Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 300
       By Senator Rouson
       19-00406-18                                            2018300__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Florida Commission on Human
    3         Relations; amending s. 112.31895, F.S.; increasing the
    4         length of time that a person alleging a prohibited
    5         personnel action under the Whistle-blower’s Act has to
    6         file a complaint with the commission or the Chief
    7         Inspector General; revising the length of time by
    8         which receipt of the complaint must be acknowledged
    9         and copies thereof provided to named parties; revising
   10         the commission’s duties with respect to the process of
   11         fact finding regarding an allegation of a prohibited
   12         personnel action; revising the timeframes by which the
   13         commission must terminate an investigation following
   14         the receipt of the fact-finding report or the failure
   15         of an agency to implement corrective action
   16         recommendations; revising the length of time by which
   17         a complainant may file a complaint with the Public
   18         Employees Relations Commission following termination
   19         of the Florida Commission on Human Relations’
   20         investigation; amending s. 760.03, F.S.; revising what
   21         constitutes a quorum for commission meetings and
   22         panels thereof; amending s. 760.065, F.S.; revising
   23         the number of persons the commission must annually
   24         recommend to the Governor for inclusion in the Florida
   25         Civil Rights Hall of Fame; amending s. 760.11, F.S.;
   26         specifying that an aggrieved person alleging certain
   27         violations of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992
   28         must file a civil action within a certain timeframe
   29         upon the commission’s failure to conciliate or
   30         determine reasonable cause; amending s. 760.29, F.S.;
   31         deleting provisions requiring a facility or community
   32         claiming an exemption under the Fair Housing Act to
   33         register with the commission; amending s. 760.31,
   34         F.S.; removing a requirement for commission rules, to
   35         conform to changes made by the act; amending s.
   36         760.60, F.S.; removing the requirement that the
   37         commission or the Attorney General investigate alleged
   38         discriminatory practices of a club within a specified
   39         timeframe; revising the timeframe by which a
   40         complainant or the Attorney General may commence a
   41         civil action in response to discriminatory practices
   42         of a club; providing an effective date.
   44  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   46         Section 1. Subsections (1) and (2), paragraphs (d) and (e)
   47  of subsection (3), and subsection (4) of section 112.31895,
   48  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   49         112.31895 Investigative procedures in response to
   50  prohibited personnel actions.—
   51         (1) COMPLAINTS.—
   52         (a) If a disclosure under s. 112.3187 includes or results
   53  in alleged retaliation by an employer, the employee or former
   54  employee of, or applicant for employment with, a state agency,
   55  as defined in s. 216.011, which that is so affected may file a
   56  complaint alleging a prohibited personnel action, which
   57  complaint must be made by filing a written complaint with the
   58  Office of the Chief Inspector General in the Executive Office of
   59  the Governor or the Florida Commission on Human Relations, no
   60  later than 365 60 days after the prohibited personnel action.
   61         (b) Within 5 three working days after receiving a complaint
   62  under this section, the office or officer receiving the
   63  complaint shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint and provide
   64  copies of the complaint and any other preliminary information
   65  available concerning the disclosure of information under s.
   66  112.3187 to each of the other parties named in paragraph (a),
   67  which parties shall each acknowledge receipt of such copies to
   68  the complainant.
   69         (2) FACT FINDING.—The Florida Commission on Human Relations
   70  shall:
   71         (a) Receive any allegation of a personnel action prohibited
   72  by s. 112.3187, including a proposed or potential action, and
   73  conduct informal fact finding regarding any allegation under
   74  this section, to the extent necessary to determine whether there
   75  are reasonable grounds to believe that a prohibited personnel
   76  action under s. 112.3187 has occurred, is occurring, or is to be
   77  taken.
   78         (b) Notify the complainant, within 15 days after receiving
   79  a complaint, that the complaint has been received by the
   80  department.
   81         (b)(c) Within 180 90 days after receiving the complaint,
   82  provide the agency head and the complainant with a fact-finding
   83  report that may include recommendations to the parties or
   84  proposed resolution of the complaint. The fact-finding report
   85  shall be presumed admissible in any subsequent or related
   86  administrative or judicial review.
