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Pregnant women and workplace discrimination in Florida

Unfortunately, Florida is a state that does not have specific discrimination laws to protect pregnant women at work. However, workplace discrimination laws protecting pregnant women are currently being considered by lawmakers in the state capital. At this time, there are laws that protect employees from discrimination and wrongful termination on the basis of sex, race and other classifications. Adding further protections for pregnant women will benefit soon-to-be mothers across the state.

In one scenario, a woman was working at a restaurant while she was pregnant. As her pregnancy advanced, her employer eventually told her that she had become too big to continue working there. Situations like this are common in Florida, and they are unfair -- especially considering how important it is for many pregnant women to earn a living and save money for the future care of their babies.

At this time, Florida courts do not always rule the same on pregnancy discrimination matters, and this is why it is important to clearly define the protections that these women have. New laws may eliminate the confusion over whether pregnancy discrimination is unlawful in the state. According to one women's rights activist, providing protections to working pregnant women is a reform that should have been carried out years ago. So far, the bill has passed the Senate Committee. However, there are opponents who claim pregnant women already receive sufficient protection under Florida law and federal law, making further legislation unnecessary.

An amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Under federal law, a pregnant woman has the right to be treated in the same way that other job applicants or employees in the same or similar employment positions are treated. Therefore, some level of protection is available to women who are expecting, and hopefully, the state of Florida will soon add to those protections. As such, if any soon-to-be mother in Florida believes that she has been discriminated against and/or terminated from a job solely due to her pregnancy, justice may be possible under current laws. By successfully litigating a workplace discrimination claim, pregnant women may be able to receive compensation for lost income and other financial injuries incurred.

Source: wjhg.com, You Can't Discriminate Against Pregnant Women, No author, Jan. 15, 2014

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