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Can my employer fire me for being pregnant?

Florida law makes it illegal for employers to fire employees because they are pregnant. It is also illegal for employers to discriminate against women on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or adoption.

The rights of pregnant woman in Florida have been affirmed both by the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Human Rights Act.

Florida Supreme Court case affirms rights of pregnant women

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that firing an employee because she was pregnant was a violation of the Florida Human Rights Act, even though pregnancy was not a protected status at the time.

In Delva v. Continental Group, Inc., Peguy Delva claimed that her employer committed the following discriminatory actions against her based on her pregnancy and childbirth:

  • Conducted heightened scrutiny of her job performance
  • Refused to allow her to change shifts
  • Refused to allow her to work extra shifts
  • Refused to allow her to cover the shifts of other workers
  • Refused to schedule her for work after she returned from maternity leave

Florida Human Rights Act now protects pregnant employees

In 2015, Florida legislators amended the Human Rights Act so the law now specifically prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or adoption. The law makes it unlawful for an employer to fire or discriminate against pregnant employees with respect to hiring, compensation or terms of employment.

Unfortunately, some employers may try to find a way around the law by claiming a different reason for job termination. The distinctions between illegal pregnancy discrimination and legal employer actions can be subtle, and only an experienced employment lawyer can advise you if it makes sense to proceed with a legal case.

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