The goal of the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) of 1992 is to create a state free of discrimination based on race, color, creed, sex, nationality, age, disability, or sexual orientation. By preserving personal self-esteem, the state is able to extract maximum productivity from civilians, protect itself against domestic conflict and unrest, and maintain public security, health, and overall wellbeing. It also allows for the promotion of interests, rights, and benefits of individuals across the state. The Florida Civil Rights Act is patterned after Title VII, but has several significant differences that offer varying protections and options for victims of discrimination.
If you have reason to believe that you have been discriminated against in your employment, do not hesitate to contact an Orlando employment attorney. To learn about your legal rights and options, simply fill out our free, no-obligation consultation form.
Unlawful Employment Practices
There are many discriminatory employment policies set forth as illegal in the Florida Civil Rights Act, and some include the discharge, refusal to hire, or discrimination in any employment terms against any individual because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status. Employers may also not 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.
If an employee believes that they may be a victim of discrimination, the FCRA will provide 365 days for the employee to file a charge with the Commission on Human Relations, which was created by the Act. The commission then has 180 days to investigate and make a determination on the potential illegality of the allegations. There are three possible determinations:
Discrimination May Have Occurred: If the commission decides that a discriminatory practice may have occurred, the individual may be able to file a lawsuit or request an administrative hearing.
Discrimination Did Not Occur: If the commission decides there is no reasonable cause to believe a violation occurred, the aggrieved party may request an administrative hearing within 35 days or forfeits any claim. If the administrative law judge determines that a violation has occurred, he or she may create a remedy which must be accepted, rejected, or modified by the commission within 90 days. If the commission accepts this determination, the employee has one year to choose to accept these remedies or to file a lawsuit against the employer.
Unsure Whether Discrimination Occurred: If the commission is unable to determine whether illegal discrimination occurred, the rights of aggrieved parties are the same as a determination that there is reasonable cause to think a violation occurred.
Damages Under the Florida Civil Rights Act
Depending on the type and circumstances of discrimination, 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, any other intangible injuries, and punitive damages. While punitive damages are capped at $100,000, the FCRA does not cap compensatory damages for emotional trauma or pain and suffering.
Do you believe that you may have been discriminated against in your job or while applying for a job because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for any damages resulting from this discrimination. To receive a free consultation from an Orlando labor and employment attorney, do not hesitate to fill out our no-obligation, no-risk case review form.