How a Florida Employment Lawyer Can Prosecute Employer Or Defend Labor Violations
While working toward a workforce totally without any harassment, retaliating employers, late payment of wages is unlikely to come about, the trends have seen a positive development of many millions of wages recouped for widespread violations, according to the most recent 2022 statistic.
Forming an invisible underworld of modern society, it is a sad reality that sexual harassment, age discrimination, racial discrimination and late payment of wages, and even non-payment of wages—does occur, despite state and federal labor and employment laws designed to avoid these societal ills.
With Florida’s emphasis on protecting workers under state and federal laws, having a skilled Florida labor and employment lawyer is most helpful in deciding when you may have a case against your employer.
As a Florida employer, a Florida labor and employment lawyer will help evaluate claims alleged by employees to determine truth and save the company costs for unworthy claims, typically the result of employees harboring grudges.
Adjust to the fast-changing society in which we live requires a thorough understanding of Florida labor and employment law’s effect on the civil rights of employees and employers, and to determine policy objectives relating to basic freedoms created by the Family Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.
Spend a few moments to see how employment law disputes or employment matters arise, and how Florida’s labor and employment laws in Florida deal with these matters.
Tampa Labor and Employment Lawsuits Commonly Brought In The State of Florida?
According to the Florida Department of Labor, employment is “at-will,” meaning that an Orlando, Miami or Fort Lauderdale employee or employer can choose to end the employment relationship for any reason, or no reason at all.
Also, employers in large Florida cities, such as Orlando, may change the way an employee is to complete an assignment without needing the prior consent of the employee to make such decisions. The two exceptions are if:
- The employment contract expressly provides for an agreement to the contrary.
- There is a public policy that limits the employer from terminating the employee for the employee’s refusal to commit an illegal act at the request of the employer. Others include:
- State or federal laws Civil Rights Act of Title VII employment discrimination statutes protecting discharge based on race, color, religion or gender, or Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) statutes.
- Engaging in “protected activity” that prohibits retaliation against the employee.
- Filing claims reporting illegal working conditions to state and federal authorities under Title VII.
- Military duty
- Jury duty
- Union activity
Also, Florida gives workers a “right to work,” an employee’s union (or non-union) status does not allow the employer to restrict that employee’s ability to be employed. Constitutional Amendment No. 1, Sec. 12 Florida Labor Code.
According to Florida’s Commission on Human Relations, “wrongful termination” is an exception to the at-will doctrine that gives free reign an Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale employers to make decisions as to change or move around an employee without any input of the employee, but the decision cannot be based on any of the following decisions:
- Racially-motivated reasons, or those based on, sex, religious preference, ethnicity, national origin, age discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or disability;
- Because you are pregnant;
- Because you will not submit to sexual advances;
- For complaining about your employee’s rights under employment laws such as minimum wage, overtime, medical leave under the Medical Leave Act, pregnancy discrimination, workers’ compensation, hostile work environment, workplace discrimination or safety laws, or other employment laws;
- For taking sick leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, time off to adopt a child, or time off to help take care of a seriously ill close family member (if you are covered by laws that allow time off for this reason);
- For refusing an order to do something illegal;
- For attending jury duty, or because you give testimony at a court or administrative hearing;
- For discussing your working conditions, pay or salary with co-workers, or for asking that coworkers’ terms and conditions of employment be improved;
- For joining or trying to form a union;
- When you have an offer for employment for a certain period of time, or have an employment contract specifying the reasons you can be fired;
- When you work for federal, state, or local government and are fired without the opportunity to dispute the reason for firing; or
- When certain other unlawful circumstances exist.
Standard practice in labor and employment lawsuits in Florida requires that employees obtain permission to sue for violation of state and/or federal labor laws, known as “exhausting of administrative remedies.”
This occurs when an employee first files a complaint with a non-judicial administrative body, such as the Commission on Human Relations or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or National Labor Relations Board.
A requirement is to do so within six months, or 180 days of the allegedly unlawful retaliatory or discriminatory act by the employer.
Upon a “right to sue” letter being issued, the employee can begin to have a discussion and consultation with a lawyer on next steps to take.
A board-certified labor and employment trial attorney conferred by the Florida Board of Legal Specialization highlighting employment law focus in Orlando, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida will be able to persuasively argue for your right to keep your job or be compensated for your termination.
Often no party or lawyer can know with absolute certainty lawful reasons from unlawful reasons for the termination or employee status change.
The burden an employee has is to prove that the termination was not a legal termination but crossed the line into being “illegal”—a burden capable of being met only with a highly-skilled and reputable Florida labor and employment attorney.
Factors Making a Solid Case in Palm Beach, Florida and Miami, or Exposing a Spurious Claim
According to the Jupiter-based Scott Law Team FAQ, terminations are considered by default to be lawful and not illegal.
But if the employee can prove the following elements, then the case may be able to be heard in court, and possibly by a jury.
There must be:
- An employee engaging in protected activity (see above categories of protection)
- An employee who has suffered an adverse employment action.
