Employment Discrimination in Florida

Employment discrimination against protected classes is illegal in Florida.

Federal and state law prohibit Florida employers from discriminating against employees based on certain characteristics, such as race or religion. (To learn more, see our page on employment discrimination and harassment.)

What Are the Protected Classes in Florida?

In all 50 states, federal law makes it illegal to discriminate based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • Disability
  • Age (40 and older)
  • Citizenship status
  • Genetic information

In addition, Florida state law also prohibits discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Disability: "Handicap"
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Sickle cell trait

Several cities in the U.S. have their own laws protecting additional characteristics or extending protection to more employees. For example, in Miami, it is illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Contact your local government to learn more.

Which Florida Employers Are Subject to the Antidiscrimination Laws?

Federal antidiscrimination laws apply to Florida employers with 15 or more employees, with the following exceptions:

  • age discrimination (employers with 20 or more employees)
  • citizenship status discrimination (employers with four or more employees), and
  • equal pay for men and women (all employers).

In Florida, companies with 15 or more employees are subject to the state's antidiscrimination law.

What Government Agency Regulates Workplace Discrimination in Florida?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that regulates workplace discrimination. You can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by calling 800-669-4000 or check out its website at www.eeoc.gov. The website will help you locate an EEOC field office in Florida.

The Commission on Human Relations enforces state antidiscrimination law in Florida. You can contact the Commission on Human Relations at 850-488-7082 or 800-342-8170 or go to its website.

For more information on employment discrimination, see The Manager's Legal Handbook, by attorneys Lisa Guerin and Amy DelPo (Nolo).

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