Legislation Filed to Protect Pregnant Women from Discrimination

By: Lanetra Bennett
February 19, 2013

A new bill in Florida could protect Florida mothers-to-be from discrimination.

The measure (Senate Bill 774/House Bill 717) is intended to keep pregnant women from being discriminated against in the workplace.

Naeisha Sanders says she was fired from a group home in Florida while she was pregnant with her second child.

She says she was told there was no light duty. She says she was asked to leave immediately without pay, and was denied Family and Medical Leave and unemployment.

Sanders says, "At first, I didn't really know what was actually going on. it was like, okay, why is that? From that stand point on, it was very emotional for me, stressful. I didn't know what was going to happen next."

Sanders' daughter is now eight months old.

Florida Senator Geraldine Thompson and Representative Lori Berman say Sanders was discriminated against simply because she was pregnant.

They are sponsoring a bill they say will keep other moms-to-be from experiencing the same thing.

Sen. Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) says, "Many women work today because they are the sole bread-winners. They are the heads of their household. if a woman is physically able to do the job, she should not be dismissed. She should not be discriminated against solely because she is pregnant."

Lori Berman (D-Lantana) says, "It protects pregnant women and it also encourages people to have families in our state and to grow and nurture their careers and their families in our state."

The legislators say the bill would put Florida in compliance with federal law, saying Florida's discrimination law only refers to sex.

The lawmakers say the bill would:

--Clarify that discrimination based on sex includes women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or any condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.

--Provide for inclusion of compensatory and punitive damages in orders for discrimination cases.

--Extend number of days for completing discrimination investigations from 180 to 240 days.

The sponsors say the legislation will have no fiscal impact to the state or private sector.

Eyewitness News was unable to get a comment from the group home where Sanders worked because she would not give us the name.


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