State Law > Florida > Florida Employment Discrimination Law

Florida Employment Discrimination Law

 

Florida Employment Discrimination Law

Florida employment discrimination law is located in the following sections of the Florida Statutes.

  • 760.02 Definitions. Under the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.
  • 760.07 Remedies for unlawful discrimination.
  • 760.10 Unlawful employment practices.
  • 760.40 Genetic testing; informed consent; confidentiality.
  • 760.50 Discrimination on the basis of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, acquired immune deficiency syndrome related complex, and human immunodeficiency virus prohibited.
  • 413.08. Discrimination against the physically disabled prohibited.
  • 448.07 Wage rate discrimination based on sex prohibited. Equal Pay.
  • 448.075 Employment discrimination on basis of sickle-cell trait prohibited.
  • 250.482. State active service; Discrimination by employers and postsecondary institutions prohibited.

760.01 Purposes; construction; title.

(1) Sections 760.01-760.11 and 509.092 shall be cited as the "Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992."

(2) The general purposes of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 are to secure for all individuals within the state freedom from discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status and thereby to protect their interest in personal dignity, to make available to the state their full productive capacities, to secure the state against domestic strife and unrest, to preserve the public safety, health, and general welfare, and to promote the interests, rights, and privileges of individuals within the state.

(3) The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 shall be construed according to the fair import of its terms and shall be liberally construed to further the general purposes stated in this section and the special purposes of the particular provision involved.

Sec. 760.02 Definitions.
For the purposes of 760.01--760.11 and 509.092, the term:

(1) "Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992" means 760.01--760.11 and 509.092.

(2) "Commission" means the Florida commission on human relations created by 760.03.

(3) "Commissioner" or "member" means a member of the commission.

(4) "Discriminatory practice" means any practice made unlawful by The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.

(5) "National origin" includes ancestry.

(6) "Person" includes an individual, association, corporation, joint apprenticeship committee, joint-stock company, labor union, legal representative, mutual company, partnership, receiver, trust, trustee in bankruptcy, or unincorporated organization; any other legal or commercial entity; the state; or any governmental entity or agency.

(7) "Employer" means any person employing 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such a person.

(8) "Employment agency" means any person regularly undertaking, with or without compensation, to procure employees for an employer or to procure for employees opportunities to work for an employer, and includes an agent of such a person.

(9) "Labor organization" means any organization which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms or conditions of employment, or other mutual aid or protection in connection with employment.

(10) "Aggrieved person" means any person who files a complaint with the Human Relations Commission.

(11) "Public accommodations" means places of public accommodation, lodgings, facilities principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, gasoline stations, places of exhibition or entertainment, and other covered establishments. Each of the following establishments which serves the public is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of this section:

(a) Any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than four rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his or her residence.

(b) Any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment, or any gasoline station.

(c) Any motion picture theater, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium, or other place of exhibition or entertainment.

(d) Any establishment which is physically located within the premises of any establishment otherwise covered by this subsection, or within the premises of which is physically located any such covered establishment, and which holds itself out as serving patrons of such covered establishment.

Sec. 760.03 Commission on Human Relations; staff.

(1) There is hereby created the Florida Commission on Human Relations, comprised of 12 members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The commission shall select one of its members to serve as chairperson for terms of 2 years.

(2) The members of the commission must be broadly representative of various racial, religious, ethnic, social, economic, political, and professional groups within the state; and at least one member of the commission must be 60 years of age or older.

(3) Commissioners shall be appointed for terms of 4 years. A member chosen to fill a vacancy otherwise than by expiration of term shall be appointed for the unexpired term of the member whom such appointee is to succeed. A member of the commission shall be eligible for reappointment. A vacancy in the commission shall not impair the right of the remaining members to exercise the powers of the commission.

(4) The Governor may suspend a member of the commission only for cause, subject to removal or reinstatement by the Senate.

(5) Seven members shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business; however, the commission may establish panels of not less than three of its members to exercise its powers under the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, subject to such procedures and limitations as the commission may provide by rule.

(6) Each commissioner shall be compensated at the rate of $50 per day for each day of actual attendance to commission duties and shall be entitled to receive per diem and travel expenses as provided by s. 112.061.

(7) The commission shall appoint, and may remove, an executive director who, with the consent of the commission, may employ a deputy, attorneys, investigators, clerks, and such other personnel as may be necessary adequately to perform the functions of the commission, within budgetary limitations.

Sec. 760.04 Commission on Human Relations, assigned to Department of Management Services.

The commission created by s. 760.03 is assigned to the Department of Management Services. The commission, in the performance of its duties pursuant to the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, shall not be subject to control, supervision, or direction by the Department of Management Services.

Sec. 760.05 Functions of the commission.

The commission shall promote and encourage fair treatment and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status and mutual understanding and respect among all members of all economic, social, racial, religious, and ethnic groups; and shall endeavor to eliminate discrimination against, and antagonism between, religious, racial, and ethnic groups and their members.

Sec. 760.06 Powers of the commission.

Within the limitations provided by law, the commission shall have the following powers:

(1) To maintain offices in the State of Florida.

(2) To meet and exercise its powers at any place within the state.

(3) To promote the creation of, and to provide continuing technical assistance to, local commissions on human relations and to cooperate with individuals and state, local, and other agencies, both public and private, including agencies of the Federal Government and of other states.

(4) To accept gifts, bequests, grants, or other payments, public or private, to help finance its activities.

(5) To receive, initiate, investigate, seek to conciliate, hold hearings on, and act upon complaints alleging any discriminatory practice, as defined by the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.

