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Miami Employment Law Blog

Workplace discrimination concerns are mounting

Anyone who has been watching the news lately has seen issues relating to racial relations in the United States reaching what appears to be a climax. The stress and tension in the air is so thick that you could cut it with a knife. However, we all continue to go to our jobs every day, and we continue the best we can to fulfill our work responsibilities, no matter our race, gender, sexual orientation, sex or creed.

During a time like this, while fulfilling their daily responsibilities, many Florida workers may be especially sensitive to any kinds of discrimination they are experiencing on the job. Some workers might be tuning into an ever-present sense that they are treated differently, that they don't receive the same opportunities as fellow employees, that they are being paid less, or that they are being harassed for superficial reasons that don't have anything to do with who they really are.

What should a workplace anti-discrimination policy include?

One of the best ways to prevent workplace discrimination in Florida businesses involves the setting up of an anti-discrimination policy. Having such a policy in place will allow employees to feel safe that -- even if they do become the victims of discrimination on the job -- they will be able to file a complaint without fear of reprisal, and that a plan of action exists for how to manage the complaint.

Every Florida workplace should have an anti-discrimination policy in place to limit the chances that employees could find themselves being discriminated against. There are several things that the anti-discrimination policy needs to include in this regard:

  • Clear and concise language that employees can understand easily without confusion.
  • Explicit and broad language stating that the company prohibits discrimination and harassment in all forms at the workplace.
  • Clearly defined descriptions about what constitutes harassment and discrimination. These descriptions should identify types of discrimination and harassment that are prohibited such as religious, sex, age, race, sexual preference, etc. Examples of instances of discrimination and harassment are very useful.
  • A description about what kinds of protections are offered outside the workplace. For example, the anti-discrimination policy should cover the employees, both in the workplace and at off-site meetings, sponsored events and holiday parties.
  • There should also be disciplinary provisions to punish employees that engage in discriminatory or harassing behaviors, and anti-retaliatory provisions to protect employees that file a report that they have been discriminated against.
  • Employees should be encouraged to make complaints and not to be afraid to make those complaints.

What damages can I claim in a wrongful termination suit?

If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job -- either through retaliation after reporting an instance of sexual harassment or as a result of unfair treatment for some other reason -- you may be able to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit. During this lawsuit, you will want to ask for a variety of financial remedies for damages that you have suffered as a result of the wrongful termination.

Let's take a look at some of the common damages that come into play in a wrongful termination suit:

  • One common claim is to request the reinstatement of your old job. Whether you would be interested in something like this or not would be your decision. Many ex-employees would prefer not to return to a job that didn't respect them.
  • You might also ask to receive back pay, which -- in some circumstances -- you can multiply by three. This backpay would include income lost as a result of your termination, income lost due to a missed raise or missed promotion that resulted from the termination.
  • Fringe benefits lost. These might include the monetary value represented by a company car, company cellphone, company gym membership and other benefits.
  • Emotional stress is another category of damages. Many people who are terminated wrongfully will endure a great deal of fear and emotional turmoil that will affect their lives in a negative way.
  • You can also ask for your employer to set up better sexual harassment policies to avoid problems like yours in the future.
  • Since you'll probably want to use an employment law attorney to represent you in your wrongful termination claim, you may also want to request attorneys' fees and other costs in your claim.

Ex-bartender files lawsuit against Tampa beach-themed restaurant

An ex-bartender from the Hogan's Beach restaurant-bar in Tampa has filed claims alleging sexual harassment. The woman says that the club encouraged and created an environment of pervasive sexual harassment. In her lawsuit, she says that she began working at the bar in 2013.

Hogan's Beach, named after wrestler Hulk Hogan, allegedly encouraged a work environment that was fraught with sexual harassment. The harassment was so extreme, the bartender said, that a sign in the office of the manager read: "NOTICE SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THIS AREA WILL NOT BE REPORTED HOWEVER, IT WILL BE ‘GRADED.'"

Monroe County school board facing charges of sexual harassment

The Monroe County School Board is facing a sexual harassment lawsuit. According to the suit, a second grader was being repeatedly groped by another student. The harassment went on for years, and school staff never did anything to correct the problem despite the student's pleas for help.

The lawsuit was filed in May 2017, and despite mediation sessions, the parents of the young victim have not agreed to resolve the issue. The parents say that they cannot afford to pay for more mediations. The parents are now representing themselves in the matter. An attorney representing the School Board said that continuing settlement negotiations without the assistance of a mediator would be a more productive way to seek resolution. Late last month, on June 27, the federal judge presiding over the matter agreed to let the parties negotiate without using a mediator.

Did you lose your job because you were pregnant?

In Florida and throughout the United States, federal and state workplace discrimination laws prohibit discrimination against employees who fall under a protected category. Usually, when we think of people who have protected status, we think of minority racial groups, people of foreign origin, women and people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. However, did you know that pregnant women are protected to?

It's easy to imagine a very common situation. A woman becomes pregnant, and suddenly she's faced with the fact that she can't do her job anymore. Maybe the woman's job involved lifting heavy objects, and as her pregnancy progresses, she can't do that anymore. Fortunately, this woman does not have to lose her job just because she can't lift heavy boxes anymore.

What is qui tam whistleblowing?

You have heard of whistleblowing in the workplace, but have you heard of qui tam? Understanding what it is can help you determine if you have a case and qualify for protection.

Qui tam is a type of whistleblowing that involves government funds. This means that if your employer is misusing federal money or programs, you can file an action against the company and receive a reward from the government.

Did you suffer from a sexual harassment scenario like this?

No Florida employee should ever have to endure an unwelcome or unwanted sexual comment at work. Furthermore, no employee should ever have to endure unwanted touching, flirting, sexual advances or sexual demands while he or she is trying to perform his or her job duties. Nevertheless, if you've ever had a job -- regardless if you're a male or female, and regardless if you were the victim or not -- there's no doubt that you've witnessed numerous instances of sexual harassment.

Here are some common sexual harassment scenarios that happen every day in Florida workplaces:

4 potential causes of wrongful termination

Florida employees have to deal with a lot of on-the-job stresses. In fact, the average employee who spends eight hours a day and 40 hours a week in an office is giving up a massive chunk of his or her personal freedom to help further the profit-generating pursuits of his or her employer. The very least that this employee should receive is fair treatment under the law.

Nevertheless, in addition to the stresses of being a nine-to-five worker, some employees are forced to endure difficult circumstances that lead to wrongful termination. Here are five of the most common ways that unlawful termination can happen at a Florida workplace:

What is pregnancy discrimination?

Learning you're pregnant and going to have a baby is one of the most beautiful pieces of information that any woman can receive. Your boss, however, might feel differently. Every year, countless soon-to-be mothers discover they're with child, and then find out they're without a job.

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) -- which is part of Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- employers are prohibited to discriminate against workers who are pregnant, giving birth or have a pregnancy or birth related medical condition. Employers must treat pregnant women in the same way as they would treat other job applicants of similar qualifications.

Law Offices of Gary A. Costales, P.A.
Free Phone consultation
| Hablamos español

Gary A. Costales, P.A.
1200 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1440
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: 877-389-7395
Fax: 305-375-9511
Map and Directions

1200 N. Federal Hwy. Suite 200
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Phone: 877-389-7395
Fax: 305-375-9511
Map and Directions

Law Offices of Gary A. Costales, P.A.