Palm Beach County Expands Coverage Of Its Equal Employment Ordinance

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As of January 12, 2021, Palm Beach County’s equal employment ordinance has been amended to cover smaller businesses.    Companies in Palm Beach County with between 5 and 14 employees (Federal and State civil rights acts normally cover companies with 15 or more employees) will now have to comply with the County’s equal employment ordinance.

Palm Beach County’s equal employment ordinance is also broader than the Florida Civil Rights Act and covers discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or genetic information.   Employees in Palm Beach County covered by the expanded ordinance will now have an avenue to file a charge of discrimination with the County’s Office of Equal Opportunity (“OEO”).  The OEO will undertake an investigation or conciliation efforts in much the same way that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) operates.

Palm Beach County’s expansion of its equal employment ordinance brings the County in line with Broward and Miami-Dade Counties which already had equal employment ordinances that covered smaller employers.

For small businesses, the EEOC provides a resource center with helpful information and guidance for ensuring that your business is in compliance with applicable anti-discrimination laws.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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