Employment Discrimination Cases

Below we have compiled a list of case law related to employment discrimination cases in Broward County and all of Florida. These cases can help if you are dealing with issues related to recovering damages in a employment discrimination dispute.

Florida Employment Discrimination Case Law:

Case Name: St. Johns County School District, Appeallant v. Charles F. O’Brien, Appelle

Court: District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

Plaintiff challenges a final order stating school district discriminated against defendant. Plaintiff is successful in challenging the order as defendant could not establish a prima facie case of disparate treatment discrimination based on the McDonell Douglas framework, which is followed by FLCRA of 1992. FLCRA of 1992 mirrors the ADA and also federal title 7. The Douglas framework requires a plaintiff to demonstrate that he has a disability, he is a qualified individual and that he or she has been discriminated against. Plaintiff in this case fails the first prong and cannot establish a prima facie case for discrimination.


Case Name: Cameshia Byrd, Appellant, v. BT Foods, INC., Appellees

Court: District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District

The case above asks if HIV can be construed to be a disability, even though under the Florida statute it is not explicitly listed in the statutory language. The act prohibits discrimination in employment. The act also includes the firing or refusal to hire by an employer based on race, color, religion sex, handicap and other similar factors. HIV may be considered to be a disability under the FCRA although, it is not explicitly stated in the statute. The virus impairs a substantial life function, in this case a woman’s ability to reproduce.


Case Name: Amy Carsillo, Appellant, v. City of Lake Worth, Appellee.

Court: District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District.

In this case a female firefighter brought suit against her city employer because she alleged pregnancy discrimination. Although, the FLCRA does not expressly in its language state pregnancy as a discriminatory cause of action, the courts have interpreted the statute to include such discrimination.   Pregnancy discrimination is considered sex discrimination under the federal act and as a result under the Florida act it is also viewed as a form of discrimination.


Case Name: Carl P. Greene, Jr., Appellant, v. Seminole Electric, Appellee.

Court: District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

Plaintiff alleges he was denied promotional opportunity because he was perceived as being obese by the SEC. Fl Stat. Section 760.10 is analyzed in combination with section 760.22 and the court states a handicap includes a perception of disability and the FCRA provides protection to those individual as well. The act protects those individuals who are actually handicapped but also should be construed to protect those that are perceived as being handicapped. Evidence in the case demonstrates that SEC perceived that Mr. Greene was in fact handicapped.


Case Name: Francis M. O'Loughlin, Sheriff of Saint Johns County, Florida, Appellant, v. Evelyn Pinchback, Appellee.

Court: District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.

Plaintiff was a correctional officer and was discharged after she reported to her supervisor that she was pregnant. The employer raised the BFOQ defense, however the court found the defense could not be raised as it was not in line with the essential functions of the her job. The BFOQ defense is available to an employer and an employer may discriminate if the discrimination allows for the normal operation of the business. Even while being pregnant the Plaintiff can still perform the same tasks as she did before she was pregnant.


Case Name: City of Hollywood, Florida, Appellant, v. Francis X. Hogan and Michael Springstun, Appellees

Court: District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District.

After passing a test for lieutenant applicants are ranked in order by the police department. Plaintiffs claim that they were denied promotional opportunity due to their age and file a complaint. Plaintiffs also bring suit for retaliation. The ADEA applies to cases involving age discrimination and the framework followed is McDonnell Douglas. Plaintiffs were able to establish a prima facie case for discrimination. They were also able to prove that the reason provided by their bosses for denial of promotional opportunity was merely a pretext.


Case Name: The Florida State University, Appellant, v. D. Paul Sondel, Appellee

Court: District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.

Defendant initially brought suit alleging disparate treatment but according to the appeal failed to demonstrate a prima facie case for intentional discrimination. FSU argues that the wrong analysis was used previously by the hearing officer and he instead had used an analysis for disparate impact discrimination which requires a higher burden of proof. Defendant Sondel in this case could not identify and isolate a practice which was causing discrimination and failed to meet the burden of proof under either theory according to the appeal. The case does a good comparison between disparate treatment and impact theories.


Case Name: Delva vs. The Continental Group

Court: Supreme Court of Florida

The supreme court rules that discriminating based on sex includes pregnancy discrimination. Plaintiff brought suit under 760.10 stating that she was discriminated against because she was pregnant. The lower court reasons that because FCRA does not specifically mention pregnancy in its statute as a protected class, without amendment plaintiff cannot bring a cause of action under the statute. The FCRA is construed liberally and includes pregnancy discrimination. The statutory intent of the FCRA was to mirror Title 7 under the federal law and as a result pregnancy discrimination is included.


Case Name: Maggio vs. FL Department of Labor

Court: Florida Supreme Court

Plaintiff files suit against defendant because she was discriminated unlawfully due to her blindness. The lower courts dismisses her claim because she did not provide proper pretrial notice as required for tort cases within the state of Florida. The court is asking if plaintiff needed to file pre-suit administrative requirements as well as pre suit tort requirements. Plaintiff only needs to file for pre – suit administrative requirements. Adding additional requirements would actually create a hindrance in the process followed to gain a remedy.


