Pregnancy Discrimination in Florida FAQs

Does a person have to disclose they are pregnant to their employer in Florida?

As a legal matter, a worker is not required to reveal pregnancy to their employer or potential employer unless they are requesting accommodation for that pregnancy or seeking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. As a practical matter, at some point, if you fail to discuss your pregnancy with your employer, they may become concerned about your lack of candor.

Does an employer have to pay an employee during pregnancy leave in Florida?

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)requires covered employers to provide the same benefit to pregnant employees as they would to employees who have temporary disabilities. If the employer pays those employees, then they would also need to pay employees on pregnancy leave. However, this is rare. Florida does not have a statute requiring pregnancy leave, so remedies are only available under federal law.

Are men eligible for pregnancy leave in Florida?

Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a man would be able to take leave to care for a spouse who is “incapacitated” by a disability during pregnancy, but he would not be able to take leave for the pregnancy for himself. After the birth of the child, men covered under the FMLA should be able to take leave for childcare. Additionally, if an employer provides parental leave for women, male employees are also entitled to the same parental leave options.

What are some examples of discrimination based on pregnancy?

Sometimes, an employer will openly state that they are denying an opportunity based on expectations surrounding pregnancy. If a boss says that would have given you a promotion except that they knew you wouldn’t want more responsibilities when you’re dealing with a baby, that is an example of pregnancy discrimination.

Any action that harms your employment position can constitute discrimination if that decision was based on your pregnancy. Firing you or cutting back hours based on the assumption that you won’t want to work because pregnancy or child rearing would be further examples of pregnancy discrimination. Making offensive jokes or calling you rude names based on your pregnant condition would be examples of pregnancy-based harassment, which is a form of illegal discrimination.

Can my employer fire me if I become temporarily unable to do my job because I am pregnant in Florida?

If your employer is subject to federal requirements, they are obligated to provide alternative, “light duty” assignments for pregnant employees who are not able to perform regular job duties if they offer similar accommodations to other employees with health conditions that prevent them from performing regular duties. In situations where light duties are not desired or not an option, an employer subject to federal requirements must grant leave.

Can my employer require me to provide a doctor's note before giving me maternity leave in Florida?

While the FMLA does not require an employee to give the employer access to medical records, the employer may ask for certification of the health condition the employee is requesting leave for.

Are males protected from discrimination if they become fathers?

Federal and Florida laws do not currently provide specific protection for discrimination based on parental status. However, gender-based discrimination provisions require employers to treat male employees with children the same way they treat female employees with children. For example, if an employer provides female employees time off to attend meetings at a child’s school, the employer should also provide time off for male employees attending school meetings.

Is it illegal for a pregnant woman to discriminate against or harass someone with a similar medical condition in Florida?

Pregnancy does not grant anyone special status. The laws are designed to ensure equal treatment. That means pregnant women who commit acts of illegal discrimination for any reason—including pregnancy—are still held accountable for those violations.

Is it illegal for someone to discriminate against or harass certain pregnant women, but not others in Florida?

Yes. It may be difficult to prove a pattern of discriminatory behavior if an employer illegally discriminates against some pregnant employees but not others, but that discriminate remains illegal nonetheless.

Can an employer discriminate against unmarried women who become pregnant in Florida?

Marital status and pregnancy are both protected factors under many federal laws, and marital status is also protected under Florida law. Employers governed by those laws are not allowed to discriminate against a women on the basis of her marital status or pregnancy, and discriminating against a pregnant unmarried woman would violate both of those provisions.