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Senate panel moves bill to add pregnant women as protected class

Under current law, pregnant workers are supposed to be protected from being fired, turned down for employment, or otherwise discriminated against just because they’re pregnant. But it still happens.

Here in Florida, state law protects many different groups of people from discrimination, but one group not part of that protected class is pregnant women.

That would change under a bill being sponsored by Orlando Democratic state Sen. Geraldine Thompson. Thursday morning in the Senate Rules Committee, the panel unanimously approved her bill, SB 982, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy in public lodging, restaurants and places of public accommodation, as well as prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.

Kim Hanley said she wishes the law was already in place.

She told the committee that how her daughter has had two miscarriages in the past couple of years, the most recent in January. She said her daughter’s employer refused to allow her to take time off during her pregnancy, even though her doctor demanded she get rest. A couple of days after that, Hanley said, her daughter miscarried her child.

There were no objections from the other members of the Senate. Although seemingly a no-brainer, Thompson introduced the bill last year, where the Senate voted for it unanimously, but it never cleared the House.

There is a companion bill, HB 625, in the Florida House this year sponsored by Delray Beach Democrat Lori Berman.

 

 

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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