Pregnancy Discrimination in Florida For Employers
Serving You and The State of Florida
As an employer in Florida, there are various anti-discrimination guidelines that you need to follow to be sure that you are not breaking the law. There is federal law associated with these kinds of practices, as well as Florida law.
While Florida law reflects federal law in most cases, there are some unique provisions that business owners in Florida need to be aware of when they are interacting with members of their staff who are pregnant.
If you have been sued for pregnancy discrimination in Florida, you need to reach out to the employment lawyers Lopez Law Group today. The team at Lopez Law has years of experience making sure that businesses can defend themselves against unfair accusations and lawsuits.
You can trust our team at Lopez Law to help you handle some of the issues that come up during pregnancy discrimination, keeping your business safe and ensuring that you are not stuck with a major issue along the way.
What is Pregnancy Discrimination?
The state of Florida defines pregnancy discrimination as any act that is taken by an employer with 15 or more employees against anyone related to hiring, firing, or lay-offs due to this employee being pregnant.
Pregnant employees cannot be released from work due to being pregnant, and they cannot be denied benefits or time off related to the pregnancy either. This is one of the most complex parts of the civil rights laws that are relevant federally and also in the state of Florida.
Companies who find themselves accused of having behaved with discrimination against a pregnant member of their staff need to be sure that they have access to skilled legal counsel. These kinds of cases can cause the business to lose its reputation and can lead to years of wrangling in and out of court.
The cost of legal representation for this kind of case can be quite steep as well if the case is not presented properly.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect those in the workforce who need to take time off related to pregnancy and childbirth. This was formerly a reason that staff might be released from their hiring contract without notice, leading to issues that needed to be addressed.
Businesses cannot get around this law, and they should be aware of the rights of protected groups under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well.
Pregnancy is also protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). This is a “public law” which was created to help protect classes of people who were not represented before and who were discriminated against consistently in the workplace.
The various different protections that are offered to pregnant staff members means that it can be quite a serious accusation when someone brings suit against your company for this kind of discrimination. Being able to prove that no such actions were taken is key and requires that the case be carefully researched and presented.
The team at Lopez Law Group has years of experience defending businesses against unfair claims related to pregnant staff members. Layoffs and some other forms of business activities can lead to a misinterpretation of former employees, which might make them think that they were singled out due to their status as a pregnant person.
Careful research into these cases is essential to help support and prove the lawful actions of your company.
What Can a Lawyer Do to Help With Pregnancy Discrimination Cases?
If your business has been accused of acting in a prejudiced or discriminatory way toward a pregnant person, you will want to work with a skilled legal team to support your side of the story. The team at Lopez Law Group will take the time to fully research the circumstances related to the situation and make sure that your side of the story can be presented correctly in court or during settlement proceedings.
There is always a lot of information that needs to be looked at related to discrimination cases, and getting the details laid out correctly is key for your side of the case.Your lawyer will take the time to prepare the evidence to clear your name and they will work hard during negotiations in the settlement phase to seek a fair and equitable settlement.
In some cases, the research that is done will turn up evidence that the staff member’s claims are spurious and incorrect, and the case might even be dismissed. However, if the staff person and you as the business owner cannot come to a settlement agreement, your case will progress to court.
When a judge hears your case, your legal representative will make sure that all the facts are presented to show the correct legal actions that your business took. Being sure that the complete picture is presented to the judge is key to the success of these kinds of cases.
The team at Lopez Law Group will work hard to be sure that no stone is left unturned and that no detail is left out of the trial information that is put before a judge.
In many cases, businesses are assumed to be guilty from the start of discrimination cases. A skilled legal team will need to refute this assumption and make sure that a thorough and complete case is presented to the judge who will be making a decision about the case. The better your legal representation, the easier it is to have a strong defense in the case.
Are Employers in Florida Required to Pay Maternity Leave?
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees who are pregnant are allowed paid time off for maternity leave. The required timeframe is up to twelve weeks for pregnancy-related reasons. Employees can opt to take less time than this, but they are allowed to ask for the full four months if they wish.
This leave and absence is covered under the Florida Leave Laws, which also cover medical leave. There are typically requirements that the employee must meet before they can access these benefits, such as time in employment and a full-time work schedule.
You might also be required to grant unpaid pregnancy leave to people who are pregnant if they do not meet the requirements for paid leave. The protected health items that qualify for leave are:
- Childbirth recovery
- Loss of end of pregnancy
- Prenatal care
- Postnatal care
- Related medical conditions to the pregnancy
- Severe morning sickness
These items are part of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which all states must abide by. FMLA protects employees from losing their jobs due to medical issues that they could not foresee and which require some time away from work. Under these guidelines, no employer can deny an employee their right to take medical leave so long as they qualify to take it.
Employees who ask for leave beyond the covered leave under FMLA, however, can be released from their contract and let go. This is one of the areas where having a legal team on hand can be very helpful. You do not want to make a mistake related to FMLA policies at your business and find out that your former or current employee has sued you due to your error.
Pregnancy Discrimination Can Lead to Significant Legal Challenges for Employers In Florida
If you have been sued for pregnancy discrimination in the state of Florida, you need to reach out to the team at Lopez Law Group right away. Getting the best skilled legal support for your case can be the difference between a favorable outcome to the case or one that damages your company’s reputation and costs a lot of money in settlement fees.
The team at Lopez Law has years of experience caring for the legal needs of businesses in Florida. Contact us today to get the legal advice and skill that you need when handling a pregnancy discrimination case.
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