(6) To issue subpoenas for, administer oaths or affirmations to and compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses or to issue subpoenas for and compel the production of books, papers, records, documents, and other evidence pertaining to any investigation or hearing convened pursuant to the powers of the commission. In conducting an investigation, the commission and its investigators shall have access at all reasonable times to premises, records, documents, and other evidence or possible sources of evidence and may examine, record, and copy such materials and take and record the testimony or statements of such persons as are reasonably necessary for the furtherance of the investigation. The authority to issue subpoenas and administer oaths may be delegated by the commission, for investigations or hearings, to a commissioner or the executive director. In the case of a refusal to obey a subpoena issued to any person, the commission may make application to any circuit court of this state, which shall have jurisdiction to order the witness to appear before the commission to give testimony and to produce evidence concerning the matter in question. Failure to obey the court's order may be punished by the court as contempt. If the court enters an order holding a person in contempt or compelling the person to comply with the commission's order or subpoena, the court shall order the person to pay the commission reasonable expenses, including reasonable attorneys' fees, accrued by the commission in obtaining the order from the court.

(7) To recommend methods for elimination of discrimination and intergroup tensions and to use its best efforts to secure compliance with its recommendations.

(8) To furnish technical assistance requested by persons to facilitate progress in human relations.

(9) To make or arrange for studies appropriate to effectuate the purposes and policies of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 and to make the results thereof available to the public.

(10) To become a deferral agency for the Federal Government and to comply with the necessary federal regulations to effect the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.

(11) To render, at least annually, a comprehensive written report to the Governor and the Legislature. The report may contain recommendations of the commission for legislation or other action to effectuate the purposes and policies of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.

(12) To adopt, promulgate, amend, and rescind rules to effectuate the purposes and policies of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 and govern the proceedings of the commission, in accordance with chapter 120.

(13) To receive complaints and coordinate all activities as required by the Whistle-blower's Act pursuant to ss. 112.3187-112.31895.

Sec. 760.07 Remedies for unlawful discrimination.

Any violation of any Florida statute making unlawful discrimination because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status in the areas of education, employment, housing, or public accommodations gives rise to a cause of action for all relief and damages described in s. 760.11(5), unless greater damages are expressly provided for. If the statute prohibiting unlawful discrimination provides an administrative remedy, the action for equitable relief and damages provided for in this section may be initiated only after the plaintiff has exhausted his or her administrative remedy. The term "public accommodations" does not include lodge halls or other similar facilities of private organizations which are made available for public use occasionally or periodically. The right to trial by jury is preserved in any case in which the plaintiff is seeking actual or punitive damages.

Sec. 760.10 Unlawful employment practices.

(1) It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer:

(a) 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, or marital status.

(b) To 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, or marital status.

(2) It is an unlawful employment practice for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status or to classify or refer for employment any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.

(3) It is an unlawful employment practice for a labor organization:

(a) To exclude or to expel from its membership, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.

(b) To limit, segregate, or classify its membership or applicants for membership, or to classify or fail or refuse to refer for employment any individual, 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 or as an applicant for employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.

(c) To cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an individual in violation of this section.

(4) It is an unlawful employment practice for any employer, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining, including on-the-job training programs, to discriminate against any individual because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status in admission to, or employment in, any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training.

(5) Whenever, in order to engage in a profession, occupation, or trade, it is required that a person receive a license, certification, or other credential, become a member or an associate of any club, association, or other organization, or pass any examination, it is an unlawful employment practice for any person to discriminate against any other person seeking such license, certification, or other credential, seeking to become a member or associate of such club, association, or other organization, or seeking to take or pass such examination, because of such other person's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.

(6) It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or joint labor-management committee to print, or cause to be printed or published, any notice or advertisement relating to employment, membership, classification, referral for employment, or apprenticeship or other training, indicating any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination, based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, absence of handicap, or marital status.

(7) It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer, an employment agency, a joint labor-management committee, or a labor organization to discriminate against any person because that person has opposed any practice which is an unlawful employment practice under this section, or because that person has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this section.

(8) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, it is not an unlawful employment practice under ss. 760.01-760.10 for an employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee to:

(a) 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.

(b) 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, which is not designed, intended, or used to evade the purposes of ss. 760.01-760.10. However, no such employee benefit plan or system which measures earnings shall excuse the failure to hire, and no such seniority system, employee benefit plan, or system which measures earnings shall excuse the involuntary retirement of, any individual on the basis of any factor not related to the ability of such individual to perform the particular employment for which such individual has applied or in which such individual is engaged. This subsection shall not be construed to make unlawful the rejection or termination of employment when the individual applicant or employee has failed to meet bona fide requirements for the job or position sought or held or to require any changes in any bona fide retirement or pension programs or existing collective bargaining agreements during the life of the contract, or for 2 years after October 1, 1981, whichever occurs first, nor shall this act preclude such physical and medical examinations of applicants and employees as an employer may require of applicants and employees to determine fitness for the job or position sought or held.

(c) Take or fail to take any action on the basis of age, pursuant to law or regulation governing any employment or training program designed to benefit persons of a particular age group.

(d) Take or fail to take any action on the basis of marital status if that status is prohibited under its antinepotism policy.

(9) This section shall not apply to any religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society which conditions opportunities in the area of employment or public accommodation to members of that religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society or to persons who subscribe to its tenets or beliefs. This section shall not prohibit a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society from giving preference in employment to individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporations, associations, educational institutions, or societies of its various activities.

(10) Each employer, employment agency, and labor organization shall post and keep posted in conspicuous places upon its premises a notice provided by the commission setting forth such information as the commission deems appropriate to effectuate the purposes of ss. 760.01-760.10.

Sec. 760.11 Administrative and civil remedies; construction.

(1) Any person aggrieved by a violation of ss. 760.01-760.10 may file a complaint with the commission within 365 days of the alleged violation, naming the employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee, or, in the case of an alleged violation of s. 760.10(5), the person responsible for the violation and describing the violation. Any person aggrieved by a violation of s. 509.092 may file a complaint with the commission within 365 days of the alleged violation naming the person responsible for the violation and describing the violation. The commission, a commissioner, or the Attorney General may in like manner file such a complaint. On the same day the complaint is filed with the commission, the commission shall clearly stamp on the face of the complaint the date the complaint was filed with the commission. In lieu of filing the complaint with the commission, a complaint under this section may be filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or with any unit of government of the state which is a fair-employment-practice agency under 29 C.F.R. ss. 1601.70-1601.80. If the date the complaint is filed is clearly stamped on the face of the complaint, that date is the date of filing. The date the complaint is filed with the commission for purposes of this section is the earliest date of filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the fair-employment-practice agency, or the commission. The complaint shall contain a short and plain statement of the facts describing the violation and the relief sought. The commission may require additional information to be in the complaint. The commission, within 5 days of the complaint being filed, shall by registered mail send a copy of the complaint to the person who allegedly committed the violation. The person who allegedly committed the violation may file an answer to the complaint within 25 days of the date the complaint was filed with the commission. Any answer filed shall be mailed to the aggrieved person by the person filing the answer. Both the complaint and the answer shall be verified.

