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Labor & Employment Lawyers
While not all unfair treatment at work in Florida qualifies for legal action, you could be entitled to damages if an employer breaks the law and fails to pay you properly or discriminates against you.
Morgan & Morgan’s labor and employment lawyers in Palm Harbor represent workers in all types of labor law violations, including but not limited to:
- Workplace discrimination
- Wage theft
- Wrongful termination
Our attorneys can stand up to an unscrupulous employer and help you fight back. Contact us now to discover whether you have a case and could be entitled to damages.
Examples of Unlawful Labor Practices in Palm Harbor
Employees are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity and deserve to be free from discrimination and harassment. Moreover, it is unlawful to withhold wages from Florida employees or pay them less than they deserve. Nobody wins when employers fail to uphold their responsibilities. Unlawful labor practices, such as discrimination, harassment, and violation of wage laws, are illegal and can negatively impact employee productivity and morale.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discrimination includes any adverse employment action based on age, race, disability, sex, or another protected characteristic. Examples of workplace discrimination include:
- Refusing to make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers.
- Screening out certain protected groups during the hiring process.
- Passing over an older employee for a promotion in favor of a younger, less experienced employee.
- Refusing to hire a person based on their skin color or race.
- Denying female employees the same benefits and pay as male employees in the same position.
- Terminating or demoting pregnant workers
- Excluding specific employees from work meetings or trips
- Racial slurs or offensive comments
The above list is not exhaustive, and there can be many other examples of unlawful labor practices in the workplace. Being a victim of discrimination can be deeply upsetting and have devastating consequences on the affected individual’s home and work life.
If you experienced discrimination or harassment, Morgan & Morgan is here for you. Our experienced Palm Harbor labor and employment lawyers can explain your rights, help you file a charge with the relevant state or federal agency, and move forward with a legal claim.
Wage and Hour Violations
Federal and Florida wage and hour laws determine the standards employers must adhere to regarding overtime, minimum wage, and other issues relating to employee compensation.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay
The minimum wage in Florida is currently $10 an hour and is scheduled to increase to $15 an hour by 2026. Tipped employees in the state are entitled to a minimum compensation of $6.98 per hour. Moreover, employees are generally entitled to time and a half (one and a half times their regular pay) for any hours worked over 40 per week.
If your employer pays you less than the minimum wage or refuses to pay overtime, you could have a claim against them and receive back pay and other damages.
Employers in Florida are not required by law to offer any work breaks. However, if an employer chooses to provide a rest break, as many do, short breaks of 20 minutes or less must be paid. Employers do not have to pay employees for meal breaks of 30 minutes or more.
Medical and Family Leave
According to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), most employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Employees can qualify for medical and family leave for various reasons, such as:
- Giving birth
- Adopting a child
- Suffering from a significant medical condition or short-term disability
- Having to care for a close family member with a severe medical condition
If you return to work after medical or family leave, you must be allowed to return to your former job or an equivalent position.
Misclassification of Employees
Certain employees are considered “exempt” and not entitled to overtime pay and some other pay provisions. Such positions typically include:
- Company executives
- IT professionals
- Outside sales professionals
- Independent contractors
However, employers in Palm Harbor may misclassify employees as exempt because they are misinterpreting the law or are trying to save money on overtime pay. If this has happened to you, you could bring a claim for missing overtime pay.
Illegal Pay Deductions
Employers are only allowed to make certain deductions from an employee’s wage, such as taxes or court garnishments. However, many employers erroneously believe they can deduct various costs from employees’ paychecks without the worker’s authorization, including work supplies or uniforms.
Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors
Independent contractors are self-employed and do not qualify for overtime pay and benefits. Some employers intentionally or unintentionally misclassify their employees as independent contractors. However, misclassified employees may be able to pursue damages by taking legal action.
How a Morgan & Morgan Labor and Employment Lawyer Can Help
Handling labor and employment violations can be challenging and complicated. In the first instance, victims typically have to report violations and file claims with the responsible state or federal agency before they may sue an employer. The deadlines for such claims can be prohibitively short in some cases. For example, you generally must file a discrimination charge with the EEOC within 180 days of the incident, or you could lose the right to sue.
An attorney from Morgan & Morgan can help in several ways, including:
- Helping you understand your legal options and the next best steps
- Filing a claim with the relevant agency
- Ensuring all paperwork is filed before the applicable deadlines
- Working for you on a “no-win-no-fee” basis
- Preserving and presenting evidence to prove your case
- Determining your damages such as back pay and benefits
- Negotiating a fair settlement with an employer
- Filing a lawsuit against your employer
- Fighting strongly for what you deserve at trial
Our labor attorneys can leave no stone unturned in fighting for the rights of Palm Harbor workers.
Morgan & Morgan
Which Cases Can Morgan & Morgan Labor Attorneys Handle?
