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.
   11  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   13         Section 1. Section 448.077, Florida Statutes, is created to
   14  read:
   15         448.077Employment 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.