(2) In the event that any other agency of the state or of any other unit of government of the state has jurisdiction of the subject matter of any complaint filed with the commission and has legal authority to investigate the complaint, the commission may refer such complaint to such agency for an investigation. Referral of such a complaint by the commission shall not constitute agency action within the meaning of s. 120.52(2). In the event of any referral under this subsection, the commission shall accord substantial weight to any findings and conclusions of any such agency. The referral of a complaint by the commission to a local agency does not divest the commission's jurisdiction over the complaint.

(3) Except as provided in subsection (2), the commission shall investigate the allegations in the complaint. Within 180 days of the filing of the complaint, the commission shall determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that discriminatory practice has occurred in violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992. When the commission determines whether or not there is reasonable cause, the commission by registered mail shall promptly notify the aggrieved person and the respondent of the reasonable cause determination, the date of such determination, and the options available under this section.

(4) In the event that the commission determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that a discriminatory practice has occurred in violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, the aggrieved person may either:

(a) Bring a civil action against the person named in the complaint in any court of competent jurisdiction; or

(b) Request an administrative hearing under sections 120.569 and 120.57.

The election by the aggrieved person of filing a civil action or requesting an administrative hearing under this subsection is the exclusive procedure available to the aggrieved person pursuant to this act.

(5) In any civil action brought under this section, the court may issue an order prohibiting the discriminatory practice and providing affirmative relief from the effects of the practice, including back pay. The court may also award compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries, and punitive damages. The provisions of ss. 768.72 and 768.73 do not apply to this section. The judgment for the total amount of punitive damages awarded under this section to an aggrieved person shall not exceed $100,000. In any action or proceeding under this subsection, the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs. It is the intent of the Legislature that this provision for attorney's fees be interpreted in a manner consistent with federal case law involving a Title VII action. The right to trial by jury is preserved in any such private right of action in which the aggrieved person is seeking compensatory or punitive damages, and any party may demand a trial by jury. The commission's determination of reasonable cause is not admissible into evidence in any civil proceeding, including any hearing or trial, except to establish for the court the right to maintain the private right of action. A civil action brought under this section shall be commenced no later than 1 year after the date of determination of reasonable cause by the commission. The commencement of such action shall divest the commission of jurisdiction of the complaint, except that the commission may intervene in the civil action as a matter of right. Notwithstanding the above, the state and its agencies and subdivisions shall not be liable for punitive damages. The total amount of recovery against the state and its agencies and subdivisions shall not exceed the limitation as set forth in s. 768.28(5).

(6) Any administrative hearing brought pursuant to paragraph (4)(b) shall be conducted under sections 120.569 and 120.57. The commission may hear the case provided that the final order is issued by members of the commission who did not conduct the hearing or the commission may request that it be heard by a hearing officer pursuant to s. 120.569(2). If the commission elects to hear the case, it may be heard by a commissioner. If the commissioner, after the hearing, finds that a violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 has occurred, the commissioner shall issue an appropriate proposed order in accordance with chapter 120 prohibiting the practice and providing affirmative relief from the effects of the practice, including back pay. If the hearing officer, after the hearing, finds that a violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 has occurred, the hearing officer shall issue an appropriate recommended order in accordance with chapter 120 prohibiting the practice and providing affirmative relief from the effects of the practice, including back pay. Within 90 days of the date the recommended or proposed order is rendered, the commission shall issue a final order by adopting, rejecting, or modifying the recommended order as provided under sections 120.569 and 120.57. The 90-day period may be extended with the consent of all the parties. An administrative hearing pursuant to paragraph (4)(b) must be requested no later than 35 days after the date of determination of reasonable cause by the commission. In any action or proceeding under this subsection, the commission, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs. It is the intent of the Legislature that this provision for attorney's fees be interpreted in a manner consistent with federal case law involving a Title VII action.

(7) If the commission determines that there is not reasonable cause to believe that a violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 has occurred, the commission shall dismiss the complaint. The aggrieved person may request an administrative hearing under sections 120.569 and 120.57, but any such request must be made within 35 days of the date of determination of reasonable cause and any such hearing shall be heard by a hearing officer and not by the commission or a commissioner. If the aggrieved person does not request an administrative hearing within the 35 days, the claim will be barred. If the hearing officer finds that a violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 has occurred, he or she shall issue an appropriate recommended order to the commission prohibiting the practice and recommending affirmative relief from the effects of the practice, including back pay. Within 90 days of the date the recommended order is rendered, the commission shall issue a final order by adopting, rejecting, or modifying the recommended order as provided under sections 120.569 and 120.57. The 90-day period may be extended with the consent of all the parties. In any action or proceeding under this subsection, the commission, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs. It is the intent of the Legislature that this provision for attorney's fees be interpreted in a manner consistent with federal case law involving a Title VII action. In the event the final order issued by the commission determines that a violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 has occurred, the aggrieved person may bring, within 1 year of the date of the final order, a civil action under subsection (5) as if there has been a reasonable cause determination or accept the affirmative relief offered by the commission, but not both.

(8) In the event that the commission fails to conciliate or determine whether there is reasonable cause on any complaint under this section within 180 days of the filing of the complaint, an aggrieved person may proceed under subsection (4), as if the commission determined that there was reasonable cause.

(9) No liability for back pay shall accrue from a date more than 2 years prior to the filing of a complaint with the commission.

(10) A judgment for the amount of damages and costs assessed pursuant to a final order by the commission may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof and may be enforced as any other judgment.

