Employment Discrimination in Florida

Employment discrimination against protected classes is illegal in Florida.

Updated by , J.D., University of Missouri School of Law

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 Types of Discrimination Are Prohibited 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)
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • disability
  • age (40 and older)
  • citizenship status, and
  • genetic information.

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

  • marital status
  • AIDS/HIV status, and
  • sickle cell trait.

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 Is the Process for Filing an Employment Discrimination Claim in Florida?

In the state of Florida, you can file your employment discrimination claim with either:

  • the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or
  • the Florida Commission on Human Rights (FCHR).

These agencies have a work-sharing agreement, meaning that you can file your claim with one and request that it be cross-filed with the other agency.

In a small minority of cases, these agencies will conduct an investigation into your claim, issue findings, and assess penalties against your employer.

In most cases, however, the agency will issue a "right to sue" letter that allows you to file a lawsuit against your employer in court. Without such a letter, your suit will be dismissed.

    How Much Time Do You Have to File an Employment Discrimination Claim in Florida?

    To file a federal discrimination charge with the EEOC, you have 300 days from the date of the most recent incident of discrimination. Florida state law gives you 365 days to file a charge with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR).

    Missing either of these deadlines will result in your claim being dismissed, so don't delay.

    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 Florida 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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