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2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
Discrimination; denial or revocation of the right to transact business with public entities.
Discrimination; denial or revocation of the right to transact business with public entities.
287.134 Discrimination; denial or revocation of the right to transact business with public entities.—
(1) As used in this section:
(a) “Affiliate” means:
1. A predecessor or successor of an entity that discriminated; or
2. An entity under the control of any natural person or entity that is active in the management of the entity that discriminated. The term “affiliate” includes those officers, directors, executives, partners, shareholders, employees, members, and agents who are active in the management of an affiliate. The ownership by one entity of shares constituting a controlling interest in another entity, or a pooling of equipment or income among entities when not for fair market value under an arm’s length agreement, shall be a prima facie case that one entity controls another entity.
(b) “Discrimination” or “discriminated” means a determination of liability by a state circuit court or federal district court for a violation of any state or federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, disability, or religion by an entity; if an appeal is made, the determination of liability does not occur until the completion of any appeals to a higher tribunal.
(c) “Discriminatory vendor list” means the list required to be kept by the department pursuant to paragraph (3)(d).
(d) “Department” means the Department of Management Services.
(e) “Entity” means any natural person or any entity organized under the laws of any state or of the United States with the legal power to enter into a binding contract and which bids or applies to bid on contracts let by a public entity, or which otherwise transacts or applies to transact business with a public entity.
(f) “Public entity” means this state and any department or agency of this state.
(g) “Senior management” includes chief executive officers; assistant chief executive officers, including, but not limited to, assistant presidents, vice presidents, or assistant treasurers; chief financial officers; chief personnel officers; or any employee of an entity performing similar functions.
(2)(a) An entity or affiliate who has been placed on the discriminatory vendor list may not submit a bid, proposal, or reply on a contract to provide any goods or services to a public entity; may not submit a bid, proposal, or reply on a contract with a public entity for the construction or repair of a public building or public work; may not submit bids, proposals, or replies on leases of real property to a public entity; may not be awarded or perform work as a contractor, supplier, subcontractor, or consultant under a contract with any public entity; and may not transact business with any public entity.
(b) A public entity may not accept any bid, proposals, or replies from, award any contract to, or transact any business with any entity or affiliate on the discriminatory vendor list for a period of 36 months following the date that entity or affiliate was placed on the discriminatory vendor list unless that entity or affiliate has been removed from the list pursuant to paragraph (3)(f). A public entity that was transacting business with an entity at the time of the discrimination resulting in that entity being placed on the discriminatory vendor list may not accept any bid, proposal, or reply from, award any contract to, or transact any business with any other entity who is under the same, or substantially the same, control as the entity whose name appears on the discriminatory vendor list so long as that entity’s name appears on the discriminatory vendor list.
(3)(a) All invitations to bid, requests for proposals, and invitations to negotiate, as defined by s. 287.012, and any written contract document of the state must contain a statement informing entities of the provisions of paragraph (2)(a).
(b) An entity must notify the department within 30 days after a final determination of discrimination. Any public entity which receives information that an entity has discriminated shall transmit that information to the department in writing within 10 days. Before entering into any contract with the state, all entities shall disclose to the department whether they have been found liable, in a state circuit court or federal court, for violation of any state or federal law prohibiting discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, or religion.
(c) The department shall maintain a list of the names and addresses of any entity which has been disqualified from the public contracting and purchasing process under this section. The department shall publish an updated version of the list quarterly. The revised quarterly lists shall be electronically posted. Notwithstanding this paragraph, an entity or affiliate disqualified from the public contracting and purchasing process pursuant to this section shall be disqualified as of the date the final order is entered.
(d)1. Upon receiving reasonable information from any source that an entity has discriminated, the department shall investigate the information and determine whether good cause exists to place that entity or an affiliate of that entity on the discriminatory vendor list. If good cause exists, the department shall notify the entity or affiliate in writing of its intent to place the name of that entity or affiliate on the discriminatory vendor list, and of the entity’s or affiliate’s right to a hearing, the procedure that must be followed, and the applicable time requirements. If the entity or affiliate does not request a hearing, the department shall enter a final order placing the name of the entity or affiliate on the discriminatory vendor list. No entity or affiliate may be placed on the discriminatory vendor list without receiving an individual notice of intent from the department.
