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Florida supreme court rules discrimination against pregnant women violates state law

[JURIST] The Florida Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that employers cannot discriminate against pregnant women under Florida state law. The court held that the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA) [text], which makes it "an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate based on an individual," includes discrimination based on pregnancy, which is a natural condition and primary characteristic unique to the female sex. In making its decision, the court focused on previous case law and legislative intent. The case arose after plaintiff Peguy Delva filed a lawsuit against her former employer, alleging that The Continental Group, Inc. conducted heightened scrutiny of her work, refused to allow her to change shifts, refused to allow her to cover other workers' shifts, and refused to schedule her for work after she returned from maternity leave. The court's analysis is similar to analyses taken by the First, Third, and Fourth District Courts of Appeal [official websites].

Although Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [text] only prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, nationality, religion, age or disability, workplace discrimination laws have also expanded recently to include pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender under the prohibition against discrimination based on "sex." Under federal law, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) [text], an amendment to Title VII, prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Last year the US Senate approved a bill outlawing workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) [text] outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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