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Tampa Personal Injury Lawyers / Blog / Employment Law / Florida Appeals Court Split on Whether an Employee Must State Violations of the FCRA in Discrimination Suit

Florida Appeals Court Split on Whether an Employee Must State Violations of the FCRA in Discrimination Suit


Two Florida appellate courts have split on a decision regarding pleadings in discrimination cases brought at the state level. This could tee up the matter for the Florida Supreme Court to decide whether or not an employee must make specific pleadings in their discrimination lawsuit. As it stands, the Second District Court of Appeals (Tampa) has ruled that an employee does not have to explicitly state violations of the Florida Civil Rights Act in a lawsuit filed against an employer. Meanwhile, the Fourth District Court of Appeals (Palm Beach) requires employees and their attorneys to file specific violations in their lawsuits. As it stands, the rules are more worker-friendly in Tampa and more business-friendly in Palm Beach.

The Fourth District ruled that employees were required to give explicit notice of potential Florida employment violations so that employers could better prepare their defense. The Second District ruled that cases did not have to mention specific state laws so long as the pleading checked boxes on certain legal topics covered in the Florida Civil Rights Act.

Understanding the case 

According to the plaintiff, he was a line cook with a restaurant and worked roughly 30 hours a week. He got into a car accident which required him to miss some time from work. When he returned, his hours were cut from 30 hours a week to 6 hours a week and he was reassigned to a janitorial position. He filed a lawsuit against his employer on the basis of race and disability discrimination. The lawsuit was initially dismissed on the grounds that the employee did not make any specific references to violations of the Florida Civil Rights Act in his pleading. However, the decision was overturned on appeal when the Second District Court of Appeals ruled that he didn’t have to.

This has created a schism under the law with different districts requiring different pleadings for employment discrimination suits brought under state law. As it stands, lawsuits filed in Tampa do not require plaintiffs to make specific allegations of violations of the Florida Civil Rights Act. Those filed in Palm Beach County, however, do. The matter could be decided by the Florida Supreme Court standardizing the rule for all plaintiffs.

If the Florida Supreme Court sides with the Palm Beach district, then employees will need to make specific pleadings of violations under the FCRA. This could make it more difficult for plaintiffs to file lawsuits and require more effort from their attorneys when preparing claims. Ultimately, plaintiffs will still have a right to file discrimination lawsuits under Florida’s state rules regardless. But it could cost them more money to file such claims and require greater effort from their attorneys in terms of hours spent preparing the claims.

Talk to a Tampa, FL Employment Discrimination Attorney Today 

Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC represents the interests of employees filing discrimination claims under state or federal law. Call our Tampa employment lawyers today to schedule a free consultation, and we can begin preparing your claim right away.



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