(11) If a complaint is within the jurisdiction of the commission, the commission shall simultaneously with its other statutory obligations attempt to eliminate or correct the alleged discrimination by informal methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion. Nothing said or done in the course of such informal endeavors may be made public or used as evidence in a subsequent civil proceeding, trial, or hearing. The commission may initiate dispute resolution procedures, including voluntary arbitration, by special masters or mediators. The commission may adopt rules as to the qualifications of persons who may serve as special masters and mediators.

(12) All complaints filed with the commission and all records and documents in the custody of the commission, which relate to and identify a particular person, including, but not limited to, a complainant, employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed by the commission, except to the parties or in the course of a hearing or proceeding under this section. The restriction of this subsection shall not apply to any record or document which is part of the record of any hearing or court proceeding. The exemption from s. 119.07(1) specified in this subsection is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.14.

(13) Final orders of the commission are subject to judicial review pursuant to s. 120.68. The commission's determination of reasonable cause is not final agency action that is subject to judicial review. Unless specifically ordered by the court, the commencement of an appeal does not suspend or stay the order of the commission, except as provided in the Rules of Appellate Procedure. In any action or proceeding under this subsection, the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the cost. It is the intent of the Legislature that this provision for attorney's fees be interpreted in a manner consistent with federal case law involving a Title VII action. In the event the order of the court determines that a violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 has occurred, the court shall remand the matter to the commission for appropriate relief. The aggrieved party has the option to accept the relief offered by the commission or may bring, within 1 year of the date of the court order, a civil action under subsection (5) as if there has been a reasonable cause determination.

(14) The commission may adopt, promulgate, amend, and rescind rules to effectuate the purposes and policies of this section and to govern the proceedings of the commission under this section.

(15) In any civil action or administrative proceeding brought pursuant to this section, a finding that a person employed by the state or any governmental entity or agency has violated s. 760.10 shall as a matter of law constitute just or substantial cause for such person's discharge.

Sec. 760.21 Enforcement of act by attorney general

1) The Attorney General may commence a civil action for damages, injunctive relief, civil penalties not to exceed $10,000 per violation, and such other relief as may be appropriate under the laws of this state if the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that any person or group:

(a) Has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination as defined by the laws of this state; or

(b) Has been discriminated against as defined by the laws of this state and such discrimination raises an issue of great public interest.

(2) The Attorney General may file an action under this section in the circuit court of the county where the cause of action arises or in the circuit court of the Second Judicial Circuit, in and for Leon County.

(3) In any proceeding under this section, the respondent may request, before any responsive pleading is due, that a hearing be held no earlier than 5 days but no more than 30 days after the filing of the complaint, at which hearing the court shall determine whether the complaint on its face makes a prima facie showing that a pattern or practice of discrimination exists or that, as a result of discrimination, an issue of great public interest exists.

(4) The prevailing party in an action brought under this section is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

(5) Any damages recovered under this section shall accrue to the injured party. [Sec. 760.021, as enacted by H.B. 143a, L. 2003, effective June 18, 2003].

Sec. 760.40 Genetic testing; informed consent; confidentiality.

(1) As used in this section, the term "DNA analysis" means the medical and biological examination and analysis of a person to identify the presence and composition of genes in that person's body. The term includes DNA typing and genetic testing.

(2)

(a) Except for purposes of criminal prosecution, except for purposes of determining paternity as provided in s. 742.12(1), and except for purposes of acquiring specimens from persons convicted of certain offenses or as otherwise provided in s. 943.325, DNA analysis may be performed only with the informed consent of the person to be tested, and the results of such DNA analysis, whether held by a public or private entity, are the exclusive property of the person tested, are confidential, and may not be disclosed without the consent of the person tested. Such information held by a public entity is exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.

(b) A person who violates paragraph (a) is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(3) A person who performs DNA analysis or receives records, results, or findings of DNA analysis must provide the person tested with notice that the analysis was performed or that the information was received. The notice must state that, upon the request of the person tested, the information will be made available to his or her physician. The notice must also state whether the information was used in any decision to grant or deny any insurance, employment, mortgage, loan, credit, or educational opportunity. If the information was used in any decision that resulted in a denial, the analysis must be repeated to verify the accuracy of the first analysis, and if the first analysis is found to be inaccurate, the denial must be reviewed.

Sec. 760.50 Discrimination on the basis of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, acquired immune deficiency syndrome related complex, and human immunodeficiency virus prohibited.

(1) The Legislature finds and declares that persons infected or believed to be infected with human immunodeficiency virus have suffered and will continue to suffer irrational and scientifically unfounded discrimination. The Legislature further finds and declares that society itself is harmed by this discrimination, as otherwise able-bodied persons are deprived of the means of supporting themselves, providing for their own health care, housing themselves, and participating in the opportunities otherwise available to them in society. The Legislature further finds and declares that remedies are needed to correct these problems.

(2) Any person with or perceived as having acquired immune deficiency syndrome, acquired immune deficiency syndrome related complex, or human immunodeficiency virus shall have every protection made available to handicapped persons.

(3)

(a) No person may require an individual to take a human immunodeficiency virus-related test as a condition of hiring, promotion, or continued employment unless the absence of human immunodeficiency virus infection is a bona fide occupational qualification for the job in question.

(b) No person may fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual, segregate or classify any individual in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive that individual of employment opportunities or adversely affect his or her status as an employee, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of knowledge or belief that the individual has taken a human immunodeficiency virus test or the results or perceived results of such test unless the absence of human immunodeficiency virus infection is a bona fide occupational qualification of the job in question.

(c) A person who asserts that a bona fide occupational qualification exists for human immunodeficiency virus-related testing shall have the burden of proving that:

1. The human immunodeficiency virus-related test is necessary to ascertain whether an employee is currently able to perform in a reasonable manner the duties of the particular job or whether an employee will present a significant risk of transmitting human immunodeficiency virus infection to other persons in the course of normal work activities; and

2. There exists no means of reasonable accommodation short of requiring that the individual be free of human immunodeficiency virus infection.

