The Florida Legislature enacted the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 with the intention of following the federal anti-discrimination law commonly known as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both the Florida Civil Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibit certain types of employment discrimination. This article discusses whether the Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits pregnancy discrimination. Peter Mavrick is a Fort Lauderdale employment lawyer who has extensive experience in successfully defending employers accused of violating the Florida Civil Rights Act and Title VII.
Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal in Carsillo v. City of Lake Worth, 995 So. 2d 1118 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008), was confronted with the issue of whether pregnancy discrimination is prohibited by the Florida Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”). The employee is Carsillo brought an action against the city and alleged pregnancy discrimination and retaliation under the FCRA. The city moved for summary judgement and alleged that the FCRA does not prohibit pregnancy discrimination. The trial court ruled in favor of the city and the employee appealed.
The employee in Carsillo was a female firefighter/paramedic who had requested light duty within the fire department because of her pregnancy. Her request was granted, but it was not within the fire department and she initially objected. The employee then filed a lawsuit and alleged discrimination in violation of the FCRA because other employees with physical restrictions had been accommodated with light duty within the fire department.
The appellate court in Carsillo reasoned that because the FCRA followed the federal law prohibitions set forth in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the FCRA would be interpreted as broadly as its federal law counterpart. Carsillo explained that Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 in response to the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Gen. Elec. Co. v. Gilbert, 429 U.S. 125 (1976). Thereafter Congress amended Section 2000e(k) of the United States Code to include the following wording: “women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes.” The FCRA, unlike the federal statutes, has never been amended to specifically state that pregnancy discrimination is sex discrimination. It is the lack of such an amendment in Florida which underlied the controversy as to whether Florida law prohibits pregnancy discrimination. Carsillo ultimately reversed the trial court’s decision which had granted summary judgment in favor of the city. The appellate court determined that pregnancy discrimination is prohibited under Florida law.
Although Florida law prohibits pregnancy discrimination, the Mavrick Law Firm has been successful in obtaining excellent results in the defense against pregnancy discrimination claims. Frequently these claims arise when a bad employee seeks revenge for her termination for misconduct or other performance related issues. If you need to defend yourself against an employment discrimination claim, please contact Fort Lauderdale employment attorney Peter Mavrick.
The Fort Lauderdale employment litigation attorneys at the Mavrick Law Firm have successfully represented many businesses in FCRA and Title VII claims in the Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County areas encompassed by the Third and Fourth District Courts of Appeal, as well as Hillsborough, Sarasota, and other counties encompassed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeal. This article is not a substitute for legal advice tailored to a particular situation. Peter T. Mavrick can be reached at: Website: www.mavricklaw.com; Telephone: 954-564-2246; Address: 1620 West Oakland Park Boulevard, Suite 300, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311.