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, and
  • 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, and
  • sickle cell trait.

Florida's state law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, several cities and counties in Florida do prohibit these forms of discrimination. Also, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is currently accepting discrimination complaints based on sexual orientation and gender identity, on the grounds that they qualify as illegal "sex" discrimination under federal law. This view is being challenged through the courts; however, the matter is far from settled.

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. (To learn more, see our article on filing an EEOC charge of discrimination.)

The Commission on Human Relations enforces state antidiscrimination law in Florida. You can contact the Commission on Human Relations at 850-488-7082 or visit its website to learn more on how to file a complaint.

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