(4)

(a) A person may not discriminate against an otherwise qualified individual in housing, public accommodations, or governmental services on the basis of the fact that such individual is, or is regarded as being, infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

(b) A person or other entity receiving or benefiting from state financial assistance may not discriminate against an otherwise qualified individual on the basis of the fact that such individual is, or is regarded as being, infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

(c) A person who asserts that an individual who is infected with human immunodeficiency virus is not otherwise qualified shall have the burden of proving that no reasonable accommodation can be made to prevent the likelihood that the individual will, under the circumstances involved, expose other individuals to a significant possibility of being infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

(d) A person may not fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual, segregate or classify any individual in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive that individual of employment opportunities or adversely affect his or her status as an employee, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of the fact that the individual is a licensed health care professional or health care worker who treats or provides patient care to persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

(5) Every employer who provides or administers health insurance benefits or life insurance benefits to its employees shall maintain the confidentiality of information relating to the medical condition or status of any person covered by such insurance benefits. Such information in the possession of a public employer is exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. An employer shall be liable in damages to any person damaged by its failure to implement such a procedure.

(6)

(a) Any person aggrieved by a violation of this section shall have a right of action in the circuit court and may recover for each violation:

1. Against any person who violates a provision of this section, liquidated damages of $1,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater.

2. Against any person who intentionally or recklessly violates a provision of this section, liquidated damages of $5,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater.

3. Reasonable attorney's fees.

4. Such other relief, including an injunction, as the court may deem appropriate.

(b) Nothing in this section limits the right of the person aggrieved by a violation of this section to recover damages or other relief under any other applicable law.

Sec. 760.51 Violations of constitutional rights, civil action by the Attorney General; civil penalty.

(1) Whenever any person, whether or not acting under color of law, interferes by threats, intimidation, or coercion, or attempts to interfere by threats, intimidation, or coercion, with the exercise or enjoyment by any other person of rights secured by the State Constitution or laws of this state, the Attorney General may bring a civil or administrative action for damages, and for injunctive or other appropriate relief for violations of the rights secured. Any damages recovered under this section shall accrue to the injured person. The civil action shall be brought in the name of the state and may be brought on behalf of the injured person. The Attorney General is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs if the Department of Legal Affairs prevails in an action brought under this section.

(2) Any person who interferes by threats, intimidation, or coercion, or attempts to interfere by threats, intimidation, or coercion, with the exercise or enjoyment by any other person of rights secured by the State Constitution or laws of this state is liable for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation. This penalty may be recovered in any action brought under this section by the Attorney General. A civil penalty so collected shall accrue to the state and shall be deposited as received into the General Revenue Fund unallocated.

Sec. 112.042. Discrimination prohibited in county and municipal employment.

(1) It is against the public policy of this state for the governing body of any county or municipal agency, board, commission, department, or office, solely because of the race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, or religious creed of any individual, to refuse to hire or employ, to bar, or to discharge from employment such individuals or to otherwise discriminate against such individuals with respect to compensation, hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, if the individual is the most competent and able to perform the services required.

(2)

(a) Any person, firm, corporation, association, or other group or body, jointly or severally, who is aggrieved by any decision, regulation, restriction, or resolution adopted by the governing body of any county or municipal agency, board, commission, or department which is an unlawful employment practice under this section may apply to such agency, board, commission, or department at any time for a modification or rescission thereof. If such modification or rescission is refused, any such person, firm, corporation, association or other group or body may, within 30 days after such refusal, but not thereafter, institute original proceedings for relief in the circuit court of the county.

(b) There is no right to apply to the court for relief on account of any order, requirement, decision, determination, or action of any county or municipal officer pursuant to this section unless there has first been an appeal therefrom to the governing agency, board, commission, or department to which such officer is responsible.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit alternative relief through local civil service systems and boards provided for in s. 14, Art. III of the State Constitution.

Age discrimination-state employment

Sec. 112.043.

It shall be the public policy of the state that no officer or board, whether state or county, shall discriminate in the employment of any person solely on the basis of age. Persons who apply for employment with the state or any county of the state shall be selected on the basis of training, experience, mental and physical abilities, and other selection criteria established for the position. Unless age restrictions have been specifically established through published specifications, available to the public, for a position, the employing authority shall give equal consideration to all applicants, regardless of age.

Members of the National Guard

Sec. 250.482. Troops ordered into state active service; not to be penalized by employers and postsecondary institutions.

(1) If a member of the National Guard is ordered into state active duty pursuant to this chapter, a private or public employer, or an employing or appointing authority of this state, its counties, school districts, municipalities, political subdivisions, career centers, community colleges, or universities, may not discharge, reprimand, or in any other way penalize such member because of his or her absence by reason of state active duty.

(2)

(a) Upon the completion of state active duty, a member of the National Guard shall promptly notify the employer of his or her intent to return to work.

(b) An employer is not required to allow a member of the National Guard to return to work under this section if:

1. The employer's circumstances have so changed as to make employment impossible or unreasonable;

2. Employment would impose an undue hardship on the 58 employer;

3. The employment from which the member of the National Guard leaves to serve in state active duty is for a brief, nonrecurrent period and there is no reasonable expectation that such employment will continue indefinitely or for a significant period; or

4. The employer had legally sufficient cause to terminate the member of the National Guard at the time he or she left for state active duty. The employer has the burden of proving the impossibility or unreasonableness, undue hardship, the brief or nonrecurrent nature of the employment without a reasonable expectation of continuing indefinitely or for a significant period, or the legally sufficient cause to terminate the person at the time he or she left for state active duty.

(c) A member of the National Guard who returns to work after serving on state active duty is entitled to:

1. The seniority that the member had at his or her place of employment on the date of the commencement of his or her state active duty and any other rights and benefits that inure to the member as a result of such seniority; and

2. Any additional seniority that the member would have attained at his or her place of employment if he or she had remained continuously employed and the rights and benefits that inure to the member as a result of such seniority.

(d) A member of the National Guard who returns to work after serving on state active duty may not be discharged from such employment for a period of 1 year after the date the member returns to work, except for cause.

