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Eleventh Circuit Holds that the Florida Civil Rights Act Does Not Prohibit Associational Discrimination

By Robert Sniffen posted 07-06-2021 00:36

  

In an important decision for Florida employers, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the Florida Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”) does not prohibit disability discrimination based on association.

Carolina Matamoros, brought suit against her former employer, the Broward County Sherriff’s Office alleging that she was discriminated against because of her association with her son, who suffered from severe asthma. Matamoros took FMLA leave in March 2016. To spend more time caring for her son, Matamoros then applied for a part-time position, to which she was not selected. After being denied additional FMLA leave, Matamoros filed a discrimination charge and eventually a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination based on her association with her son, who has a disability.

In its opinion, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment order dismissing the plaintiff’s discrimination lawsuit finding that the FCRA does not prohibit associational discrimination because the plain language of the law simply does not state that it does. The Court emphasized that it did not wish to expand state law and interpret it differently than Florida courts. 

A copy of the decision can be found here: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca11/19-13448/19-13448-2021-06-25.html

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