Our Palm Harbor labor and employment lawyers can represent individuals in many types of employment disputes, including but not limited to:
- Sexual harassment
- Wrongful termination
- Wage and hour violations
- Denial of medical or family leave
- Hostile work environment
- Other wrongful employment practices
If you are unsure whether you have a case, we can assess your claim and clarify your legal options in a free and confidential case review.
What Are the Most Frequent Types of Discrimination in the Workplace?
According to the EEOC, the most common discrimination charge filed in 2020 was retaliation, amounting to almost 56 percent of all claims. Retaliation was followed by disability, race, sex, and age:
- Retaliation (55.8 percent)
- Disability (36.1 percent)
- Race (32.7 percent)
- Sex (31.7 percent)
- Age (21.0 percent)
The remaining claims comprised, in descending order: national origin, color, religion, the Equal Pay Act, and genetic information.
What Qualifies as Workplace Harassment?
In Florida, making a joke, yelling at workers, or being rude does not necessarily qualify as workplace harassment. However, it is unlawful to harass a worker based on their sex, age, race, or another protected characteristic. Some examples of workplace harassment include:
- Sexual jokes and innuendoes
- Inappropriate comments about another worker’s appearance
- Using racial slurs
- Negative comments about a worker’s sexual orientation
- Harassment based on a worker’s age, race, disability, religion, or color
- Making physical threats
- Intimidation and insults
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase meaning “this for that.” Quid pro quo harassment arises when a supervisor, manager, or employer in Palm Harbor requests sexual favors from a worker for a promotion, raise, or continued employment. Quid pro quo harassment is illegal in Florida.
When Could I Sue an Employer for Violation of Labor Laws?
Unfair treatment at work does not always qualify for a legal case. However, if your employer violated labor laws and regulations, you could have a claim and receive damages. Examples of when an employer could be held accountable can include:
- Unlawful discrimination against employees
- Violating a federal or state employment law
- Retaliating against employees
- Disregarding terms and conditions of employment contracts
- Wrongful termination
- Unlawful pay deductions
- Failing to pay overtime
If you believe that your employer violated labor laws and regulations, our attorneys can determine whether you have a claim and could qualify for compensation.
My Employer Fired Me for Reporting Labor Violations; What Should I Do?
If an employer fires you for reporting a labor violation such as discrimination or assisting with another worker’s claim, they illegally retaliate against you. You could have a legal case for wrongful termination and recover damages. However, Florida is an at-will state, which means employers can terminate workers without giving a reason. Therefore, proving wrongful dismissal can be tricky, and you should consider hiring a labor and employment attorney to protect your rights.
If an employer fired you unfairly, Morgan & Morgan could help you sue and pursue damages such as back pay, emotional distress, and others.
What Qualifies as Employee Misclassification?
Some employers misclassify employees as independent contractors to save money on taxes and benefits. Employers can gain a financial advantage because independent contractors do not qualify for benefits and have to withhold their taxes.
However, those employees affected could have a legal case and qualify for damages. If your employer misclassifies you, they could face criminal penalties. You could be entitled to compensation such as back pay, punitive damages, and other damages.
Differences between Employees and Independent Contractors
There are some crucial differences between an independent contractor and an employee. For example, independent contractors typically work on a project basis rather than an hourly wage. Contractors, unlike employees, can usually choose when and where they work. You are likely an employee and should be classified as such if you:
- Work set hours, such as 9 to 5
- Receive a regular wage
- Work at the employer’s offices with equipment (computers, printers, etc.) provided
- Receive training and instruction from an employer
If you are unsure whether you should be classified as an employee, our labor attorneys can provide clarity and help you move forward with a claim, if appropriate.
How Much Does a Palm Harbor Labor & Employment Lawyer Cost?
Many labor and employment attorneys in Florida charge by the hour. The hourly fee for an attorney could be several hundred dollars which can work out expensive, especially if you are looking to file a lawsuit and sue an employer. Moreover, you may have to pay the fee whether you win or lose, potentially leaving you out of pocket.
Morgan & Morgan won’t charge you a dime upfront. We want workers who have been mistreated or cheated out of their wages to have the best legal representation regardless of their financial means. We only collect our fee if and when we win and you receive compensation.
Morgan & Morgan Fights Hard for Workers in Palm Harbor, FL
Morgan & Morgan understands how hard it can be for Palm Harbor workers to make ends meet, especially when employers fail to pay what they owe. John Morgan has advocated and campaigned tirelessly for the rights of workers in Florida. In 2020, he successfully campaigned for an increase in Florida’s minimum wage, helping countless Floridians achieve a better standard of life.
We know that discrimination and labor law violations can have a negative influence on all aspects of your life, such as finances, career, mental health, and family relationships. However, you do not have to put up with an employer violating your rights. Morgan & Morgan has your back.
We fight for the people, not the powerful, and do not shy away from holding corporations and employers accountable. If you experienced wage theft or any other labor law violations, you could be owed compensation. Get started today and contact us for a free case review to determine your next best steps.