2. Within 21 days after receipt of the notice of intent, the entity or affiliate may file a petition for a formal hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57(1) to determine whether it is in the public interest for that entity or affiliate to be placed on the discriminatory vendor list. An entity or affiliate may not file a petition for an informal hearing under s. 120.57(2). The procedures of chapter 120 shall apply to any formal hearing under this section except where they are in conflict with the following provisions:
a. The petition shall be filed with the department. The department shall be a party to the proceeding for all purposes.
b. Within 5 days after the filing of the petition, the department shall notify the Division of Administrative Hearings of the request for a formal hearing. The director of the Division of Administrative Hearings shall, within 5 days after receipt of notice from the department, assign an administrative law judge to preside over the proceeding. The administrative law judge, upon request by a party, may consolidate related proceedings.
c. The administrative law judge shall conduct the formal hearing within 30 days after being assigned, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties.
d. Within 30 days after the formal hearing or receipt of the hearing transcript, whichever is later, the administrative law judge shall enter a final order, which shall consist of findings of fact, conclusions of law, interpretation of agency rules, and any other information required by law or rule to be contained in the final order. Such final order shall place or not place the entity or affiliate on the discriminatory vendor list.
e. The final order of the administrative law judge shall be final agency action for purposes of s. 120.68.
f. At any time after the filing of the petition, informal disposition may be made pursuant to s. 120.57(4). In that event, the administrative law judge shall enter a final order adopting the stipulation, agreed settlement, or consent order.
3. It shall not be in the public interest to place an entity or affiliate on the discriminatory vendor list if:
a. Discrimination did not occur;
b. The discrimination was committed by an employee of the entity or affiliate other than senior management; or
c. The member of senior management responsible for the discrimination is no longer an employee of the entity or affiliate.
4. In determining whether it is in the public interest to place an entity or affiliate on the discriminatory vendor list, the administrative law judge shall consider the following factors:
a. The nature and details of the discrimination.
b. The degree of culpability of the entity or affiliate proposed to be placed on the discriminatory vendor list.
c. The prompt or voluntary payment of any damages or penalty as a result of the discrimination.
d. Prior or future self-policing by the entity or affiliate to prevent discrimination.
e. Compliance by the entity or affiliate with the notification provisions of paragraph (b).
f. The needs of public entities for additional competition in the procurement of goods and services in their respective markets.
g. Mitigation based upon any demonstration of good citizenship by the entity or affiliate.
5. In any proceeding under this section, the department shall be required to prove by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the public interest for the entity to which the department has given notice under this section to be placed on the discriminatory vendor list. Proof of discrimination by the entity or a person or entity which is an affiliate of such entity shall constitute a prima facie case that it is in the public interest for the entity or affiliate to which the department has given notice to be put on the discriminatory vendor list. Status as an affiliate must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.
6. Any entity or affiliate which has been notified by the department of the department’s intent to place the entity’s or affiliate’s name on the discriminatory vendor list may offer evidence on any relevant issue. Upon establishment of a prima facie case that it is in the public interest for the entity or affiliate to which the department has given notice to be put on the discriminatory vendor list, that entity or affiliate may prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it would not be in the public interest to put such entity on the discriminatory vendor list, based upon evidence addressing the factors in subparagraphs 3. and 4.
(e)1. An entity on the discriminatory vendor list may petition for removal from the list no sooner than 6 months from the date a final order is entered disqualifying that entity from the public purchasing and contracting process pursuant to this section. The petition shall be filed with the department and the proceeding shall be conducted pursuant to the procedures and requirements of this subsection.
2. An entity may be removed from the discriminatory vendor list subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the administrative law judge upon a determination that removal is in the public interest. In determining whether removal would be in the public interest, the administrative law judge shall give consideration to any relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the factors identified in subparagraphs 3. and 4.
3. If a petition for removal is denied, the entity or affiliate may not petition for another hearing on removal for a period of 9 months after the date of denial. The department may petition for removal prior to the expiration of such period if, in the department’s discretion, the department determines that removal would be in the public interest.
(4) Placement on the discriminatory vendor list shall not affect any rights or obligations under any contract, franchise, or other binding agreement which predates such conviction or placement on the discriminatory vendor list.
(5) The provisions of this section do not apply to any activities regulated by the Florida Public Service Commission or to the purchase of goods or services made by any public entity from the Department of Corrections, from the nonprofit corporation organized under chapter 946, or from any accredited nonprofit workshop certified under ss. 413.032-413.037.
History.—s. 6, ch. 2000-286; s. 30, ch. 2002-207; s. 51, ch. 2020-2.