Federal law already protects women from being fired at work for being pregnant, but two female legislators think that Florida needs to provide more protection.
Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, and Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, have filed legislation (SB 774 and HB 717) that would allow pregnant women to sue and collect up to $100,000 if they were discriminated against by their bosses because of pregnancy. “We want to make sure women are not terminated, that they are not discriminated against, because they are pregnant,” said Thompson at a press conference Tuesday..
Though federal law protects women from being fired for being pregnant, a Florida appellate court recently ruled women have no protections under Florida law. The plaintiff, a front-desk manager for a real-estate property management firm, said her employer did nothing to accommodate her pregnancy and that, after she gave birth, she was not rehired.
The legislators said their bills were filed at the urging of the Florida Commission on Human Rights, which investigates complaints of workplace discrimination. One provision of the bill would extend the time the commission has to investigate claims from 180 to 240 days.
Thompson said she is unsure of what kind of opposition the bills will face from businesses. The bills have not been referred to any committees yet.