What Does the Law Say?


Where is the law regarding sex discrimination in employment in Florida found?


The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA) is the controlling anti-discrimination law in the state of Florida.


To whom does the FCRA apply?


It applies to employers, employment agencies, labor unions, organizations controlling job training and apprenticeship, and licensing/certification organizations. It does not apply to religious organizations, educational institutions, or societies in which employment opportunities are conditioned upon membership within the organization or agreement with its beliefs.


Under the FCRA, what is illegal?


It is unlawful to discharge, fail or refuse to hire, or discriminate in "compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment" based on a person's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or marital status. Segregating or classifying employees or job applicants in such a manner that would be detrimental to their employment status or opportunities is also unlawful.


What is an "employer" this law?


An employer is 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.


What is an "employee" under this law?


An employee is not specifically defined under the FCRA, but anyone who feels that a violation of the law has been committed against them can file a complaint with the (http://fchr.state.fl.us/)Florida Commission on Human Relations .


Is there a federal law about sex discrimination?


Yes—Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See Federal Law pages.


How does the state law compare with federal in terms of coverage?


The statute is based in large part on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The wording and provisions of the two laws are similar in many places, and both laws create administrative agencies to address claims brought under them. However, Title VII is considerably longer and has more specific procedural aspects. Furthermore, Title VII has a filing deadline of only 300 days, whereas the FCRA has a 365 day deadline.


Is it ever okay for my employer to treat or impact women differently because of their sex?


If a person's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or marital status is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) "reasonably necessary for the performance of the particular employment" of the aggrieved person, it is not unlawful for the employer to take any action based on that characteristic.


What other employer exceptions exist under the FCRA?


Seniority systems, pensions, benefit plans, and "piece-rate" pay systems (in which an employee is paid by the quantity or quality of his/her work) may be used by an employer, as long as it is not designed to evade the Act's purposes. Discrimination on the basis of marital status is lawful if such status is prohibited by an anti-nepotism policy.


What could my employer do to deny my allegations, and how do I respond to their denials?


Because the FCRA is based on Title VII, Florida courts have ruled that the state legislature intended the two acts to be interpreted similarly. Thus, federal case law construing Title VII is binding on Florida courts. But the typical federal burden-shifting method is generally used: once you establish your case, your employer must state a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for your discharge. You must then prove that the reason your employer offers is a pretext for the real reason you were fired. See Federal Law pages.


Does it matter when the discrimination occurred?


You must file a complaint within 365 days of the alleged violation.


What options do I have if I my employer has fewer than fifteen employees?


While the FCRA only covers employers who have fifteen or more employees, some cities have ordinances which cover employers with fewer workers.


Who enforces the law?


The Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) is responsible for enforcing the FCRA .


Does my city have its own laws about sex discrimination?


See Local Ordinances



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