   88         (d) If the Florida Commission on Human Relations is unable
   89  to conciliate a complaint within 35 60 days after receipt of the
   90  fact-finding report, the Florida Commission on Human Relations
   91  shall terminate the investigation. Upon termination of any
   92  investigation, the Florida Commission on Human Relations shall
   93  notify the complainant and the agency head of the termination of
   94  the investigation, providing a summary of relevant facts found
   95  during the investigation and the reasons for terminating the
   96  investigation. A written statement under this paragraph is
   97  presumed admissible as evidence in any judicial or
   98  administrative proceeding but is not admissible without the
   99  consent of the complainant.
  100         (e)1. The Florida Commission on Human Relations may request
  101  an agency or circuit court to order a stay, on such terms as the
  102  court requires, of any personnel action for 45 days if the
  103  Florida Commission on Human Relations determines that reasonable
  104  grounds exist to believe that a prohibited personnel action has
  105  occurred, is occurring, or is to be taken. The Florida
  106  Commission on Human Relations may request that such stay be
  107  extended for appropriate periods of time.
  108         2. If, in connection with any investigation, the Florida
  109  Commission on Human Relations determines that reasonable grounds
  110  exist to believe that a prohibited action has occurred, is
  111  occurring, or is to be taken which requires corrective action,
  112  the Florida Commission on Human Relations shall report the
  113  determination together with any findings or recommendations to
  114  the agency head and may report that determination and those
  115  findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Chief
  116  Financial Officer. The Florida Commission on Human Relations may
  117  include in the report recommendations for corrective action to
  118  be taken.
  119         3. If, after 35 20 days, the agency does not implement the
  120  recommended action, the Florida Commission on Human Relations
  121  shall terminate the investigation and notify the complainant of
  122  the right to appeal under subsection (4), or may petition the
  123  agency for corrective action under this subsection.
  124         4. If the Florida Commission on Human Relations finds, in
  125  consultation with the individual subject to the prohibited
  126  action, that the agency has implemented the corrective action,
  127  the commission shall file such finding with the agency head,
  128  together with any written comments that the individual provides,
  129  and terminate the investigation.
  130         (4) RIGHT TO APPEAL.—
  131         (a) Not more than 21 60 days after receipt of a notice of
  132  termination of the investigation from the Florida Commission on
  133  Human Relations, the complainant may file, with the Public
  134  Employees Relations Commission, a complaint against the
  135  employer-agency regarding the alleged prohibited personnel
  136  action. The Public Employees Relations Commission shall have
  137  jurisdiction over such complaints under ss. 112.3187 and
  138  447.503(4) and (5).
  139         (b) Judicial review of any final order of the commission
  140  shall be as provided in s. 120.68.
  141         Section 2. Subsection (5) of section 760.03, Florida
  142  Statutes, is amended to read:
  143         760.03 Commission on Human Relations; staff.—
  144         (5) A quorum is necessary for the conduct of official
  145  business. Unless otherwise provided by law, a quorum consists of
  146  a majority of the commissioners who are currently appointed.
  147  Seven members shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of
  148  business; however, The commission may establish panels of not
  149  less than three commissioners of its members to exercise its
  150  powers under the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, subject to
  151  such procedures and limitations as the commission may provide by
  152  rule. For such a panel, a quorum consists of three
  153  commissioners.
  154         Section 3. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
  155  760.065, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  156         760.065 Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame.—
  157         (3)(a) The commission shall annually accept nominations for
  158  persons to be recommended as members of the Florida Civil Rights
  159  Hall of Fame. The commission shall recommend up to 10 persons
  160  from which the Governor shall select up to 3 hall-of-fame
  161  members.
  162         Section 4. Subsection (8) of section 760.11, Florida
  163  Statutes, is amended to read:
  164         760.11 Administrative and civil remedies; construction.—
  165         (8) If In the event that the commission fails to conciliate
  166  or determine whether there is reasonable cause on any complaint
  167  under this section within 180 days after of the filing of the
  168  complaint, an aggrieved person may proceed under subsection (4),
  169  as if the commission determined that there was reasonable cause,
  170  except that any civil action filed under this section must
  171  commence no more than 4 years after the date that the alleged
  172  violation occurred.
