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FCHR 101 | PHASE 7: UNDERSTANDING THE FCHR-DOAH PETITION FOR RELIEF

Upon receiving the FCHR’s Determination (see Phase 6)1 you’ll be able to file your Petition for Relief (“PFR”).

7.0 | Intro

Good News: TBD has a free PFR template that you can use (linked here).

Better News: TBD has also copied, re-formatted, and published [almost] all publicly available PFRs on this website.

Features:
✔ Free
✔ Rewarding
o ie, you will score book points by reading/accessing the Petitions for Relief
• learn more about book points here

✔ Complete
✔ Comprehensive
✔ Interactive
✔ Uninvasive
✓ No Ads
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✓ No Signups


Best News: In this walkthrough, TBD will expound on the FCHR-DOAH Petition for Relief.

7.1 | The Law that Governs Petitions for Relief

§120.569(2) FS explains that the FCHR must send your PFR to DOAH within 15 days of receiving it (paraphrasing added):2
“(a) Except for any proceeding conducted as prescribed in s. 120.56, a petition or request for a hearing under this section shall be filed with the [FCHR]. If the [FCHR] requests an administrative law judge from [DOAH], it shall so notify [DOAH] by electronic means through [DOAH]’s website within 15 days after receipt of the petition or request. A request for a hearing shall be granted or denied within 15 days after receipt. On the request of any agency, [DOAH] shall assign an administrative law judge with due regard to the expertise required for the particular matter. The [FCHR] shall take no further action with respect to a proceeding under s. 120.57(1), except as a party litigant, as long as [DOAH] has jurisdiction over the proceeding under s. 120.57(1).”
While this law explains how timely the agency must act, there are other statutes/rules/regulations that explain how timely you must act.

7.2 | Filing Window

You will have 35 days to file your Petition for Relief (as you might remember from Phase 6 (Determination)). For the sake of convenience, here’s quick a recitation:
Important Note: this 35-day window exists regardless of the determination (ie, cause vs no cause). Meaning:
➫ If the FCHR issues you a “Cause” Determination then you will have 35 days to request an administrative hearing (see §760.11(6) FS); plus

➫ If the FCHR issues you a “No Cause” Determination then you will [still] have 35 days to request an administrative hearing (see §760.11(7) FS).
Please know that these filing windows are crucial. DOAH will [strive to] dismiss your complaint/petition if you file your PFR late (ie, if you file it after your window closes).

7.3 | Protected Characteristics (‘Charged Bases’)

Your PFR should only contain the protected characteristics that are covered under the FCRA:
age*colordisabilitymarital statusnational originpregnancy**racereligionretaliationsex
see §760.01(2) FS***

Moreover, DOAH (ie, the agency that will receive/handle your PFR) will [probably] strike discrimination bases that were not in your original COD (and/or FCHR Determination). Therefore, do not add any bases that were not in your COD/Determination.
* note: the FCHR’s age protections cover all ages (ie, 10 year-olds, 20 year-olds, etc.). This is different from the EEOC’s age protections (which - according to the ADA - only cover people who are 40+).

** additional note: In practice, the FCHR often lumps pregnancy discrimination into sex discrimination; other times it lumps it into disability discrimination. Either way, if you’ve faced pregnancy discrimination then Florida law will cover you.

*** final note: there've been recent pushes to include protections for genetic information (a là GINA – a federal law). However, TBD hasn’t listed it here because Florida legislation has yet to explicitly include it (see FLSenate.gov). Nonetheless, since genetic information is closely tied to nationality/race/sex/etc, you can probably still file a Florida discrimination suit under those bases.

7.4 | Checklist for a DOAH/FCHR Petition for Relief

As you draft your PFR, check to make sure that you’ve supplied all of the following information:
☑ Your Signature
☑ Your Name
☑ Your Opponent’s Name (ie, your employer)
☑ Contact Info (yours; and your opponent’s)
☑ The style of the proceeding (eg, Employment Discrimination, Housing Discrimination, etc.)
see 28-106.104(2) FAC (via 60Y-5.008 FAC).

Note: if you just fill out the Template, then you’ll satisfy each of these filing requirements.

7.5 | Disclose the Adverse Employment Action

Concisely write the type of act that the defendant/respondent committed against you.
Reason: your DOAH ALJ will be looking for this. Plus, the type of adverse act will impact the type/amount of damages you can recover (eg, back pay vs reassignment, etc.)
Here’s a list of the most common types of adverse employment actions:
• Constructive Discharge
• Demotion
• Denied Reasonable Accommodation
• Disparate Terms & Conditions
• Failure to Hire
• Failure to Promote
• Hostile Work Environment
• Retaliation
• Suspension
• Termination
• Unequal Pay
You can make this disclosure by filling out Section 5 of the Template.

7.6 | Analysis of a Sample FCHR Petition for Relief

Here’s a real-live PFR.2 TBD will analyze it to help illuminate this stage of the FCHR/DOAH process for you.

