The relationship between an employee and employer has never been one of equal bargaining power. While most employers respect their employees and understand that the relationship is a two-way street, others unfortunately believe that their position gives them the right to behave however they see fit.
This may include cheating employees out of their rightfully earned pay, discriminating against employees and applicants, and ignoring complaints of a hostile work environment.
While many of these individuals wrongly believe that “my company; my rules” is an acceptable attitude, state, local, and federal laws strongly disagree. No one should have to work under such conditions.
That is why at Morgan & Morgan, our labor and employment attorneys help employees in Florida level the playing field when employers in Orlando refuse to abide by labor laws. Contact us for a free consultation today.
Fair Pay for Fair Work in Florida
Since the 1930s, the federal government, as well as state and local governments, has deemed it necessary to regulate the terms of conditions of employment to keep employers from taking advantage of the workforce.
More than 80 years later, this regulation has branched out into many 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 significantly 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% 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 an 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 in Florida
Most employers are smart and pragmatic enough to hire the best person for the job and promote whoever performs best, without regard for race, gender, religion or other personal attributes.
But unfortunately, discrimination and harassment in the workplace is still alive and well in Florida and throughout the United States. And, it is not always obvious and direct.
Actionable discrimination can be very subtle, sometimes bordering on inadvertent, but it is no less harmful to the victims.
- 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 able to do the job with reasonable accommodation
- Refusing to reasonably accommodate the religious practice or custom of an employee
- Inequitably enforcing disciplinary policies against members of minority groups
- Advertising positions in ways that excludes minority groups
- Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a disabled employee who requests it
People who experience this type of conduct in Orlando are entitled to compensation, including lost wages, reinstatement and other forms of relief. They are also often entitled to have their legal expenses paid by that employer. An employment attorney can help put together a strong case.
Hostile Work Environments in Florida
Even when the employer is not the one directly engaging in discrimination, they have a duty to exercise control over their employees and agents.
This includes instituting policies to prevent harassment in the workplace based on race, religion, gender, disability or other similar personal attributes and taking necessary steps to stop harassment when reasonably aware that it is occurring.
Employers in Florida who fail to do so may be liable for harassment perpetrated by supervisors, other employees, contractors on site, and potentially even customers.
For this reason, it is crucial that victims of workplace harassment in Florida report it immediately to their supervisors or whoever is designated by their company’s policy. If the employer still fails to respond satisfactorily, it may be time to speak to an Orlando workplace harassment attorney.
No One Should Have to Live with Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace
Florida labor and employment violations take a toll – not only financially in lost wages, but also psychologically in the fear, stress, and damaged self-esteem that repeated harassment and discrimination can cause.
Our Florida employment and labor attorneys at Morgan & Morgan recognize how harmful this experience can be for workers who experience it.
That is why we are dedicated to holding Orlando employers accountable for labor and employment violations. If you believe you have been a victim, call us today at 877.667.426 or contact us online to have your case thoroughly evaluated free of charge.