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Broward County Employment Law Blog

School administrator files employment discrimination lawsuit

Florida employees have the right to receive reasonable accommodations when they get older and start developing associated medical conditions. Unfortunately, this is often not the case, and instead, workers are sometimes mocked and pressured to retire. A high school in another state is currently facing an employment discrimination lawsuit that was filed by a man who had an administrative position before he developed a medical disability.

Court documents indicate that the plaintiff -- a 60-year-old man with a record of teaching and administrative excellence -- was employed as the operations director at the high school. The plaintiff contends that he started to suffer medical problems that were later diagnosed as the onset of Parkinson's disease. The complaint alleges the executive director of the school ridiculed the man's medical disabilities to in public. Furthermore, as part of an attempt to get the plaintiff to retire, the defendant ordered his demotion to the dean of students.

County agrees to settle wage and hour law claim for back wages

Understandably, county workers in Florida expect fair treatment when it comes to their wages and the hours they put in on the job. Water-treatment employees in another state who had such expectations were reportedly disillusioned. A total of 151 workers filed a class action lawsuit against the county back in 2011. It has now been reported that the county has agreed to pay a $795,000 settlement in what it stated was a compromise with no admission of liability in the case alleging violations of wage and hour law.

The lawsuit was initially filed by three workers and later joined by more employees. According to the court documents, the county's regulations prohibited employees from taking their work gear home and arrive at work already wearing it. However, the time workers spent on preshift duties such as dressing in the appropriate safety gear, attending briefings and more was not included when their wages were calculated.

Landlord sued by former worker for 10 years of unpaid overtime

Florida residents may have read about a case that followed hundreds of tenants' complaints against a landlord who is the owner of almost 150 apartment buildings in another state. Along with facing multiple felony charges related to the manner in which he handled the finances of his properties, he is now also being sued by a former employee. A man who claims to have been managing 11 of the landlord's buildings has filed a lawsuit alleging wage and hour law violations for unpaid overtime. The man says he was never paid any overtime wages over the almost 10 years in which his workweeks covered an average of 81 hours per week.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was on-call permanently and had to respond to the needs of tenants in all 11 complexes under his supervision. He contends his workdays typically started at 5 a.m. -- including Saturdays and Sundays. The superintendent alleges he is owed thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime.

Workplace discrimination often well disguised and subtle

Employers in Florida who are inclined to discriminate against some employees typically do so in subtle ways. It is not uncommon for workers to sense an atmosphere of discrimination but then tell themselves that they are oversensitive or paranoid. The fear of losing a job often prevents victims of workplace discrimination from reporting their suspicions.

Employment discrimination based on religion, gender, race, age or sexual orientation is not allowed. If minimum diversity is noticed in a workplace where all employees conform to the same characteristics, it may indicate that the company prefers to employ individuals fitting those attributes. However, another clear indication is a business in which all types of people are employed, but a clear divide exists between their employment levels. For example, a work environment where all the females are administrative clerks and all the men are in management positions.

Jail deputy files 2nd lawsuit alleging retaliation after 1st suit

Employers nationwide, including in Florida, are not permitted to retaliate against workers who reported violations of their rights as employees. An employee of a county jail in another state recently filed a second lawsuit against his employers, alleging retaliation after the first lawsuit. In 2012 the man filed a whistleblower complaint about religion discrimination, and a settlement with the county was reached in 2014. Part of the settlement agreement stated that the county would provide prison staff with obligatory anti-discrimination training.

However, the jail deputy alleges retaliation since then has become unbearable. He contends that he has not been considered for promotions, and performance reports depicted him as an incompetent worker. Court documents indicate that three applications for positions as an open sergeant since 2014 were denied. The man asserts that, on one occasion, he was informed that his previous lawsuit resulted in the management not wanting to work with him.

McDonald's faces 15 worker complaints alleging sexual harassment

The recent release of a survey that included the experiences of 1,217 women in the fast food industry revealed that four in 10 women in this industry had been subjected to workplace harassment. The majority of the respondents were victims of frequent sexual harassment, and in some cases, there were male victims of sexual discrimination. It is not uncommon for such harassment to go unreported because of the fear of retaliation or termination. However, 15 complaints have been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by employees of McDonald's in eight different states, including in Florida.

The details of some of the alleged incidents are shocking. One drive-thru cashier says her manager unsnapped her bra and upon confrontation, he allegedly said he did it because he could. Others claim their supervisors show them pornographic images, and one shift supervisor allegedly showed an employee a photo of his genitals. Another worker alleges her boss sent her a text message offering her $1,000 for oral sex.

Rescue mission worker alleges sexual harassment at work

Having to cope with unwanted sexual advances at work can make life extremely unpleasant, and employees nationwide, including in Florida, need not put up with it. A man who claims to be a victim of such harassment recently filed a federal lawsuit against a rescue mission in another state. The lawsuit alleges he was dismissed after repeatedly reporting sexual harassment.

The man, who was employed as a truck driver, was tasked with collecting donations at the warehouse of the rescue mission and then delivering them to the kitchen. The plaintiff alleges that sexual harassment by other workers started at the beginning of 2015. He claims that colleagues would make sexually offensive advances and comments. They also engaged in inappropriate touching of his body, and some went as far as putting their hands in his pants.

Workplace discrimination claimed by pregnant hospital worker

Workers in Florida and elsewhere are protected by various laws, one of which is the Americans with Disabilities Act. An ex-employee of a hospital in another state is accusing her former employers of violating this law. She has recently filed a federal lawsuit alleging workplace discrimination. According to the lawsuit, the woman was employed as an admissions representative by the defendant and had been working for the company for 18 years.

She asserts that along with suffering from diabetes, she was about half way through a high-risk pregnancy when she requested to be allocated an air conditioned office. Her medical condition at the time made it difficult for her to breathe in unusually hot conditions. It is alleged that, as with other requests for breaks or time off during her pregnancy, the employer refused the request for air conditioning and told the employee that she could resign if she was unhappy with the work environment.

Former police officer alleges workplace discrimination by chief

Police officers in Florida may be interested in a lawsuit that was filed by a former cop against the city in which he was employed. The complaint alleges unfair hiring practices, disability discrimination and other workplace discrimination. The allegations are made against the city and some of its employees.

The ex-cop claims to have undergone two surgical procedures for back injuries that he suffered on duty in 2004 and again in 2010. Although he continued working as an officer for years after the surgeries, by 2013 he was declared medically disabled to continue being a police officer. He then secured a part-time administrative position, and he claims to have applied for the permanent appointment in that position. However, he alleges that in 2014, a permanent employee -- less qualified than himself -- was appointed to that position without allowing the plaintiff an interview.

4 women file sexual harassment lawsuit against restaurant owner

The lives of female employees in Florida and other states can be made extremely unpleasant if they are exposed to inappropriate actions by male colleagues and bosses. Some women endure sexual harassment in the workplace, and some quit their jobs to escape it. When one person has the courage to take action, it is not uncommon for more victims to do the same.

Four women who were employed by a restaurant in another state decided that enough was enough and filed sexual harassment claims against their boss. The defendants in the claims are the restaurant and its owner. The plaintiffs allege the owner of the restaurant has inappropriately groped, touched and massaged female employees for years.

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