(e) An employer may not require any National Guard member returning to employment following a period of state active duty service to use vacation, annual, compensatory, or similar leave for the period during which the member was ordered into state active duty. However, any such returning member shall, upon his or her request, be permitted to use, for the period during which the member was ordered into state active duty, any vacation, annual, compensatory, or similar leave with pay accrued by the member prior to the commencement of his or her state active duty service.

(3)If the Adjutant General certifies that there is probable cause to believe there has been a violation of this section, an employee ordered into state active duty so injured by a violation of this section may bring civil action against an employer violating this section in a court of competent jurisdiction of the county in which the alleged violator resides or has his or her principal place of business, or in the county wherein the alleged violation occurred. Upon adverse adjudication, the defendant is liable for actual damages or $500, whichever is greater. The prevailing party in any litigation proceedings is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and court costs.

(4)The certification of probable cause may not issued until the Adjutant General, or his or her designee, has investigated the issues. All employers and other personnel involved with the issues of such investigation must cooperate with the Adjutant General in the investigation.

Physically handicapped

Sec. 413.08.

(2) Any person, firm, or corporation, or the agent of any person, firm, or corporation, who denies or interferes with admittance to, or enjoyment of, the public facilities enumerated in subsection (1) or otherwise interferes with the rights of a deaf person, hard of hearing person, a totally or partially blind person, or an otherwise physically disabled person under this section, or the trainer of a dog guide or service dog while engaged in the training of such dog pursuant to subsection (7), is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083

(3) It is the policy of this state that the deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually handicapped, and otherwise physically disabled shall be employed in the service of the state or political subdivisions of the state, in the public schools, and in all other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds, and no employer shall refuse employment to the deaf, hard of hearing, blind, the visually handicapped, or the otherwise physically disabled on the basis of the disability alone, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the satisfactory performance of the work involved.

(4) [Subsection (4) dealing with discrimination in housing accommodations is not reproduced.]

(5) Any employer covered under subsection (3) who discriminates against the deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually handicapped, or otherwise physically disabled in employment, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the satisfactory performance of the work involved, or any person, firm, or corporation, or the agent of any person, firm, or corporation, providing housing accommodations as provided in subsection (4) who discriminates against the deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually handicapped, or otherwise physically disabled is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(6)

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term "physically disabled person" means any person having a physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term "hard of hearing person" means an individual who has suffered a permanent hearing impairment which is severe enough to necessitate the use of amplification devices to discriminate speech sounds in verbal communication.

Equal Pay

Sec. 448.07 Wage rate discrimination based on sex prohibited.

(1) DEFINITIONS. As used in this section, unless the context or subject matter clearly requires otherwise, the following terms shall have the meanings as defined in this section:

(a) "Employee" means any individual employed by an employer, including individuals employed by the state or any of its political subdivisions or instrumentalities of subdivisions.

(b) "Employer" means any person who employs two or more employees.

(c) "Wages" means and includes all compensation paid by an employer or his or her agent for the performance of service by an employee, including the cash value of all compensation paid in any medium other than cash.

(d) "Rate" with reference to wages means the basis of compensation for services by an employee for an employer and includes compensation based on time spent in the performance of such services, on the number of operations accomplished, or on the quality produced or handled.

(e) "Unpaid wages" means the difference between the wages actually paid to an employee and the wages required to be paid an employee pursuant to subsection (3).

(2) DISCRIMINATION ON BASIS OF SEX PROHIBITED.

(a) No employer shall discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees at a rate less than the rate at which he or she pays wages to employees of the opposite sex for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except when such payment is made pursuant to:

1. A seniority system;

2. A merit system;

3. A system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or

4. A differential based on any reasonable factor other than sex when exercised in good faith.

(b) No person shall cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against any employee in violation of the provisions of this section.

(3) CIVIL ACTION FOR UNPAID WAGES. Any employer or person who violates the provisions of this section 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. Nothing in this section allows a claimant to recover more than an amount equal to his or her unpaid wages while so employed for 1 year prior to the filing of the claim. An action to recover such liability may be maintained in any court of competent jurisdiction by the aggrieved employee within 6 months after termination of employment. The court in such action may award to the prevailing party costs of the action and a reasonable attorney's fee.

(4) Nothing in this section or in s. 725.07, relating to discrimination based on sex in providing equal pay for equal services performed, is applicable to any employer, labor organization or member thereof, or employee whose employer is subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended.

Sickle-cell

Sec. 448.075 Employment discrimination on basis of sickle-cell trait prohibited.

No person, firm, corporation, unincorporated association, state agency, unit of local government, or any public or private entity shall deny or refuse employment to any person or discharge any person from employment solely because such person has the sickle-cell trait.

Sec. 448.076 Mandatory screening or testing for sickle-cell trait prohibited.

No person, firm, corporation, unincorporated association, state agency, unit of local government, or any public or private entity shall require screening or testing for the sickle-cell trait as a condition for employment, for admission into any state educational institution or state-chartered private educational institution, or for becoming eligible for adoption if otherwise eligible for adoption under the laws of this state.

Sec. 448.08 Attorney's fees for successful litigants in actions for unpaid wages.

The court may award to the prevailing party in an action for unpaid wages costs of the action and a reasonable attorney's fee.

Public policy issues

Sec. 448.101 Definitions.


As used in ss. 448.101-448.105, the term:

(1) "Appropriate governmental agency" means any agency of government charged with the enforcement of laws, rules, or regulations governing an activity, policy, or practice of an employer.

(2) "Employee" means a person who performs services for and under the control and direction of an employer for wages or other remuneration. The term does not include an independent contractor.

(3) "Employer" means any private individual, firm, partnership, institution, corporation, or association that employs ten or more persons.

(4) "Law, rule, or regulation" includes any statute or ordinance or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to any federal, state, or local statute or ordinance applicable to the employer and pertaining to the business.

(5) "Retaliatory personnel action" means the discharge, suspension, or demotion by an employer of an employee or any other adverse employment action taken by an employer against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment.