  173         Section 5. Paragraph (e) of subsection (4) of section
  174  760.29, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  175         760.29 Exemptions.—
  176         (4)
  177         (e) A facility or community claiming an exemption under
  178  this subsection shall register with the commission and submit a
  179  letter to the commission stating that the facility or community
  180  complies with the requirements of subparagraph (b)1.,
  181  subparagraph (b)2., or subparagraph (b)3. The letter shall be
  182  submitted on the letterhead of the facility or community and
  183  shall be signed by the president of the facility or community.
  184  This registration and documentation shall be renewed biennially
  185  from the date of original filing. The information in the
  186  registry shall be made available to the public, and the
  187  commission shall include this information on an Internet
  188  website. The commission may establish a reasonable registration
  189  fee, not to exceed $20, that shall be deposited into the
  190  commission’s trust fund to defray the administrative costs
  191  associated with maintaining the registry. The commission may
  192  impose an administrative fine, not to exceed $500, on a facility
  193  or community that knowingly submits false information in the
  194  documentation required by this paragraph. Such fines shall be
  195  deposited in the commission’s trust fund. The registration and
  196  documentation required by this paragraph shall not substitute
  197  for proof of compliance with the requirements of this
  198  subsection. Failure to comply with the requirements of this
  199  paragraph shall not disqualify a facility or community that
  200  otherwise qualifies for the exemption provided in this
  201  subsection.
  203  A county or municipal ordinance regarding housing for older
  204  persons may not contravene the provisions of this subsection.
  205         Section 6. Subsection (5) of section 760.31, Florida
  206  Statutes, is amended to read:
  207         760.31 Powers and duties of commission.—The commission
  208  shall:
  209         (5) Adopt rules necessary to implement ss. 760.20-760.37
  210  and govern the proceedings of the commission in accordance with
  211  chapter 120. Commission rules shall clarify terms used with
  212  regard to handicapped accessibility, exceptions from
  213  accessibility requirements based on terrain or site
  214  characteristics, and requirements related to housing for older
  215  persons. Commission rules shall specify the fee and the forms
  216  and procedures to be used for the registration required by s.
  217  760.29(4)(e).
  218         Section 7. Subsections (2) and (3) of section 760.60,
  219  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  220         760.60 Discriminatory practices of certain clubs
  221  prohibited; remedies.—
  222         (2) A person who has been discriminated against in
  223  violation of this act may file a complaint with the Commission
  224  on Human Relations or with the Attorney General’s Office of
  225  Civil Rights. A complaint must be in writing and must contain
  226  such information and be in such form as the commission requires.
  227  Upon receipt of a complaint, the commission or the Attorney
  228  General shall provide a copy to the person who represents the
  229  club. Within 30 days after receiving a complaint, the commission
  230  or the Attorney General shall investigate the alleged
  231  discrimination and give notice in writing to the person who
  232  filed the complaint if it intends to resolve the complaint. If
  233  the commission or the Attorney General decides to resolve the
  234  complaint, it shall attempt to eliminate or correct the alleged
  235  discriminatory practices of a club by informal methods of
  236  conference, conciliation, and persuasion.
  237         (3) If the commission or the Attorney General fails, within
  238  30 days after receiving a complaint filed pursuant to subsection
  239  (2), to give notice of its intent to eliminate or correct the
  240  alleged discriminatory practices of a club, or if the commission
  241  or the Attorney General fails to resolve the complaint within 45
  242  30 days after giving such notice, the person or the Attorney
  243  General on behalf of the person filing the complaint may
  244  commence a civil action in a court against the club, its
  245  officers, or its members to enforce this section. If the court
  246  finds that a discriminatory practice occurs at the club, the
  247  court may enjoin the club, its officers, or its members from
  248  engaging in such practice or may order other appropriate action.
  249         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.