The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that employment discrimination against pregnant women is illegal in the Sunshine state. The case came about after a pregnant woman sued her employer after being subjected to discrimination on the basis of her pregnancy.
Peguy Delva, a front desk manager at Continental Inc., alleged that her supervisor started scrutinizing her work harshly after she announced her pregnancy, and refused to allow her to change her shifts or work extra shifts. Continental also refused to schedule her for work after maternity leave.
The Third District Court of Appeals found ample evidence that Ms. Delva was the victim of discrimination. However, the Third DCA found that the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA) did not specifically prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy.
Ms. Delva appealed her case to the Florida Supreme Court. The Court considered the text of the FCRA, especially the clause which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The Supreme Court ruled that because pregnancy is a condition unique to the female sex, discrimination based on pregnancy is in fact discrimination based on sex, which is therefore illegal under the FCRA. From now on, pregnant women in Florida will have a basis for a lawsuit if they have been discriminated against on the basis of their pregnancy.