Florida Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Helping Florida Residents Since 1972
It can sometimes be difficult to prove wrongful termination in Florida,
as it is an at-will state. At-will employment means any employer can fire,
demote, hire, promote, and discipline employees for any reason. However,
there are some exceptions to the at-will employment laws. For example,
the following actions are illegal for an employer to take:
- Retaliating against a worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Retaliating against an employee for whistleblowing
- Discriminating against an employee on the basis of age, race, sex, pregnancy,
national origin, color, religion, or disability
- Retaliating against a worker for taking leave for bereavement, illness,
disability, or serious medical condition of a family member
- Creating a hostile work environment
- Tolerating sexual harassment in the workplace
These restrictions apply in addition to protections offered by the Fair
Labors Standards Act (FLSA), which obligate employers to pay at least
minimum wage and a rate of time-and-a-half for any overtime worked.
To speak with one of our experienced employment law attorneys, contact
us today! We can answer pressing questions regarding your case.
Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Claim Filing
If you were injured on the job, you have a right to file a workers’
compensation claim if you are an employee of your company. Independent
contractors have to pay their own insurance costs unless your employer
improperly classified you as such in order to avoid paying for your benefits.
According to Florida Statute 440.205, employees 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 are entitled to have your medical expenses and missed
wages paid for if you are injured on the job. Likewise, you are also allowed
to return to your job when you are released to return to work by your
If you bring a claim against your employer, you can recover lost wages,
a loss of earning capacity, payment of future medical care, pain and suffering,
and loss of enjoyment of life in addition to the workers’ comp claim.
You must be able to show the retaliation was caused by filing or attempting
to file the claim.
Hostile Work Environments & Toleration of Sexual Harassment
A hostile work environment is a place of employment in which the actions
of your boss or coworker make your job impossible to do. If the behavior
of your boss or coworker altered the terms, conditions, or reasonable
expectations of a comfortable work environment for you, you might have
a claim. Some examples of behaviors that contribute to a hostile work
- Displaying racially insensitive or discriminatory behavior
- Unnecessary touching
- Discussing sexual activities
- Commenting on physical attributes
- Using crude language
- Using demeaning or inappropriate terms
- Indecent gestures
- Sabotaging an employee’s work
- Sexual suggestiveness
A hostile work environment typically includes some type of discriminatory
behavior, including sexual harassment or toleration of sexual harassment.
For example, if you complained to your supervisor about the sexually harassing
behavior of another employee and your supervisor did nothing about it,
this would be considered creating a hostile work environment for you.
While the Department of Labor has a Harassing Conduct Policy designed to
provide a process for addressing incidents of unwelcome conduct long before
they become severe enough to be considered hostile, if all other resources
have failed you can sue your employer for allowing or perpetuating hostility
that would prevent any reasonable person from doing his or her job.
In some cases, employers will treat their employees differently based on
bias and discrimination. For example, if your supervisor continues to
promote people of one race over another actively, this would be considered
discrimination based on race. Employees are protected under the Florida
Civil Human Rights Act, which makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate
based on race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, disability,
or marital status.
Discrimination claims can be filed with the Florida Commission on Human
Relations (FCHR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The state and federal agencies have a work-sharing agreement, which means
both agencies cooperate with each other to process claims. If you file
a claim with one, you don’t necessarily need to file it with the
other as long as you indicate you want to cross-file the claim with the
Wage & Hour Disputes
If your employer owes you wages for regular hours or overtime pay, he or
she can’t terminate you for objecting to not being paid. For every
hour you work for your employer, he or she owes you at least minimum wage.
The FLSA protects you from being cheated of your wages or punished for
seeking compensation. In Florida, employees are allowed to sue for compensation
owed for up to 2 years prior to filing the case. If the court determines
your employer willfully disregarded FLSA regulations, you might be able
to recover up to 3 years of back pay.
Likewise, the FLSA protects employees from supervisors who refuse to pay
workers for any hours worked over 40. As an employee, you are entitled
to not only minimum wage but also time-and-a-half the amount of your typical
payment for overtime. While Florida doesn’t have specific laws regarding
overtime, federal protection is sufficient to pursue a lawsuit against
your employer. If you win your suit, you are entitled to back pay for
2 to 3 years before the date you filed in addition to your company’s
reimbursement for your legal costs. You cannot be terminated for challenging
the business’s failure to pay overtime or because your employer
doesn’t want to pay your wages.
Under Florida law, if your employer has 10 or more employees, you may be
a protected whistleblower. Employees who report on or refuse to participate
in discrimination, harassment, or illegal activity are considered whistleblowers.
While the state is an at-will employment state, you can’t be fired
or harassed for being a whistleblower. Other activities considered whistleblowing include:
- Participating in an investigation or legal action against an employer
- Contacting a whistleblowing hotline
- Filing a written complaint with an appropriate agency on their own or as
part of an ongoing investigation
The Florida Whistleblower’s Act protects public employees, while
private employees are protected under the Florida Private Sector Whistleblower
Act. If you have a retaliation claim, make sure you file it before the
statute of limitations has passed. Private employees must file within
2 years of discovering that the personnel action was taken. Public employees
only have 180 days to file.
Contact Us Today
Employment law can be incredibly complicated, especially since some aspects
are covered by state and federal statutes while others are only covered
by one or the other. Our firm has been helping Florida residents with
claims since 1972. We are also highly rated and well regarded by many
people whom we have helped. Martindale-Hubbell®, one of the oldest
and most prestigious attorney rating services, has listed us as a top-rated
law firm. Let our
experienced Florida employment law attorneys help you effectively and efficiently.
Contact us at (855)-532-8365 or fill out our online form to schedule your free
case consultation today.