Human Relations

City of Tampa Law and Ordinances

Miami-Dade County Code

City of Orlando Code