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The relationship between an employee and their employer has never been one of equal bargaining power. Most employers respect their employees and understand the value of a strong relationship, but others believe their position gives them the right to behave however they see fit. This might include cheating employees out of their wages, discriminating against employees and applicants, and ignoring complaints of a hostile workplace, or inciting one themselves.
At Morgan & Morgan, our labor and employment attorneys understand the difficulty of dealing with employers who don’t respect your work. Melbourne’s role as a defense and tech hub might mean long hours, and you may have questions about your compensation. Our Melbourne attorneys might be able to help you. Fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form to learn more today.
Fair Pay for Fair Work in Melbourne
Following the Great Depression, the federal, state, and local governments began to regulate the terms of employment to protect the workforce. This regulation has evolved into a variety of areas:
- Minimum wage – Most non-tipped employees are entitled to receive a minimum hourly wage for work. Federal law sets that wage at $7.25/hr. In our state, however, the Florida Minimum Wage Act sets the minimum wage slightly higher at $8.05/hr.
- Overtime – With some exceptions, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employees be paid “time and a half” – 150 percent of their normal hourly wages – if they work more than 40 hours in a calendar week. This is established under federal law, as the state of Florida has no overtime law. Localities within Florida, however, may enact such ordinances.
- Emergency leave – The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period for events such as the birth of a child, a personal illness or injury, or the illness of a family member. Florida law additionally requires larger employers to allow up to three days unpaid leave for victims of domestic violence.
- Unpaid wages – Sometimes, employers simply don’t pay outgoing employees the wages they are owed. This can be regular salary as well as unused vacation and leave, commissions, bonuses, and other vested rights. Florida law allows employees to sue for these unpaid wages and, if successful, to also have their legal fees paid by the employer.
Workplace Discrimination Can Occur
Most employers are pragmatic enough to hire the best person for the job, and handle situations without taking into account race, gender, religion, or an employee’s other personal attributes. But discrimination and harassment in the workplace still occurs frequently in Florida, and the rest of the United States.
Some discrimination can be subtle, and often appear inadvertent, but is still harmful. This includes:
- Refusing to hire;
- Using unnecessary job qualifications to root out members of minority groups;
- Failing to promote;
- Refusing to hire a person with disabilities even though they are able to do the job with reasonable accommodation;
- Refusing to reasonably accommodate the religious practice or custom of an employee;
- Unfairly enforcing disciplinary policies against members of minority groups;
- Advertising positions in ways that excludes minority groups; and
- Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a disabled employee who requests it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Discrimination in the workplace can appear in a variety of ways, and a seasoned Melbourne attorney can help you understand more about your situation.
Realities of a Hostile Work Environment
Even when discrimination or a labor violation hasn’t occurred, there is a legal expectation that your employer will control the workplace environment. This includes policies preventing harassment based on your identity. For this reason, it is crucial victims of workplace harassment in Florida report the behavior to their supervisors, human resources, or other designated entity in their company immediately. If the employer fails to respond, it may be time to speak to an Melbourne workplace harassment attorney.
Let Us Stand Up With You to Fight in Melbourne
Florida labor and employment violations can be not only cumbersome, but debilitating. Financial loss is one thing, but fear, stress, and a loss of self-esteem from repeated harassment or discrimination can also arise.
Our Florida employment and labor attorneys at Morgan & Morgan recognize the harm this experience can cause for workers. Our Melbourne team is ready to fight for you. They will work on your behalf to try and hold your employer accountable for their labor and employment violations.
If you think you’ve been a victim, contact us today for a free case evaluation to have your claim evaluated.