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Know the Laws: Florida

UPDATED April 12, 2017

Workplace Protections

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Florida state law provides employment protections for domestic violence victims who need to take time off from work to handle issues related to domestic violence.

What your employer can and cannot do

back to topIs it legal if my employer harasses me or tells co-workers about my situation?

No. Your employer cannot fire you, harass you, put you at a lower-ranked position, or punish you in any way, for asking for this time off or for taking this time off.*

Also, the law requires your employer to keep your domestic violence situation confidential.**  For example, your employer cannot tell your co-workers, your clients, or other employers that you took time off to deal with domestic violence.  Your employer also cannot disclose (cannot talk about or write about) the reason for your time off.  S/he must also keep private any documents that you give him/her that relate to your domestic violence situation.

* Fla. Stat. § 741.313(5)(b)
** Fla. Stat. § 741.313(4)(c)

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back to topAfter taking time off from work under this law, I was one of many people laid off by my employer. Is this legal?

The law says that your employer cannot fire you or punish you because you took off time from work to address your domestic violence issues.  However, your employer can still fire you or punish you for other valid reasons (such as budget cuts, not doing your job well, or reasons that have nothing to do with your domestic violence situation).*

Note: Sometimes, an employer will offer a “fake” reason for firing someone to hide the real reason.  If you have facts or evidence that: (1) your employer is not being truthful about why s/he fired you, and (2) that the real reason s/he fired you was because you took off time for domestic violence issues, then you might want to contact an attorney who specializes in employment discrimination or the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

* Fla. Stat. § 741.313(5)(c)

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back to topIf I am subpoenaed to testify in a domestic violence case, can my employer fire me?

If you are absent from work because you were subpoenaed (ordered by the court) to testify in court in a domestic violence case, then your employer cannot fire you for your absence.  This applies whether you were the victim of domestic violence or a witness to domestic violence.  You also cannot be fired based on the content of your testimony (what you stated in court).*

* Fla. Stat. § 92.57 

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WomensLaw.org thanks Suzanne Estrella, Managing Attorney at Florida Legal Services for her help in reviewing this information.

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