(6) "Supervisor" means any individual within an employer's organization who has the authority to direct and control the work performance of the affected employee or who has managerial authority to take corrective action regarding the violation of law, rule, or regulation of which the employee complains.

Sec. 448.102 Prohibitions.
An employer may not take any retaliatory personnel action against an employee because the employee has:

(1) Disclosed, or threatened to disclose, to any appropriate governmental agency, under oath, in writing, an activity, policy, or practice of the employer that is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation. However, this subsection does not apply unless the employee has, in writing, brought the activity, policy, or practice to the attention of a supervisor or the employer and has afforded the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct the activity, policy, or practice.

(2) Provided information to, or testified before, any appropriate governmental agency, person, or entity conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry into an alleged violation of a law, rule, or regulation by the employer.

(3) Objected to, or refused to participate in, any activity, policy, or practice of the employer which is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation.

Sec. 448.103 Employee's remedy; relief.

(1)

(a) An employee who has been the object of a retaliatory personnel action in violation of this act may institute a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for relief as set forth in subsection (2) 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.

(b) Any civil action authorized under this section may be brought in the county in which the alleged retaliatory personnel action occurred, in which the complainant resides, or in which the employer has its principal place of business.

(c) An employee may not recover in any action brought pursuant to this subsection if he or she failed to notify the employer about the illegal activity, policy, or practice as required by s. 448.102(1) or if the retaliatory personnel action was predicated upon a ground other than the employee's exercise of a right protected by this act.

(2) In any action brought pursuant to subsection (1), the court may order relief as follows:

(a) An injunction restraining continued violation of this act.

(b) Reinstatement of the employee to the same position held before the retaliatory personnel action, or to an equivalent position.

(c) Reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority rights.

(d) Compensation for lost wages, benefits, and other remuneration.

(e) Any other compensatory damages allowable at law.

Sec. 448.104 Attorney's fees and costs.

A court may award reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, and expenses to the prevailing party.

Sec. 448.105 Existing rights.

This act does not diminish the rights, privileges, or remedies of an employee or employer under any other law or rule or under any collective bargaining agreement or employment contract.

Sex, Marital Status, Race Discrimination

Sec. 725.07.

(1) No person, as defined in Section 1.01(3) 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.

(2) Any violation of this section may be brought in the courts of this state by the individual upon whom the discrimination has been perpetrated in a civil action, and said individual shall be entitled to collect, not only compensatory damages, but, in addition thereto, punitive damages and reasonable attorney fees for a violation of this section.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998

Sec. 761.01.

This act may be cited as the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998."

Sec. 761.02. Definitions.

As used in this act:

(1) "Government" or "state" includes any branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official or other person acting under color of law of the state, a county, special district, municipality, or any other subdivision of the state.

(2) "Demonstrates" means to meet the burden of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.

(3) "Exercise of religion" means an act or refusal to act that is substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the religious exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.

Sec. 761.03. Protections.

(1) The government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:

(a) Is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and

(b) Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

(2) A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief.

Sec. 761.04. Costs and Fees.

The prevailing plaintiff in any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of this act is entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and costs to be paid by the government.

Sec. 761.05. Construction.

(1) This act applies to all state law, and the implementation of that law, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after the enactment of this act.

(2) State law adopted after the date of the enactment of this act is subject to this act unless such law explicitly excludes such application by reference to this act.

(3) Nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize the government to burden any religious belief.

(4) Nothing in this act shall be construed to circumvent the provisions of chapter 893, Florida Statutes.

(5) Nothing in this act shall be construed to affect, interpret, or in any way address that portion of s. 3, Art. I of the State Constitution prohibiting laws respecting the establishment of religion.

(6) Nothing in this act shall create any rights by an employee against an employer if the employer is not a governmental agency.

(7) Nothing in this act shall be construed to affect, interpret, or in any way address that portion of s. 3, Art. I of the State Constitution and Amendment 1 to the Constitution of the United States respecting the establishment of religion. This act shall not be construed to permit any practice prohibited by those provisions.

Negligent Hiring

Sec. 768.095 Employer immunity from liability; disclosure of information regarding former or current employees.

An employer who discloses information about a former or current employee to a prospective employer of the former or current employee upon request of the prospective employer or of the former or current employee is immune from civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the former or current employer was knowingly false or violated any civil right of the former or current employee protected under chapter 760.

Sec. 768.096 Employer presumption against negligent hiring.

(1) In a civil action for the death of, or injury or damage to, a third person caused by the intentional tort of an employee, such employee's employer is presumed not to have been negligent in hiring such employee if, before hiring the employee, the employer conducted a background investigation of the prospective employee and the investigation did not reveal any information that reasonably demonstrated the unsuitability of the prospective employee for the particular work to be performed or for the employment in general. A background investigation under this section must include:

(a) Obtaining a criminal background investigation on the prospective employee under subsection (2);

(b) Making a reasonable effort to contact references and former employers of the prospective employee concerning the suitability of the prospective employee for employment;

(c) Requiring the prospective employee to complete a job application form that includes questions concerning whether he or she has ever been convicted of a crime, including details concerning the type of crime, the date of conviction and the penalty imposed, and whether the prospective employee has ever been a defendant in a civil action for intentional tort, including the nature of the intentional tort and the disposition of the action;

(d) Obtaining, with written authorization from the prospective employee, a check of the driver's license record of the prospective employee if such a check is relevant to the work the employee will be performing and if the record can reasonably be obtained; or

(e) Interviewing the prospective employee.

(2) To satisfy the criminal-background-investigation requirement of this section, an employer must request and obtain from the Department of Law Enforcement a check of the information as reported and reflected in the Florida Crime Information Center system as of the date of the request.

(3) The election by an employer not to conduct the investigation specified in subsection (1) does not raise any presumption that the employer failed to use reasonable care in hiring an employee.

Sec. 1000.05. Discrimination against students and employees in the Florida K-20 public education system prohibited; equality of access required

(1) This section may be cited as the "Florida Educational Equity Act."