Analysis of this Sample PFR
#PointImage/Explanation
1✔ On Time
This litigant successfully filed his PFR within the 35-day statutory window
snapshotOfPFR

snapshotOfPFR

7/3/20 vs 5/29/20 (35 days ≤ 35 days);{§760.11(6) FS}
2✔ Case Style
This PFR identifies the type of case that this is.

snapshotOfPFR
3✔ Adverse ActionThis PFR clearly states the adverse employment action (ie, 'termination').

snapshotOfPFR
4✔ Short & Plain Statement
This litigant successfully gave a short & plain statement of the case:snapshotOfPFR
He also gave a short & plain statement of the subsequent retaliation (see Opposition vs Participation Clause):
snapshotOfPFR
5✔ Statutes Listed
This litigant successfully invoked the state laws that gave rise to this action
snapshotOfPFR
6✔ Substantiating FactssnapshotOfPFR

note: substantiating facts are not necessary, but they can help solidify your PFR
7✔ Brief
✔ only 4 pages (the remaining 4 pages were just exhibits)

✔ quick narrative (corroborates the ultimate facts)

8✔ Contact InfoThis litigant successfully disclosed the contact information for both parties:
snapshotOfPFR

7.7 | TBD’s Recommendations

Meet your filing deadline!
• Filing late can ruin your case
o The 35-day window is crucial
Use the Template! (linked here)
• It’ll save you time
Keep your PFR Brief
• Only use 4 pages
o Providing too much detail will only aide your civil opponent (ie, the entity that discriminated against you)
‣ See Rule 8 Fed. R. Civ. P. (and Rule 1.100 Fla. R. Civ. P.)
‣ See Rule 12 Fed. R. Civ. P. (and Rule 1.140 Fla. R. Civ. P.)
o Providing too much detail can potentially slow down your case
• Provide a Short & plain statement
o Example 1: Company XYZ fired me because I rejected my boss’ sexual/romantic advances

o Example 2: Company ABC suspended me because I filed an internal discrimination complaint

o Example 3: Corporation XYZ demoted me due to my age

o Example 4: Corporation ABC refused to hire me because of my nationality

o Example 5: Entity XYZ subjected me to a hostile work environment because of my disability
Use the FCHR’s Official Guidelines to help you draft your PFR
FCHR's Official PFR Guidelines
➄ Also, if time permits, begin reading the following rules:
Rules 1.280 through 1.410 Fla. R. Civ. P.
DOAH’s Uniform Rules of Procedure
Rule 9.030 Fla. R. App. P.
Rule 9.110 Fla. R. App. P.
Rule 9.120 Fla. R. App. P.
Rule 9.190 Fla. R. App. P.
Rule 2.514 Fla. R. Jud. Admin.
Rule 201 Fed. R. Evid.
➅ Plus, before you file your PFR at DOAH, have a full understanding of the following rules:
Rules 1.280 through 1.410 Fla. R. Civ. P.
DOAH’s Uniform Rules of Procedure

7.8 | TBD’s Commentary

You are not alone.

It’s possible that you might feel as though no one will understand what you’ve gone through. However, your story – although unique – will be very similar to many other cases of employment discrimination.

In TBD’s words, different discrimination cases are like different songs from the same genre of music. They have common patterns, but their specific facts/lyrics are different.
Suggestion: Read through TBD’s Index of Petitions for Relief.
• Benefit #1: Morale
o You’ll see that many people have gone through what you’ve gone through
• Benefit #2: Effectiveness
o You’ll better understand how to articulate/litigate your case
So, whether you are alone and/or you just feel alone, get ready to get booked up on all of the knowledge/resources that this website has (and others have) to offer.

Of course, a key part of your journey will be knowing how to navigate through the FCHR/DOAH legal process; and you can fortify that knowledge by learning about the next phase (ie, Phase 8: DOAH Proceeding)...
TextBookDiscrimination.com® | © 2024. All Rights Reserved.
Footnotes
1 you’ll also be allowed to file your PFR under the following [alternate] condition:
(a) 180 days passed since you filed your COD; and
(b) The FCHR failed to issue a Determination before this 180-day window closed.
see Woodham v BCBSFL, 829 So.2d 891 (Fla. 2002)

2 note: TBD has paraphrased this regulation/statute in order to minimize ambiguity (ie, DOAH vs FCHR vs Agency). So, please feel free to consult the originating text (here; and here).

3 Redactions have been made to this document.
Purpose: accentuate educational points.
Congratulations! You're now booked up on Phase 7 (The PFR) regarding the way the legal process operates within the State of Florida!

Keep this in mind while you litigate your civil rights case in the sunshine state. Also, keep in mind the FCHR's statutory ability to accept bribes.

Plus - at all times - keep the 7th Amendment of the US Constitution (your right to a trial-by-jury) in mind.

As always, please get the justice you deserve.

Sincerely,



www.TextBookDiscrimination.com
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