Florida Senate - 2018 SB 1828 By Senator Rodriguez 37-00744A-18 20181828__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to employment discrimination; creating 3 s. 448.077, F.S.; providing definitions; prohibiting 4 an employer from taking retaliatory personnel action 5 against an employee who has left a place of employment 6 to evacuate under an mandatory evacuation order; 7 providing exceptions; providing employee remedies and 8 relief; providing for attorney fees and costs; 9 providing applicability; providing an effective date. 10 11 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 12 13 Section 1. Section 448.077, Florida Statutes, is created to 14 read: 15 448.077 Employment discrimination on basis of participation 16 in mandatory evacuation prohibited.— 17 (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 18 (a) “Emergency” has the same meaning as defined in s. 19 252.34. 20 (b) “Mandatory evacuation order” means an official 21 statement issued by the President of the United States, the 22 Governor, or a political subdivision of this state to mandate 23 the evacuation of all or part of the population of an area 24 stricken or threatened by an emergency. 25 (c) “Emergency personnel” means a law enforcement officer 26 as defined in s. 943.10, a firefighter as defined in s. 633.102, 27 an emergency medical technician or paramedic as defined in s. 28 401.23, or other individuals who are required, in the course and 29 scope of their employment, to provide services for the benefit 30 of the general public during an emergency. 31 (d) “Employee” has the same meaning as established under 32 the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and its implementing 33 regulations. 34 (e) “Employer” has the same meaning as established under 35 the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and its implementing 36 regulations. 37 (f) “Retaliatory personnel action” means the discharge, 38 suspension, or demotion by an employer of an employee or any 39 other adverse employment action taken by an employer against an 40 employee in the terms and conditions of employment. 41 (g) “Vital services” means only the utility and roadway 42 services necessary immediately after an emergency. 43 (2) DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED.—An employer may not take any 44 retaliatory personnel action against an employee if the 45 employee: 46 (a) Left the employee’s place of employment to evacuate 47 under a mandatory evacuation order. 48 (b) Evacuated because the employee’s residence or place of 49 employment was included in the mandatory evacuation zone. 50 (c) Returns to work within 14 days after the mandatory 51 evacuation order is lifted or by a time agreed upon between the 52 employee and employer. 53 (3) EMPLOYEE’S REMEDY; RELIEF.— 54 (a)1. An employee who has been the object of a retaliatory 55 personnel action in violation of subsection (2) may institute a 56 civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for relief as 57 set forth in paragraph (b) within 2 years after discovering that 58 the alleged retaliatory personnel action was taken, or within 4 59 years after the personnel action was taken, whichever is 60 earlier. 61 2. Any civil action authorized under this subsection may be 62 brought in the county in which the alleged retaliatory personnel 63 action occurred, in which the complainant resides, or in which 64 the employer has its principal place of business. 65 3. An employee may not recover in any action brought 66 pursuant to this subsection if he or she failed to notify the 67 employer about the applicable evacuation order or if the 68 retaliatory personnel action was predicated upon a ground other 69 than the employee’s exercise of a right protected by this 70 section. 71 (b) In any action brought pursuant to paragraph (a), the 72 court may order relief as follows: 73 1. An injunction restraining continued violation of this 74 section. 75 2. Reinstatement of the employee to the same position held 76 before the retaliatory personnel action, or to an equivalent 77 position. 78 3. Reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority 79 rights. 80 4. Compensation for lost wages, benefits, and other 81 remuneration. 82 5. Any other compensatory damages allowable by law. 83 (4) ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS.—A court may award reasonable 84 attorney fees, court costs, and expenses to the prevailing 85 party. 86 (5) APPLICABILITY.—This section does not apply to: 87 (a) Individuals employed as emergency personnel if the 88 employer provides adequate emergency shelter for those 89 individuals. 90 (b) A person who is necessary to provide for the safety and 91 well-being of the general public, including a person necessary 92 for the restoration of vital services. 93 (c) Individuals employed at a nursing home facility, as 94 defined in s. 400.021; hospice, as defined in s. 400.601; 95 assisted living facility, as defined in s. 429.02; or hospital, 96 as defined in s. 395.002. 97 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.