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Miami Employment Law Blog

Examples of religious discrimination

Though the United States is supposed to be a country founded on freedom of religion, the unfortunate reality is that many people still face discrimination in the workplace based on what they believe. There are laws against this, but it still happens.

Fortunately, you don't have to accept it. You have rights and there are steps you can take. To make the abuse stop, but first you need to identify that it's happening. While every case is different, here are a few examples:

  • Your boss segregates you from the rest of the workforce based on your religion. For instance, maybe you want to work at the front desk, but your boss cites concerns about what customers will think and instead only lets you work in the back.
  • You get paid less than other employees who do the same job, with the same hours, and who have the same qualifications. The only difference is that they have a different religion than you, and they earn more because of it.
  • You get passed over for promotions based on your religion. You know that you're the most qualified, but your supervisors do not want someone of your religion rising up the corporate ladder.
  • You get demoted or even fired when they find out your religion. Maybe you never mentioned it when you got hired. Despite being a good employee, when it finally comes up, it leads to the immediate termination of your position.

Your employment contract: What it should contain

Whenever you sign an employment contract, you need to make sure that it contains all the proper elements to define your job. Remember, while your contract can offer you protection from things like a firing without warning, giving you security. It also tells you your obligations and shows what the company must do for you in turn. Never take this lightly or assume you know what a contract offers without reading it.

Here are a few things a contract should outline:

  • The compensation you get, whether it is hourly pay or a simple salary
  • The benefits that go along with that compensation
  • The hours that you are expected to work, including how many hours and when you have to work
  • How you can get time off, whether it is for vacation or due to illness
  • What special rules you need to follow at the company
  • What process can lead to a termination of your job
  • Exactly what tasks and duties you are expected to do in the course of your employment
  • What type of employee you are and how you are classified for tax purposes
  • What company secrets you need to keep and what you can do with confidential information
  • Whether or not you're allowed to work for a similar company when leaving your position
  • The total length of the contract (whether it lasts for a single year or is open-ended) and whether it is subject to renewal

Wrongful termination: What is constructive dismissal?

Have you ever had a job that was so terrible you wondered how any human being could tolerate it? What if the awful nature of the job required you to commit a crime, endanger your life or endure extremely uncomfortable conditions? Even worse, what if your employer created these circumstances on purpose, just to get you to quit?

If you left a job because of the egregious working conditions, you could be a victim of a type of wrongful termination called "constructive dismissal." These cases can happen when an employer wants to fire you but doesn't have a lawful reason to do so. Maybe you're protected from termination due to the employment contract you signed. Or, maybe the employer wants you to leave because of your race, national origin, religious viewpoint, disability status, gender – or some other protected status – but directly terminating you isn't an option.

A healthcare fraud case highlights whistleblower efforts

A Florida case involving healthcare fraud finally settled in 2017 after years of undercover work by the whistleblower and his team. Freedom Health in Tampa was the company that came under intense government scrutiny following the “qui tam” complaint filed by employee Darren Sewell.

What happened

Is your boss discriminating against you because of your genetics?

Genetic testing has been available for decades. It's useful for determining a lot of information about someone, and these days, doctors and scientists will know more about you than ever after obtaining a small sample of your DNA. So will your boss.

Although it goes against every fabric of "right and wrong," it's easy to foresee a future in which people are discriminated against on the basis of their DNA signatures. Perhaps scientists will identify a "smart gene," and employers will refuse to hire anyone who doesn't have it. Or, maybe an art studio will only hire artists who have the "art gene." This is a terrifying future indeed.

The link between power and sexual harassment

When you take a first look at the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, it's easy to think that it happens because of physical attraction. You think it's based on lust or the desire for a more intimate relationship that is not shared by the other party.

While these things may play a role in some cases, experts have noted that the real issue is power. Sexual harassment is a way for a person in power to assert that control over the other person. It makes the victim feel nervous and vulnerable. It puts them off their guard. It makes them feel inferior to the other party.

Are you suffering from unpaid overtime at work?

In a boring job, every day can seem like you're working longer and longer, even though you're clocking in the same number of hours. When your shift is done, the only thing you want is to go home, relax and spend time with your family. Fortunately, employers are limited to employing just 40 hours a week if they don't want to trigger "overtime laws."

Overtime allows for workers to benefit when they are asked to contribute to their jobs more than 40 hours in a single week. In fact, employers have to pay their workers more money in these circumstances, and this could serve to motivate workers to put in the extra time.

Male cruise line employee files sexual harassment claim

A former labor analyst for Disney Cruise Line has filed a legal action alleging that he was victimized by sexual harassment and age discrimination and that he was subjected to a hostile work environment and bullying. According to the complaint, the man's younger female manager bragged about sleeping with married men from the office, bullied him about his age and overlooked him for promotions.

The employee said that his manager referred to him as a "stuffy old fart" while his coworkers were present and refused to provide him with an iPad or iPhone as she did for other staff who were below the age of 40. Allegedly, the woman also ignored him when promotion opportunities were available and stole his medication for attention deficit disorder.

How bartenders can fight against sexual harassment

As a bartender, you are no stranger to uncomfortable remarks and unwanted interactions at your job. Unfortunately, sexual assault and violence are commonplace in the alcohol industry. In fact, bartenders experience the third highest rate of workplace violence, just behind police officers and security guards. 

Your profession should not be a green light for customers to treat you inappropriately. Here are a few tools for combating and responding to sexual harassment as a bartender.

Age discrimination: Were you a victim of this unlawful behavior?

You never thought of yourself to be at risk of age discrimination, but on your 40th birthday, you looked around your Florida workplace and suddenly realized you're the oldest one there. Then, the jokes started, and people began making fun of how old you are. These jests seemed harmless at first, but you soon discovered that you were being left out of office social events, denied promotions and when it came time to lay people off, you were the first to lose your job.

"We need some new blood around here, and to give our office a fresher face. Don't take it personally," your boss said. And that's when it hit you that you lost your job because of your age.

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