Employment Law

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Discrimination
It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, national origin, religion, age, pregnancy, childbirth, disability or sex. It’s also illegal to retaliate against an employee because they complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. In some cases, employers must reasonably accommodate applicants’ and employees’ sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

Severance, Noncompete, and other employment contract review and drafting
Employment agreements can often be complex, confusing, overly restrictive, or inadequate. Employers and employees should consult with an attorney when they need employment contracts reviewed or drafted.

Overtime Violations
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs overtime compensation requirements of covered employers for non-exempt employees. Non-exempt employees must be paid a time-and-a-half rate compared with their regular hourly rate for any time worked in excess of 40 hours per week.

Family Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees of covered employers with up to 12 workweeks of leave within a 12-month period. Once an employee provides adequate medical certification, the employer must provide the employee with FMLA leave and allow the employee to return to his or her regular position, or its equivalent, upon obtaining medical clearance from a healthcare provider. Like other laws protecting against discrimination, the FMLA also prohibits retaliation. Accordingly, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for requesting FMLA leave. Upon returning from leave, attempting to take leave, or lodging a complaint pertaining to leave, workers are protected from retaliation as well.

Sexual Harassment or Assault
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of unlawful discrimination on the basis of gender and is prohibited under both federal and Florida laws. Sexual harassment occurs when an employee is targeted with unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other types of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Florida Whistleblower Act
The Florida Whistleblower Act protects employees from being terminated or retaliated against by their employers because they objected to, or refused to participate in, any activity, policy, or practice of the employer which is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation. The law also protects employees who report their employers unlawful conduct or cooperate with an investigation into their employer’s alleged unlawful conduct.

Qui Tam Suits
Both state and federal law authorize private individuals to bring “qui tam” suits in the name of the state or federal goverment against persons or entities who have defrauded the government in contracting or other matters. As an incentive to bring these suits, the Florida and Federal False Claims Act statutes allows successful plaintiffs, sometimes called whistleblowers or relators, to share in the damages recovered.

Americans With Disabilities Act
Employers cannot discriminate against a qualified employee with a disability. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Employers cannot discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Employers also cannot retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

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