- The employee challenging the termination as unlawful must demonstrate the motivation for the firing as being for an illegitimate reason; then the employer can propose the reason it stated was the basis for the firing; afterward, the employee has an opportunity show that such a reason is not the true reason but a pre-textual one to mask the true nature of the firing.
When the basis for a decision to fire an employee is in question, often the believability of a client or the employer’s version of the facts becomes the theme of the case.
Experienced in the countless number of cases involving illegal termination decisions, a Florida labor and employment lawyer in Florida’s sprawling metropolises, including Tampa or Palm Beach would give any employee or independent contractor an advantage in the eyes of a jury. Through convincing argument and zealous litigation strategies, hiring a Florida labor and employment attorney can maximize your case’s value, and limit liability depending on your needs as the employer.
Employment Issues Under Florida Law: Common Employment Cases in Tampa, Palm Beach, Jacksonville
On Workplace Fairness’ blog, there are strategies effective in proving discrimination occurring commonly in labor and employment cases:
The “McDonnell-Douglas Test” is commonly used when there is no “direct evidence” of discrimination against an employee leading to the termination. It considers factors such as:
- Membership in a protected class. For example, if you are claiming age discrimination, are you over 40? If you are claiming disability discrimination, are you disabled?
- Qualification of employee. For example, if your job required you to be a licensed technician, were you licensed?
- Adverse action taken. Adverse action includes hiring, promoting, terminating, compensating and other terms and conditions of employment.
- Replacement by nonprotected class member. (or, in the case of age discrimination, someone substantially younger than you)? For example, if you are disabled, were you replaced by someone who is not disabled?
Deciding which factor applies in your case is handled most calmly and competently by an experienced Orlando-based FMLA employment super lawyer. Only a Florida labor and employment lawyer will walk with you in finding the best approach to strengthen a case, or depending on if you are an employer, weakening the claim for lack of support and lack of credibility.
Legal Advice: Why do I Need to Hire a Florida Employment Lawyer?
To be sure, rates for highly-skilled Florida labor and employment super lawyers charge reportedly $199 to $420 per hour, per Clio.com’s 2021 statistics.
Yet, the quality of legal services rendered, and the value added to you, the employee, or as the employer—is remarkably high: Based on the nuances of employment law in Florida, deciphering the reasons for an employer’s decision to terminate an employee, complying with administrative procedures and assessing the credibility of a client’s case accurately and competently—Florida labor and employment lawyers can assure you achieve the just result regardless of which side you are on.
In terms of dollars and cents, personal injury related to the employment dispute can open up liability of an employer if the actions are malicious or beyond the bounds of being civilized.
But this is only possible if the lawyer is a Florida labor and employment attorney staying up to date with the constantly changing rules and regulations governing employer decisions to fire workers.
Given the lack of recourse or savings employees often are faced with of not able to support themselves, Florida labor and employment lawyers’ role is pivotal in being able to provide effective representation that you would otherwise not be able to provide as the employee or employer.
Why Should I Hire a Skilled Florida Employment Lawyer?
As often as decisions to relocate and restructure businesses take place, it is undeniable that a knowledgeable, well-informed Florida labor and employment lawyer will be important to any employee or employer when deciding to pursue or defend a lawsuit.
Most talented and distinguished Florida employment attorneys will be intimately familiar with the most recent decisions in whistleblower law, healthcare law, noncompete agreements, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ready and willing to use whatever tools at his or her arsenal to prosecute or defend the case.
If you are interested in a free consultation to help determine your best course of action amid a stressful and uncertain time, it is best to discover a Florida labor and employment attorney approved of by the Florida Board of Legal Specialization.
Notably, the labor and employment law firm The Law Offices of Keith M. Stern, P.A., among others in the Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas has a stellar reputation for representing employees in employment matters.
Any good lawyer in Florida will ask highly-specific and targeted questions to explore your legal options—whether you are a relatively inexperienced small business owner, a large corporation with greater assets to protect, or the harassed and retaliated, and then terminated employee.
In any case, you an evaluation of your claim requires you to recall every event taken place and every word spoken, and by whom it was spoken so that a theme of the case can be established by a seasoned Florida labor and employment attorney.
Helpful at arbitration or at trial, it is advisable to share any and all insurance policies, either business or personal, and to allow the employment attorney to investigate other potential actors responsible for the alleged wrongful firing.
Forming an Attorney-Client Relationship: Call a Tampa Employment Trial Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case and Odds of Victory for the Company!
Whether defending employees’ legal rights, or employer rights against wrongful termination allegations, sexual harassment or unpaid wage, unpaid overtime pay, minimum wage and overtime claims, having the right attorney on your side can navigate the vast and ever-changing landscape of Florida employment law and ever evolving case precedent.
The attorney-client relationship forms upon consultation when you consider hiring the attorney. Once formed, this relationship helps prepare the client to bring a winning case to receive compensation where there is clearly established liability, including help through severance agreement advocacy, and avoid liability for claims that have no support in fact or law and are mere conjecture and conspiracy.
Whether you are looking for a Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale-based labor and employment law office handling practice areas pertaining to harassment or discrimination, Lawsuit.org will help you pinpoint the right one by offering a free consultation and possible free case evaluation to obtain the just results that an employee or employer needs.