History of the Florida Commission on Human Relations
The Florida Legislature created the Florida Commission on Human Relations in 1969 to enforce the Florida Civil Rights Act and address discrimination issues through education, outreach and partnerships. The Commission has investigated and closed more than 74,000 cases and has negotiated close to $13 million in settlement amounts for more than 1,500 people through its mediation services.
The Florida Commission on Human Relations basic statutory responsibilities are set forth in Chapter 760 , Florida Statutes, which addresses the areas of employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, national origin, age and marital status; and discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, pregnancy, religion and familial status.
Since 1969, when the Commission was established, state and federal laws have significantly expanded the jurisdiction of the Commission as follows:
- The Florida Human Rights Act of 1977 expanded the authority of the Commission from being a community relations-based agency to also being an enforcement agency. This Act allowed the Commission to investigate and resolve complaints of employment discrimination through administrative and legal channels.
- The Florida Fair Housing Act was passed by the Florida Legislature in 1983, and amended in 1989. This Act declares it illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental, advertising, financing, or providing of brokerage services for housing. The Fair Housing Act parallels the Federal Fair Housing Act.
- The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 included a revision of the procedure changes for filing complaints of employment discrimination as well as making compensatory and punitive damages available. The Act also prohibited discrimination in the areas of public lodging, public food service establishments and private clubs.
- In 1999, the Legislature transferred jurisdiction to the Commission for state employee Whistle-blower's Act complaints of retaliation. The law protects public employees from any form of retaliation by the agency for which they work in cases where they disclose information about actual or suspected violations or misconduct.