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Miami Employment Law Blog

What's a qui tam lawsuit?

Just like any large organization -- and any person or small organization for that matter -- the federal government wants to protect its financial interests. Federal organizations will therefore do their best to identify any potentially fraudulent transactions made between itself and private companies.

In addition to investigating suspicious activity, the government also offers big monetary rewards in some cases to people who report instances of fraud against the government. Under the federal False Claims Act, for example, individuals receive money in exchange for revealing secrets about people who are engaging in less than kosher business transactions.

What you can do if your employer breaches your contract

The business world can be vicious. In some cases, predatory employers may try to screw you over. If you are suspicious that your employer is mistreating you by breaching your employment contract, you may be able to take legal action. 

But how do you know if your contract has been breached, and what exactly should you do about it? These questions are answered below. 

Manager says she was fired for hiring racially diverse staff

Whataburger Restaurants is facing a sexual harassment claim from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit relates to the fast-food chain's retaliation against a female manager at a location in Florida.

The manager claims that her superiors put pressure on her to only hire workers who were white. When she refused, according to the suit, the Whataburger chain wrongfully terminated her in retaliation for her refusal to engage in racially-biased hiring practices.

Supreme court ruling changes Florida noncompete law

Home health care agencies in Florida can now receive protection relating to their business interests. A recent decision by the Florida Supreme Court ruled that home health care agencies in Florida can enforce the non-compete agreements they require their marketing representative to sign. In other words, marketing representatives employed by home health care agencies will no longer be able to leave their jobs and bring their books of clients with them.

The decision relates to the case of two marketing reps who worked at different home health care groups. According to the home health care agencies that employed them, the firms lost business when the two women left their jobs and violated their noncompete agreements while working for other agencies.

Is your office a toxic workplace?

A lot of sexual harassment lawsuits focus on toxic workplace culture. That's because Florida workplaces and employers are required to offer their employees a workplace that is free of offensive, sexualized banter and sexual harassment. In some situations, workplace culture serves to promote this bad behavior. Employers have a legal duty to squelch this kind of culture as soon as it rears its ugly head.

Here's what to look for to determine if you believe that your workplace culture is "toxic":

  • Women don't receive promotions while men always seem to get opportunities and raises.
  • Maternity and paternity leave policies are outdated, and employees feel like they're being discouraged from taking time off for the birth of a baby, even though it's their legal right to do so.
  • Flirty comments are frequent and make you feel uncomfortable. If you complain, you hear someone say "That's just how things are at this office." or "Come on, it was just a joke."
  • Women are constantly being commented on regarding their clothing and appearance rather than a job well done and good work ethic.
  • After work events tend to be boy's club events. It tends to just be the men who come, and the banter tends to be about women, with lots of raunchy jokes.
  • Male salaries outpace female salaries notably..
  • Go-getter female employees are referred to as aggressive and moody, while the male employees are referred to as motivated and passionate.
  • Female complaints don't receive action, while male complaints are listened to and taken seriously.
  • Female job applicants only get the job to meet quotas to build the appearance of a diverse workplace, but in reality, they are not respected once they get the job.

The majority of physical therapists get sexually harassed

A survey of approximately 900 physical therapists revealed that 80 percent of them experience on-the-job sexual harassment. According to the study, inappropriate sexual behavior on the part of patients is a common experience for most physical therapists.

According to the physical therapists surveyed, most of them had suffered from indecent exposure, sexual remarks and sexual assault. Approximately half of them had experienced such behavior over the previous year. The survey results show that the number of physical therapists being sexually harassed is the same as it was during the 1990s.

What Florida employees should know about non-compete agreements

Some Florida employers have employees sign non-compete agreements as a condition of employment. Florida law recognizes and enforces these agreements so long as they are valid and their terms are reasonable.

Employers often have legitimate business reasons to impose non-competes. While the following overview can give you an understanding of how the law determines the legitimacy of a given provision, consulting an attorney is the best way to learn more about your rights in a particular agreement.

The basic parts of an employment contract

Many people sign employment contracts when they start a new job -- especially when they go to work for a new company. In evaluating such a contract, the more you know about what these contracts normally include the better.

With this in mind, let's review the basic parts of a good employment contract:

  • A definition of the job: Your employment contract should tell you exactly what your job requirements are. These should include the essential duties and name of your position. This definition will also need to clarify the hours you will work and where you will work.
  • How long the agreement lasts: Your employment contract should clarify how long the agreement is good for. It should also have timetables for noncompetition clauses, how much notice you should provide before ending your employment and other timetables.
  • Performance expectations: Your performance requirements need to be detailed in your contract. In addition, your contract should detail performance metrics that will be used to measure your success as an employee.
  • Compensation: Most importantly from your perspective, your contract needs to clarify exactly how much you will receive as payment and compensation. This includes hourly wages, yearly salary and/or commissions that you should expect to receive -- in addition to other benefits like health benefits, company perks, retirement savings plans and other extras.

Data reveals women's struggles in the tech industries

Discrimination against women in high-tech jobs has been getting more attention lately thanks to media reports that reveal an ingrained culture of bias and harassment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has compiled data that indicates these stories may be just the tip of the iceberg.

Studies show that discrimination against women and minority groups has created an "overwhelming dominance of white men" in tech fields.

How does Florida state law protect whistleblowers?

Both federal and state laws protect Florida employees from being wrongfully terminated for reporting unlawful or unethical behavior at their workplaces. This article will focus on two state laws that protect Florida private sector workers and Florida public sector workers.

As for private sector employees in Florida, if a worker witnesses an act at his or her workplace that violates a regulation or law, he or she may report this action to superiors or law enforcement officials without fear of retaliation and/or losing his or her job. In other words, employees are protected from being terminated or discriminated against for either threatening to disclose or disclosing employer practices that are against the law. Furthermore, private sector employees are protected from such retaliation if they refuse to break the law and/or participate in an investigation. This is in reference to Florida Statute 448.102.

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
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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.