anti-discrimination

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Today, there’s no Florida law on the books to protect pregnant women from workplace discrimination. For months, the Florida Supreme Court grappled with that decision, and Thursday, they ruled employers can’t discriminate against pregnant women under the state’s civil rights act. But, one lawmaker says that still needs to be codified in state law.

For more than 30 years, pregnancy has been protected from employer discrimination under federal law. But, in the Sunshine state, it’s a different story.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

One Florida bill bars employers from discriminating against people who are gay or transgendered. But despite strong business community support, it never saw the light of debate this year.  

The chances of passing the Florida Competitive Workforce Act were promising by several measures. 

First, it has bi-partisan sponsorship.

Then there’s broad public support, according to a 2013 public opinion survey.

"Non-discrimination now" sign
Serena Epstein via Flickr

Bills before the Legislature this session are aimed at ending discrimination against pregnant women and LGBT people. The measures are among several aimed at fairness and equality—but the biggest hurdle for some of them may be getting a first hearing.

Committees in both chambers have passed one bill with little debate or opposition. It would add pregnant women to the protected classes covered under Florida’s Civil Rights Act. When the same measure didn’t pass last year, Lori Berman (D-Lantana) told reporters she’d be sponsoring it again.  

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Just a day after a pair of Democratic lawmakers announced they were filing bills to make pregnancy discrimination illegal, Florida’s Supreme Court took up the issue Thursday.

Holly Raschein via Twitter

As the U.S. Senate prepares to pass a bill banning discrimination against gay and transgendered workers, a similar piece of legislation has been filed by Florida lawmakers. The bill has failed many times before in Florida, but sponsors insist this year is different.

Florida law already prohibits employers, landlords and providers of goods and services from discriminating against someone or harassing them because of their race, religion or other attributes. The bill adds gender identity and sexual orientation to that list.

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