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Miami Employment Law Blog

Examples of sexual harassment

Imagine you've been working at the same job for the last seven years, and suddenly a new manager comes on scene. At first, the manager seems like a jokester, and you get along great with him or her, but before you know it, things turn sexual. What you thought was good-natured banter has now taken an insulting and demeaning turn. Your manager has even started to touch you in a way that's extremely uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, situations like this happen frequently in Florida. Even though an employee has been working at a particular job for some time, he or she could encounter one of the following examples of sexual harassment at any time:

Is minimum wage too low in Florida?

A recent survey published by the Orlando Sentinel revealed that most Floridians do not agree with the current minimum wage. According to the survey, the typical Floridan knew exactly how much the minimum wage was and also wanted the minimum wage to increase.

The current minimum wage in Florida is $8.25 per hour at the time of writing this article. The survey, however, revealed that Floridians want a higher minimum wage, which -- after averaging responses -- would come to $11.99. That's $3.74 higher than minimum wage earners currently earn.

Be careful what you say to your coworker

Social interaction in the workplace has certain parameters that you may find are more relaxed among the friends you have over for a barbeque.

Coworkers can misconstrue casual comments, and you want to avoid any appearance of employee discrimination. Here are five topics to avoid:

Ex-Marco Island employee sues city for wrongful termination

An ex-employee of the city of Marco Island has sued the municipality for wrongful termination. In his court documents, the man claims that he was wrongfully terminated because he exercised his right to freedom of speech.

The ex-employee was an environmental specialist who worked for the city of Marco Island from October 2015 until his termination earlier this year. The man says that he was terminated after he reported environmental protection law violations to federal and Florida state authorities. According to court documents, he initially reported the existence of false environmental reports pertaining to wetlands and mangroves to his direct supervisors in May 2017, but city officials didn't take action. He then reported the problem to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Miami Beach wage law dispute could affect entire state

The minimum wage in Florida is currently $8.25 per hour, and it can go up based on the way the consumer price index changes each year. However, lawmakers in Miami Beach approved a higher minimum than the rest of the state two years ago -- which lawmakers felt was fair due to the higher cost of living in the area.

Not long after the Miami Beach City Commission approved the wage hike for its lowest wage workers, a circuit court judge ruled that the wage increase was unlawful. In addition, an appeals court agreed with the judge's ruling, saying that Florida state laws do not permit cities to have their own minimum wages.

Keep your eye out for 'subtle' sexual harassment

Sexual harassment often begins in subtle ways. A comment here, a touch there, and before long, it escalates into full-blown extortion, the loss of one's job, toxic stress and a terrifying feeling of being bullied, taken advantage of or even sexually assaulted. Due to the reality that sexual harassment continues to pervade Florida workplaces, it's important that all workers -- not just female workers -- be on alert for the subtle cues that a mildly uncomfortable situation could turn into a career- and confidence-destroying calamity.

Watch for subtle comments and innuendo

Is Florida seeing a spike in sexual harassment complaints?

With the strong political and popular support behind the #MeToo movement, one might suspect that the various agencies that handle sexual harassment complaints are seeing a rise in work. In some parts of the nation, this is certainly true, but not in all areas of the country -- particularly Florida.

In the early summer months, the acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stated that the #MeToo movement had not resulted in a spike in its statistics for sexual harassment complaints. However, this was probably because the movement did not hit its stride until October 2017. As such, the rise in EEOC sexual harassment and other complaints will probably no be seen in statistics until the end of the fiscal year, which arrives on Oct. 1, 2018.

Is your age a factor when the time comes for a promotion?

A promotion at work would mean more responsibility and more decision-making power, and it would also mean a raise in salary. Unfortunately, you were passed over for promotion six months ago, and it looks like a repeat is in the works. Are younger people receiving promotions instead of you?

A little history

What should I do if the men on my team get more credit at work?

Gender inequality pervades American workplaces, and usually it's the men who receive the advantages and the women who are left behind. If you're currently working on an all-male team, and you're the only female, you might find that your male colleagues receive more praise and promotions.

Keep reading for some advice if you're facing unequal treatment like this as a result of your gender.

How to fight back against a sexual harasser

No one expects to become the victim of sexual harassment, and they might not catch the behavior until after it becomes severe. Here's how to recognize sexual harassment as quickly as possible so that you can address it and put a stop to it:

Notice when a coworker makes you feel uncomfortable: It doesn't matter the context or what is actually happening. Does your coworker or manager make you feel uncomfortable? Would you prefer not to be around him or her? If you can answer yes to either of these questions, that's enough. Be on alert for harassing and sexualized comments coming from this person.

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