Private employers. The Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of the knowledge or perception that an individual has a disability. Disability is not expressly defined by the Act (FL Stat. Sec. 760.01 et seq.). The Act applies to all employers with 15 or more employees, including employment agencies and labor organizations.
Like the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Florida Act prohibits employers from basing a decision regarding recruitment, hiring, discharge, promotion, advancement, or the other terms and conditions of employment on the knowledge or perception that a person who is otherwise qualified to perform the job has a disability. Retaliation against employees who file discrimination complaints is also prohibited.
Although the ADA has similar provisions to the state law, amendments recently broadened the ADA's definition of "disability" and expressly changed the definition of a "regarded as" disability. Under the amended ADA, an individual is regarded as having an ADA disability if the individual is subjected to an adverse employment action (e.g., demotion, firing) because of an actual or perceived impairment. The impairment does not have to substantially limit a major life activity in order to meet the definition of a regarded as disability.
The courts in Florida look to federal law for guidance in the interpretation of the state human rights law. Therefore, the changes in the ADA are likely to affect decisions made by state courts in disability discrimination cases.
Public employers. The Florida Public Employment Discrimination Law applies to all state, municipal, and county employees and prohibits discrimination in public employment on ...