Florida Sexual Harassment laws & HR compliance analysis

Florida Sexual Harassment: What you need to know

The Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on sex, pregnancy, or marital status (FL Stat. § 760.01 et seq.).
Sexual harassment is considered a form of unlawful sex discrimination. The Act covers public and private employers with 15 or more employees.
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The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that being subjected daily to language and radio programs that were particularly offensive to women but not targeted at an employee can constitute a hostile work environment (Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., 594 F.3d 798 (11th Cir. 2010)). In this case, the employee claimed she was sexually harassed because daily workplace conversations, jokes, and a radio program listened to by employees were degrading to women. The employer argued that the alleged conduct was not directed at the employee, so it was not sexual harassment. The court reasoned that the alleged gender-specific profanity was more degrading to women than men and that the employee could proceed to trial.
Practical tip: With this decision, the 11th Circuit joins other circuits in concluding that a workplace permeated by sexually charged language can constitute a hostile work environment even when the language is not directed specifically at an employee. Enforcing harassment prevention policies that prohibit inappropriate conduct in the workplace may help employers avoid this type of harassment claim.
State executive agencies are specifically prohibited by law from engaging in sexual harassment (FL Stat. § 110.1221). The regulations of the state Department of Management Services define sexual harassment in state employment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other ...

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