Let Our Florida Employment Law Attorneys Help You
While your employer might not like you taking certain actions, you are protected under the law when you file a workers’ compensation claim, report your company for illegal activity, testify against your employer under subpoena, or pursue compensation for unpaid wages. If your supervisor or coworkers retaliate against you for legally protected actions, you are covered both by Florida and federal laws.
For more information, or to tell us about your case, call us at (855)-532-8365.
Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Claim Filing
Under Florida Statute 440.205, you are protected from being “intimidated, coerced, threatened, or discharged in retaliation for filing or attempting to file a workers’ compensation claim.” As an employee, you have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim for injuries or illnesses sustained on the job. The only people who aren’t protected under the law are independent contractors, who must purchase their own coverage. Once you recover from your injuries, you are also allowed to return to your job when released to go back to work by your doctor. If you go to court against your employer for retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim, you can recover lost wages, payment for future medical care, a loss of earning capacity, and loss of enjoyment of life on top of the claim. However, you must be able to prove the retaliation was caused by filing or attempting to file the workers’ comp claim.
Hostile Work Environments & Toleration of Sexual Harassment
All employees are entitled to work in an environment that doesn’t cause them so much distress they fail to do their jobs. A hostile work environment is one in which the actions of your supervisor or coworker make your job impossible to do, particularly if the behavior altered the terms, conditions, or reasonable expectations of a comfortable work environment for you. Examples of behaviors that contribute to such a work environment include some of the following:
- Sexual suggestiveness
- Sabotaging an employee’s work
- Indecent gestures
- Use of demeaning or inappropriate terms
- Use of crude language
- Commenting on physical attributes
- Discussing sexual activities
- Unnecessary touching
- Displaying racially insensitive or discriminatory behavior
- Use of insults
- Displaying offensive objects/pictures
- Offensive jokes
If the behavior displayed is as distressing and distracting at work to any reasonable person, you might have a claim against your employer. Even if your supervisor is not the one performing these behaviors, his or her lack of responsibility regarding putting a stop to the behavior contributes to the activity. For example, if you report to your supervisor that a coworker is making inappropriate sexual gestures toward you, and they do nothing, they are tolerating sexual harassment. This behavior is punishable under federal and state law.
Often harassment is based on discrimination against race, color, religion, sex, national origin, pregnancy, age, disability, or genetic information. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) were all passed to protect employees from harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Some employers will retaliate against an employee, not based on their actions, but based on personal attributes that they can’t change. If an employer has a bias, he or she might discriminate against an employee and enact retaliatory practices for anything they deem irritating. For example, if your boss demotes you for taking family leave for pregnancy, this would be discrimination. Employees in Florida are protected under the Florida Civil Human Rights Act, which makes it illegal for companies to discriminate based on race, religion, color, age, sex, disability, national origin, disability, or marital status.
If your employer is retaliating against you based on discriminatory practices, you can file a claim with either the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). One is state-based while the other is federal, but they both cooperate with each other to process discrimination claims. If you file a claim with one, you don’t necessarily need to file it with the other as long as you indicate a desire to cross-file the claim with the other agency.
Wage & Hour Disputes
If your employer owes you wages for worked hours, he or she can’t punish you for asking for payment. As an employee, you are entitled to at least minimum wage and double the amount of your typical salary if you work over 40 hours. The FLSA protects you from being cheated out of your wages or punished for seeking compensation. In the state, you can sue for compensation owed for up to 2 years prior to filing the case. However, if the court determines your supervisor willfully disregarded FLSA regulations, you might recover up to 3 years of back pay.
Additionally, the FLSA protects you from being cheated out of overtime pay. If you work more than 40 hours during a week, your employer must pay you time-and-a-half for your efforts. Florida doesn’t have specific laws regarding overtime, but you are protected under federal law. If you win your suit, you can earn back pay for 2 to 3 years before the date you filed in addition to your company’s reimbursement of your legal costs. You also can’t be retaliated against for seeking unpaid overtime.
If your employer has 10 or more employees, you are protected under Florida law for whistleblowing. The act of whistleblowing means you report on or refuse to participate in discrimination, harassment, or illegal activity. Florida is an at-will employment state, meaning they can fire anyone for any reason that isn’t covered by state statutes. Whistleblowing on a company with 10 or more employees is a protected act, meaning you can’t be retaliated against for doing any of the following:
- Contacting a whistleblowing hotline
- Filing a written complaint with an appropriate agency on their own or as part of an ongoing investigation
- Participating in an investigation or legal action against an employer
Private employees are protected under the Florida Private Sector Whistleblower Act, while public employees are protected under the Florida Whistleblower’s Act. If you have a claim to file, make sure you do so before the statute of limitations has passed. Public employees must submit a claim before 180 days have elapsed after discovering you were retaliated against. Private employees must file within 2 years of discovery.
Contact Our Experienced Attorneys Today
If you’ve been retaliated against for a protected action, don’t hesitate to call our skilled Florida employment law attorneys. LeavenLaw has been helping Florida residents obtain compensation for decades. We are familiar with both state and federal employment laws, so we can help you navigate the complex nature of a claim. Our firm is highly rated and well regarded by many people whom we have helped. Let our lawyers provide you with unparalleled client service. We can offer compassionate, personalized, accurate, and affordable representation for your case.
To get started, talk to us about your situation in a free case consultation. Contact us at (855)-532-8365 or fill out our online form today.