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Broward County Employment Law Blog

Workplace discrimination: Replacing old with young is less costly

Many Baby Boomers in Florida are reaching a time in their careers at which their age may be seen as a disadvantage. Those who are now in their 50s and 60s likely went through college with a heightened awareness of their rights and may not be inclined to put up with age discrimination in their places of work. Fortunately, help is available from the attorneys at The Amlong Firm in Fort Lauderdale, who are aggressive advocates for those facing workplace discrimination.

It is not uncommon for the employment of older workers to be terminated, with younger employees hired in their places. One excuse is that older workers become less competent as they age. In most cases, the real reason is the fact that younger workers can be employed at much lower salaries. The benefits typically provided to younger workers also come at a much lower cost to the company.

Violations of employee rights may lead to lawsuits

Florida workers have obligations and rights governed by state and federal employment laws. Both former and current employees and even those individuals who are applying for jobs have rights. Due to the diversity of the issues that can arise, the support and guidance of an experienced employment law attorney may be of great help for those who want to pursue legal action against an employer for a violation of employee rights.

Workplace discrimination, violations of safety regulations, wage and tax law violations may all be a proper basis of a civil claim. If the claim pertains to a contract between the employer and employee, the duties and rights of the parties will likely be governed by state law alone. A seasoned attorney can help identify which laws may be applicable to a particular situation.

Workplace discrimination: Claims involving family care increasing

A nonprofit research group in another state reported a growing number of lawsuits in which family responsibility discrimination is alleged. The group expects an ongoing increase in such workplace discrimination cases as the percentages of aging parents needing care and the responsibilities of caring for physically challenged family members increase. There is also a marked increase in the number of men who assume the roles of primary caregivers across the country, including in Florida.

The majority of these claims include complaints such as the unfair treatment of workers with elder care obligations. The same consideration is required for men who are responsible for the care of a spouse, elderly family members or children. Another group of people who seem to endure discrimination is pregnant women and those who need accommodation for breastfeeding after their return to work.

911 Call Center worker sues city alleging FMLA violation

Workers in Florida whose employers fail to accommodate them in times of ill health may find comfort in knowing that they are entitled to pursue recovery of lost income and other losses. One such a lawsuit was filed against a city in another state. An employee alleges violations of the FMLA in her employer's reaction to her request for medical leave.

According to the complaint, the employee had been an employee of the city's 911 Call Center since 2008. Her position at that time was a part-time appointment as a quality assurance manager. She contends that on June 23, 2014, she informed her employer that she was scheduled for surgery, and she requested a week to recover. Although the director seemed willing to accommodate her at first, he allegedly informed her later that day that she could only maintain her job if she would accept a different position.

Federal lawsuit alleges disability employment discrimination

Employers in Florida and other states must ensure that all employees are treated equally, regardless of race, age, sex, national origin or disabilities. Unfortunately, employment discrimination is prevalent in many workplaces, often leading to lawsuits. Alleged ongoing harassment and discrimination by management and other workers resulted in a woman filing a federal lawsuit in another state.

The woman claims violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the complaint, the discrimination followed a four-month period of short-term disability in 2012. The plaintiff contends a new supervisor was appointed shortly before this absence. Upon her return to work, this supervisor allegedly subjected the plaintiff to a consistent flow of demeaning jokes and remarks about her disability and her medication, along with comments relating to her appearance, her performance at work and her salary.

Woman alleges termination followed complaint about racial remark

Discrimination of any kind in a Florida workplace is unacceptable. Employees spend the biggest part of every day at work. Having to endure disparate treatment and insensitive remarks about race, religion, national origin or color will naturally make working unbearable. A woman in another state filed a federal lawsuit against her former employers recently, alleging racial discrimination and unequal treatment.

Allegedly, the plaintiff became involved in an altercation with a colleague while in the employ of the defendant. The incident took place at work, sometime in the first three months of 2013. It is alleged that the other person allegedly made insulting remarks pertaining to the plaintiff's race and indicated her intention to get the woman fired. The plaintiff asserts that she reported the racially charged remark to a supervisor immediately after the incident.

Workplace discrimination: Lowe's reach $8.6 million settlement

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against any person with disabilities in transportation, communications, public accommodation, government activities and employment. Any Florida resident who suffers workplace discrimination because of physical challenges retains the right to hold such an employer accountable. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) strives to protect employees from discrimination of any form.

Lowe's, a chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores in the United States, has reached an $8.6 million settlement with thousands of victims of disability discrimination that were dismissed from their positions with the company. The EEOC determined that Lowe's failed to provide accommodations when workers exceeded the company's rigid leave-of-absence management program that offered no flexibility. Instead of providing accommodation, employees were fired.

Employment discrimination: Young mothers have rights too

According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the lives of many young pregnant women are made tough in their workplaces in Florida and other states. In environments in which employment discrimination is prevalent, young mothers-to-be often suffer stress, anxiety and depression. This does not only harm the health of the mothers but also their unborn babies.

A significant number of expectant and new mothers are in junior positions in which they earn minimal wages. They are typically busy working themselves up to a stage where they would qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, but they are not there yet. Coping with the costs of childcare and other responsibilities of a mother while meeting the expectations of an unsympathetic employer can be extremely challenging.

Workplace discrimination: Lawsuit follows failure to accommodate

Employees in Florida and across the country who have physical restrictions are protected from discrimination by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Victims of such workplace discrimination may seek the support of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC will endeavor to negotiate voluntary compliance, failing which, legal action will be taken.

One such lawsuit was recently filed against the holding company of a gasoline retailer that operates in the parking lots of Walmart in over 20 states. According to the complaint, a worker who had been employed by the defendant for 10 years developed a back ailment. His doctor ordered specific accommodations to be made by the employer, but those accommodations were refused.

Help is available to sue employers not paying minimum wage

Florida workers may feel powerless if their employers fail to pay them what they are due. There are different situations in which employers may violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not paying minimum wage. Regardless of the category of worker who is denied proper remuneration, help is available to take appropriate legal action.

These violations often occur among tipped workers such as bartenders and food servers. Under federal law, employers must top up tips to ensure workers received at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for eight-hour shifts. Chefs, managers and other non-tipped employees may not share in the tip pool. It is also not uncommon for employers to avoid paying employees for hours worked beyond normal hours. Some employers even try to get away with deducting time spent on work-related activities -- such as training sessions, meetings and related activities -- often in an effort to avoid paying overtime.

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