Florida Labor & Employment Law
An applicant for a position may file a claim for discrimination if he or she believes the prospective employer did not offer the job for reasons not allowed by law. While employers have the right to select and retain the best people to fill job openings, they cannot fire or decide not to hire a person based solely upon a characteristic protected under the law.
If you are an employer and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has just issued a charge against you, what do you do now? What should you say? What should you not say? You are in a precarious situation, and it is crucial that you do not take your charge lightly.
Federal laws, Florida statutes, and the constitution have evolved over the last several decades and continue to evolve. Our employee rights attorneys offer advice to employers and employees regarding their rights and obligations in the workplace. Additionally, we draft handbooks, job descriptions and policies that are narrowly tailored to your company’s unique needs and assure compliance with state and federal laws. While the law does not require employers to have an employee handbook, creating workplace procedures helps create a positive working environment.
As an employer, you have a responsibility to lay out all of the terms of employment for each of your employees before they enter into an agreement of employment with you. There are certain provisions that are common sense to include, but there are others that may not have even crossed your mind.
Fair Housing Act
Many of the same legal protections employees have in the workplace apply to prospective and current tenants and homeowners. When you go to buy a house or rent an apartment, you shouldn’t have to worry about your accent or the way you dress. Unfortunately, however, these kinds of things can have an effect on a tenant or home buyer’s experience, but this doesn’t make it acceptable.
Harassment laws protect employees from being harassed by supervisors, fellow workers or even customers while at work. The Federal Civil Rights Act and Florida’s Civil Rights Act prohibit many types of discrimination in employment and make sexual, racial and other types of harassment illegal in the workplace.
Complying with the new Healthcare Reform laws in addition to state and federal labor and employment rules and regulations can pose many challenges. Our regulatory compliance lawyers provide legal advice to help employers meet these requirements.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law designed to create standards for maintaining patient health records electronically and put procedures in place to keep those records private and secure. HIPAA applies to healthcare providers, employers, and their business affiliates. HIPAA seeks to protect health information, including personal information that may be used to identify a person. These rules apply to oral, written and electronic patient records. Our HIPAA compliance lawyers are able to provide guidance to ensure your business practices comply with these very complex rules.
Labor & Employment Law
State and federal employment and labor laws protect people in the workplace and their employers. Labor and employment laws are complex and resolving employment law concerns poses many challenges. Our employment attorneys have the experience needed to help you resolve your legal issues.
Non-compete agreements pose many complex legal questions in the state of Florida for both employers and employees. Florida is one of the few states that permit enforcement of non-competes. Our firm can assist you in determining whether your non-compete is valid and enforceable and whether there are defenses.
Public Employee Disputes
Public employees have pre-determination hearings or other administrative rights before they are disciplined or terminated. This is applicable to federal employees, state employees, city/municipality employees, police officers, teachers, employees with tenure and many others who might not fully understand their options following discipline or dismissal.
Under both federal and state law in Florida, it is illegal for an employee to be fired for engaging in activities protected by law or for reporting violations made by an employer. Retaliation against an employee occurs if an employer takes an adverse action against an employee. An adverse action can be continued harassment, an unfavorable evaluation, disciplinary action, termination or demotion. Protections are provided in the Florida Civil Rights Act and retaliation claims are filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
Stark Law, also known as the Federal Physician Self-Referral Law, applies to any referrals a doctor makes to Medicare and Medicaid patients. The law governs patient referrals for certain health services and prevents a doctor from referring patients to facilities where he or she holds a financial interest. Our Stark Law attorneys can advise you on the specific conditions pertaining to your practice.
If you find that you have been wrongfully denied unemployment benefits, we urge you to act fast because appeals with the DEO are time sensitive. Our attorneys can help you navigate your rights during this difficult time.
Unlawful & Wrongful Termination
Some employers require employees to sign papers which act as contracts that usually spell out the conditions under which an employee may be terminated. Although less common, employers may verbally express to an employee they can be terminated only for certain reasons. An employee may be able to bring a wrongful termination claim, whether the contract is written or oral. Our attorneys are experienced in wrongful termination cases and can advise on the best course of action.
In some situations, employees may be misclassified as exempt employees or independent contractors, and thus, entitled to unpaid overtime compensation. Our lawyers represent such employees, and assist with matters relating to recovery of unpaid overtime, as well as unpaid wages, including underpayment or minimum wage violations, wage theft, final paycheck retention, backpay calculations, and recordkeeping violations.
The term “whistleblower” often describes an employee who reports violations of the law by his or her employer. Laws on the federal and state level have been created to protect employees from retaliation or harassment by employers. These laws also protect employees from being unfairly terminated from their position or being forced to quit through constructive discharge.