CS/HB 255: Florida Commission on Human Relations

Florida governor shortens statute of limitations for certain employment discrimination claims.

The Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) is a state agency investigating claims of discrimination. In order to pursue a matter under the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA), an aggrieved party must first file a complaint administratively with the FCHR before filing a lawsuit. A complaint filed with the FCHR can also be dually filed with another agency, such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The FCHR typically conducts an independent investigation and issues a determination notifying the aggrieved party of their rights moving forward. For employment and public accommodation claims, the FCHR aims to issue a determination within 180 days. Under Joshua v. City of Gainesville, 786 So. 2d 432 (Fla. 2000), the general four-year statute of limitations for statutory violations applied to actions filed pursuant to Chapter 760, Florida Statutes if the FCHR did not make a reasonable cause determination on a complaint within 180 days. Thus, the aggrieved party may wait up to four years to file a lawsuit.

On June 30, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Florida House Bill 255, which states that if the FCHR fails to conciliate or determine whether there was reasonable cause within 180 days of filing the complaint, an aggrieved person must file a civil action within one year, instead of four.

This is a drastic amendment for respondents who are eagerly awaiting their fate and whether litigation may move forward. Previously,  respondents had potential litigation hanging over their heads for four years, but now it is something that only has to be on their radar for one year.


Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2021 is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2021 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.