(2)

(a) Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status against a student or an employee in the state system of public K-20 education is prohibited. No person in this state shall, on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any public K-20 education program or activity, or in any employment conditions or practices, conducted by a public educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state financial assistance.

(b) The criteria for admission to a program or course shall not have the effect of restricting access by persons of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status.

(c) All public K-20 education classes shall be available to all students without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status; however, this is not intended to eliminate the provision of programs designed to meet the needs of students with limited proficiency in English, gifted students, or students with disabilities or programs tailored to students with specialized talents or skills.

(d) Students may be separated by gender for any portion of a class that deals with human reproduction or during participation in bodily contact sports. For the purpose of this section, bodily contact sports include wrestling, boxing, rugby, ice hockey, football, basketball, and other sports in which the purpose of major activity involves bodily contact.

(e) Guidance services, counseling services, and financial assistance services in the state public K-20 education system shall be available to students equally. Guidance and counseling services, materials, and promotional events shall stress access to academic, career and technical opportunities for students without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status.

(3)

(a) No person shall, on the basis of gender, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be treated differently from another person or otherwise be discriminated against in any interscholastic, intercollegiate, club, or intramural athletics offered by the public K-20 educational institution; and no public K-20 educational institution shall provide athletics separately on such basis.

(b) Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraph (a), a public K-20 educational institution may operate or sponsor separate teams for members of each gender if the selection for such teams is based upon competitive skill or the activity involved is a bodily contact sport. However, when a public K-20 educational institution operates or sponsors a team in a particular sport for members of one gender but does not operate or sponsor such a team for members of the other gender, and athletic opportunities for that gender have previously been limited, members of the excluded gender must be allowed to try out for the team offered.

(c) This subsection does not prohibit the grouping of students in physical education classes and activities by ability as assessed by objective standards of individual performance developed and applied without regard to gender. However, when use of a single standard of measuring skill or progress in a physical education class has an adverse effect on members of one gender, the educational institution shall use appropriate standards which do not have such effect.

(d) A public K-20 educational institution which operates or sponsors interscholastic, intercollegiate, club, or intramural athletics shall provide equal athletic opportunity for members of both genders. In determining whether equal opportunities are available, the Commissioner of Education shall consider, among other factors:

1. Whether the selection of sports and levels of competition effectively accommodate the interests and abilities of members of both genders.

2. The provision of equipment and supplies.

3. Scheduling of games and practice times.

4. Travel and per diem allowances.

5. Opportunities to receive coaching and academic tutoring.

6. Assignment and compensation of coaches and tutors.

7. Provision of locker room, practice, and competitive facilities.

8. Provision of medical and training facilities and services.

9. Provision of housing and dining facilities and services.

10. Publicity.

Unequal aggregate expenditures for members of each gender or unequal expenditures for make and female teams if a public K-20 educational institution operates or sponsors separate teams do not constitute nonimplementation of this subsection, but the Commissioner of Education shall consider the failure to provide necessary funds for teams for one gender in assessing equality of opportunity for members of each gender.

(e) A public K-20 educational institution may provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of gender, but such facilities shall be comparable to such facilities provided for students of the other gender.

(4) Educational institutions within the state public K-20 education system shall develop and implement methods and strategies to increase the participation of students of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status in programs and courses in which students of that particular race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status have been traditionally underrepresented, including, but not limited to, mathematics, science, computer technology, electronics, communications technology, engineering, and career and technical education.

(5) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to implement this section.

(6) The functions of the Office of Equal Educational Opportunity of the Department of Education shall include, but are not limited to:

(a) Requiring all district school boards, community college boards of trustees, and state university boards of trustees to develop and submit plans for the implementation of this section to the Department of Education.

(b) Conducting periodic reviews of public K-20 educational agencies to determine compliance with this section and, after a finding that an educational agency is not in compliance with this section, notifying the agency of the steps that it must take to attain compliance and performing follow-up monitoring.

(c) Providing technical assistance, including assisting public K-20 educational agencies in identifying unlawful discrimination and instructing them in remedies for correction and prevention of such discrimination and performing follow-up monitoring.

(d) Conducting studies of the effectiveness of methods and strategies designed to increase the participation of students in programs and courses in which students of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status have been traditionally under- represented and monitoring the success of students in such programs or courses, including performing follow-up monitoring.

(e) Requiring all district school boards, community college boards of trustees, and state university boards of trustees to submit data and information necessary to determine compliance with this section. The Commissioner of Education shall prescribe the format and the date for submission of such data and any other educational equity data. If any board does not submit the required compliance data or other required educational equity data by the prescribed date, the commissioner shall notify the board of this fact and, if the board does not take appropriate action to immediately submit the required report, the State Board of Education shall impose monetary sanctions.
(f) Based upon rules of the State Board of Education, developing and implementing enforcement mechanisms with appropriate penalties to ensure that public K-12 schools, community colleges, and state universities comply with the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and subsection (3) of this section. However, the State Board of Education may not force an educational agency to conduct, nor penalize an educational agency for not conduction, a program of athletic activity or athletic scholarship for female athletes unless it is an athletic activity approved for women by a recognized association whose purpose it to promote athletics and a conference or league exists to promote interscholastic or intercollegiate competition for women in that athletic activity.

(g) Reporting to the Commission of Education and district school board, community college board of trustees, or state university board of trustees found to be out of compliance with rules of the State Board of Education adopted as required paragraph (f) or paragraph (3)(d). To penalize the board, the State Board of Education shall:

1. Declare the educational agency ineligible for competitive state grants.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 216.192, direct the Comptroller to withhold general revenue funds sufficient to obtain compliance from the educational agency.

(7) A person aggrieved by a violation of this section or a violation of a rule adopted under this section has a right of action for such equitable relief as the court may determine. The court may also award reasonable attorney's fees and court costs to a prevailing party.

Login to read more.
 

HR CARE®
MEMBER LOGIN

Username: *

Password: *
Accept terms *
Login failed.
 
copyright 2000 - 2021 Curtis Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. | Access to the HR Care publications is subject to certain terms and conditions.
Learn about our online compliance training at www.hrclassroom.com