Florida Pregnancy Laws: 7 Laws you Need to Know About
This article will discuss pregnancy laws, maternity laws, and pregnancy discrimination laws in Florida, and seven reminders about this area of the law.
There’s No Mandatory Pregnancy Leave in the Sunshine State. Florida does not have a state law that requires employers to offer pregnancy leave. Even so, Florida employers covered by the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) must give the same leave benefits to pregnant women that are provided to employees with temporary disabilities.
Breastfeeding is Okay. State law requires that a mother be permitted to breastfeed her baby in any location—whether its public or private—wherever the mother is authorized to be. (The law says that breastfeeding is permitted regardless of whether the mother’s nipple is exposed during or incidental to the breastfeeding.)
Your Boss Can’t Fire You Because You’re Pregnant. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) states that your employer can’t discriminate against you in your job because you’re pregnant. This means that you can’t be fired, rejected for a job or promotion, given lesser assignments, or made to take leave for any of these reasons. But note that only businesses with 15 or more people are subject to the requirements of the PDA. So, if you work for a very small company, unfortunately, you’re not covered by the PDA’s protections.
The FMLA Can Help Pregnant Workers. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires companies with 50+ employees to allow 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave per year. FLMA leave can be used as maternity leave or for certain other medical conditions. In addition to the 50+ employee requirement, you can only use FMLA leave if you’ve been at your place of employment for over a year and have worked at least 1250 hours in that time. Also, under the FMLA your employer may require you to use accrued leave as part of your medical leave. This means that if you have several weeks saved up for vacation, you may be required to use some or all of those hours. (Note that if your boss requires you to use accrued leave for your maternity leave but doesn’t require this for employees who are using the FMLA leave for other reasons, this may be a case of discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.)
Can I use FMLA Leave for Prenatal Care? Yes. Pregnant employees are permitted to use FMLA leave for prenatal care and for times when they’re unable to work due to their condition, such as when a pregnant employee is suffering severe morning sickness or if her physician orders her on bed rest. In addition, new parents are able to use FMLA leave to care for and bond with their child. This parental leave is available for biological children, as well as adopted children and foster children.
Can I Be Asked About My Pregnancy or My Plans To Have Children in a Job Interview? In Florida, it’s illegal to ask women applicants if they have children or if they are planning to have a child in the future. (The question, “Are you married?” is also illegal.). Florida employers also are not permitted to discriminate against women based on their actual or potential future pregnancy status. So, “Are you pregnant?” should never be asked.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Discrimination Claim? The deadline for discrimination claims is short and it’s more complex than other types of lawsuits. That’s because you must file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for federal claims or the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) for state law claims. The clock starts on the date when the discrimination happened. You only have 300 days from the last act of discrimination to file a claim with the EEOC, and 365 days to file with the FCHR. This isn’t optional, you are required to file this claim with the appropriate agency before you can file a lawsuit in state or federal court—known as “filing a charge.” That is because the law says that these agencies have the authority to determine that you have a potential claim of discrimination.
If you filed your charge under Title VII (discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin), or under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) based on disability, you must have a Notice of Right To Sue from the EEOC before you can file a lawsuit in federal court. At that point, you and your employment law attorney can discuss how to proceed with your claim. You also have a deadline here: you have just 90 days from the EEOC’s Notice of Right to Sue within which to file a lawsuit in either state or federal court.
Contact an Experienced Employment Lawyer
If your employer has denied your pregnancy leave improperly or discriminated against you because of your pregnancy under state or federal law, you should speak with an experienced employment law attorney at Florin Gray. Our knowledgeable attorney can tell you whether your claim has merit and what steps to take to protect your rights. An FMLA lawyer at Florin Gray may be able to help you obtain compensation for your treatment and injuries.
At Florin Gray, our legal team is dedicated to the pursuit of justice for the people we represent. Our law firm has more than 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in employment law. We operate differently than many law firms and always put the best interests of our clients first. Contact Florin Gray today.