Case Name: Maldonado vs. Publix Supermarkets

Court: DCA Fourth Circuit

Plaintiff appeals an order denying her a remedy under the FCRA and the court affirms the lower court’s decision. The court discusses that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and an action may be brought under FL statute 760.10. The scope of the statute is broad enough to include hostile work environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment. The conduct displayed to plaintiff ultimately was not severe enough when analyzing factors such as frequency to the injured party. The incidents were too remote in time and were isolated incidents. Further, Publix supermarkets took the appropriate steps.


Case Name: Shirail Natson, Appellant, v. Eckerd, Appellee.

Court: DCA Fourth District

Plaintiff appeals a directed verdict which was originally in favor of Eckerd and the court reverses in favor of Plaintiff. The case states the appropriate elements to establish hostile work environment sexual harassment.

1. Member of a protected group

2. Subject of unwelcome harassment

3. harassment occurred because of his or her sex

4. harassment was severe and pervasive to alter terms of her employment.

An employer may be subject to vicarious liability if no action is taken. The verdict is reversed as Eckerd did not provide adequate corrective measures.


Case Name: Valenzuela v. Globeground LLC

Court: Third DCA

Female plaintiff brought suit against defendant claiming gender discrimination. On appeal the court notes that although, she was able to prove some elements of a prima facie case of discrimination she has failed on other elements. Plaintiff also was unable to demonstrate that her situation was similar to other male co-employees. She also has failed to prove that the provided reason for her firing was merely a pretext by a preponderance of the evidence and as a result cannot put forth the required burden of production.


Case Name: Telfair v. FedEx

Court: US District Court SD

Plaintiffs bring suit against FedEx on religious discrimination grounds and argue that FedEx failed to provide them with accommodations to observe their religious beliefs and also intentionally discriminated against them.   Discrimination can be proved by direct or indirect evidence. Plaintiffs use the McDonnell Douglas framework, but fail to satisfy the fourth element, that other employees who are similarly situated were treated more fairly. Even if Plaintiffs were able to build a prima facie case for discrimination, they have not provided evidence that the response provided by FedEx is merely a pretext.


Case Name: Alford v. Florida

Court: US District Court SD of Miami

Plaintiff brings suit for disparate treatment. Plaintiff does not have direct evidence to prove discrimination and relies on the Douglas framework. Plaintiff fails to satisfy the one element of the framework, as she cannot demonstrate that she was similarly situated to other employees. Plaintiff also relies on circumstantial evidence for discrimination and as a result cannot make out a prima facie case. For example she says her supervisor made the comment “ you people” but she admits that that comment may have or may not have a racial intent.


Case Name: Ridaught v. Florida Highway Patrol

Court: Supreme Court of Florida

Plaintiff was denied opportunity with the Florida Highway Patrol because he was greater than 35 years of age. Plaintiff appealed. Plaintiff(Appellant) was previously put on notice of the age requirement before he applied to the position. Such requirements were specifically established by specifications available by the state of Florida. As a result, he was barred from brining his discrimination claim. Plaintiff was not treated differently than anyone else. The department has the authority to reinstate employees who have left and it may deny them reinstatement, such as in this case.


Case Name: St. Louis vs. FIU

Court: District Court of Appeal Third District

Plaintiff sues FIU for racial discrimination, but is unable to satisfy McDonnell Douglas framework. On appeal the court notes that Plaintiff did not meet the Douglas framework as the court improperly analyzed the prong dealing with similarly situated individuals. The court states that a verdict must have a rational predicate. Plaintiff creates comparisons which are not justified and he also fails to establish a retaliation claim, as he lacks proper causation, creating the lack of a prima facie case.


Case Name: Johnson v. Great Expressions

Court: District Court of Appeal Third District

Plaintiff files a complaint for disparate treatment discrimination, but is unable to satisfy the burden of establishing the fourth prong of the Mcdonell Douglas framework which is that another individual similarly situated to her received better treatment. The court indicates that plaintiff was not similarly situated and in fact had a different supervisor as well as different disciplinary issues and different responses to them over a longer time period. As a result, plaintiff fails the fourth prong and cannot establish a prima facie case.


Case Name: Stevens vs. Steak and Shake

Court: United States District Court MD, Florida

Plaintiffs file a complaint against Steak and Shake. Plaintiffs allege that the fast food franchise required them to prepay for their food. Steak and Shake strictly prohibits this policy, however due to walk outs on that day the server requested prepayment of all customers. Plaintiff is unable to demonstrate a causal link or motive relating to prepayment of the food item and racial discrimination. Plaintiffs are not able to demonstrate that they were treated any differently from any other customers.


Case Name: McCaw Cellular vs. Kwiatek

Court: United States District Court of Florida Fourth District.

Plaintiff is diagnosed with HIV and files a complaint against defendant for handicap discrimination. The lower court awards him damages and the court of appeals reverses as he cannot demonstrate discrimination. The court finds that Plaintiff cannot demonstrate that he experienced severe hostility or abusive conduct. The court analyzes federal law to make this determination. The employer did in fact provide the defendant with several accommodations due to his condition.


Case Name: Miami Dade v. Eghbal

Court: United States District Court of Florida Third district.

Plaintiff a 69 year old is consistently denied promotional opportunity. Plaintiff is able to prove that he satisfied a prima facie case for age discrimination, establishing all prongs. Plaintiff also files suit that he suffered retaliation by the county. The individual participated in statutorily protected activity, was later denied a promotion, and also a causal connection exists between him filing for relief and the end result. The trial courts motion to deny the directed verdict is affirmed by the appeals court.


Source: Google Scholar

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