Category Archives: Florida Employment Lawyer Blog

Breaking: New Minimum Wages Affects all Floridians!

Effective January 1, 2015, Florida’s minimum wage is $8.05 per hour. Tipped employees must be paid at least $5.03 per hour. Need help complying with federal or Florida wage laws? Are you owed money from your employer for minimum wage or overtime pay? Call the firm today to discuss your legal rights and obligations.

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Coming Soon: University of Miami football players sign collective bargaining agreement with the University.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled that full-scholarship student athletes who play football for Northwestern University are “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act, and thus have the right to for a union and negotiate, collectively, with their employer, Northwestern University. I haven’t fully digested the ruling but its a potential game changer. But let’s talk basics: First — Northwestern is going to appeal. It has many levels of appeal before this ruling becomes final. I suspect that if the appellate courts affirm the decision, then the U.S. Supreme Court will take the case and make a final ruling. Second — this only applies to private schools. Public schools are not “employers” under the Act. Third — this only applies to full-scholarship athletes. The NLRB did not reject “employee” status for student athletes on less than a full scholarship, but the ruling didn’t apply to them either. Expect more lawsuits…
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Unemployed Face Stigma Regardless of Time Between Jobs, Study Says

As anyone running for a political office right now will tell you, the number one crisis facing the nation today is unemployment. According to the Huffington Post, more than five million Americans have been between jobs for at least six months. Unfortunately for them, new research suggests that unemployment of any kind is a major strike against job seekers. “We found bias against the jobless among human resources professionals as well as among the broader public, virtually from the outset of unemployment,” said Geoffrey C. Ho of the UCLA Anderson School of Management and co-author of the study. Margaret Shih and Daniel J. Walters of UCLA Anderson and Todd Lowell Pittinsky from Stony Brook University also contributed to the report. Little Sympathy for the Jobless Researchers performed three experiments to gauge attitudes about job seekers. Human resources professionals examined sets of identical resumes and said they were more likely to…
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How to File a Sex Discrimination Complaint

If you think you are a victim of gender discrimination in the workplace, you can file a workplace discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Depending on your position, you may need to file one of two different ways. Federal Employees and Job Applicants Within 45 days of the offense, contact a counselor at the EEOC. They might suggest solving the dispute through mediation. If that does not or cannot work, you can file a formal complaint. If the EEOC does not dismiss your claim, it must perform an investigation within 180 days. From there, you can request a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge, or you can allow the EEOC to decide if discrimination took place. Everyone Else Timelines for filing an EEOC complaint are a little more lenient here. In most situations, you have at least 180 days, unless a local agency needs to be involved,…
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Types of Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says that gender discrimination “involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of that person’s sex.” Earlier this week, we wrote about a woman who sued Chick-Fil-A after the manager let her go, saying that she should be a stay-at-home mom instead. There are many other types of gender discrimination. For example: Retaliation. Ellen Pao is embroiled in such a suit right now, alleging that her supervisor at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers began excluding her from meetings and crucial emails after she rebuffed his sexual advances. See also the lawsuit filed by Kelley Hardwicke, former security director for Women’s Olympic Basketball Team, who says she lost her job after she turned down a sexual advance from a superior. Wage inequality. Hundreds of female employees from Walmart have been fighting the chain in a lawsuit that dates back to 2000,…
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Woman Says Chick-Fil-A Fired Her so She Could Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

Brenda Honeycutt started working at a Duluth, Ga. Chick-Fil-A in 1991. She was promoted to general manager in 1997, having received satisfactory or above marks throughout her employment period. In 2011, Honeycutt’s supervisor Jeff Howard let her go and hired a new manager. According to a recent lawsuit, Howard wanted a “change in management style.” However, Honeycutt’s lawsuit claims that he told her (and several other people) that she should be a stay-at-home mother instead of working at the restaurant. According to the complaint, Howard told four separate people on June 27, 2011, that he fired Honeycutt so she could be a stay-at-home mother. The company began courting controversy earlier in July when Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy affirmed that he and his colleagues did not support same-sex marriage. The chain faced criticism from LGBT rights activitists for these statements and for donating millions of dollars to organizations that also oppose…
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Man Wins $200,000 in Sexual Harassment Suit

Last week, we wrote about more males filing sexual harassment lawsuits and about bosses sexually harassing their employees by using their possibly illegal citizenship as leverage. Both of these topics converge in a recent sexual harassment lawsuit filed against two managers at Si Casa Flores in Medford, Ore. Leo Esquivel sued his supervisors Juan Flores and Gregorio Rodriguez for unwanted sexual conduct, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. According to the lawsuit, Flores frequently touched and hit Esquivel inappropriately. Once, Flores allegedly hit Esquivel so hard that his buttocks suffered bruising and he considered seeing a doctor. Flores was allegedly causing most of the harassment to both Esquivel and other employees, but Rodriguez was supposedly aware of it and allowed it to continue. “They can’t do anything to me because I have power and money over them,” the lawsuit quotes Flores as saying. The U.S. District Court in Medford…
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Farm Workers’ Sexual Harassment Suit Shines Light on Overlooked Victims

On Monday, we wrote about sexual harassment incidents against men that go largely unreported, both in the media and to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the body responsible for regulating employment equality. Today we look at a case that sheds light on another group of overlooked sexual harassment victims: agricultural workers. DiMare Ruskin The latest sexual harassment case in an agricultural setting involved the Florida tomato company DiMare Ruskin. According to the complaint, two women were sexually harassed on the farm’s Immokalee location. They were allegedly fired after they complained about the unlawful behavior. In response, the company has agreed to pay the women $150,000 and take measures to educate its employees about sexual harassment. “To have meaning, we must not allow these protections to be impeded by employment in remote agricultural areas, cultural barriers or low wages,” EEOC general counsel P. David Lopez said. ‘Unavoidable condition’ A report…
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More Males Filing Sexual Harassment Claims

Women still file the majority of sexual harassment claims, but the amount of sexual harassment claims filed by men is steadily increasing. In 2011, men filed 16.3 percent of all sexual harassment charges recorded by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Compare this to 1997 when men filed just 11.6 percent of sexual harassment claims. “While some people may think sexual harassment of male employees is a joke, the issue is real,” said David Grinberg, a spokesperson for the EEOC. “We are seeing more of it, and such conduct has serious legal consequences for employers.” Sexual harassment can take a variety of forms, and it is not always based on sexual attraction but rather an assertion of power. Any sexual comment meant to belittle or humiliate someone counts as sexual harassment. Cynthia Shapiro, a career strategist in California, said that some companies are reluctant to pursue a sexual harassment claim…
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15,000 Security Guards Receive $90 Million in Class Action

In a ruling seven years in the making, 15,000 security guards were awarded nearly $90 million in a class action lawsuit stemming from allegations of denied work breaks. According to the lawsuit, security guards were forced to remain “on call” during their breaks, which Superior Court Judge John Wiley ruled was an oxymoron. “Put simply, if you are on call, you are not on break,” Wiley said. “That has been the law for many years.” Court documents alleged that ABM Security Services required their employers to keep their phones on while on break. Wiley said that in order for the break to be official, employees must be relieved of all duties. Representatives from ABM called the employees’ request to be free of duty on breaks an “absurdity.” The workers said that the company could have instituted a “roving” policy in which a guard covers for a colleague on his or…
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