Employee

Representation

Have you been asked to work overtime but have not been paid for it? Have you asked for a leave of absence and were told no? Have you been discriminated against because of age, race, gender, national origin or religion? If so, your sense of trust and fair play is probably shattered.

Have you been subjected to unwanted sexual advances by a co-worker or boss? Have you been party to verbal sexual innuendo or jokes even after your request that it be stopped? If you do not accept employee discrimination and sexual harassment as business as usual, you have found your law firm.

Our law firm provides a wide range of employment law representation, covering all types of issues, including (but not limited to):


Discrimination

State and federal anti-discrimination laws prohibit an employer from discriminating on the basis of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, pregnancy, familial status (having children), religion or national origin. We have handled hundreds of unlawful discrimination cases, from filing a complaint to full trial, involving Title VII and the Florida Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). A discriminatory action can include: not being hired, being fired, denied training, not being promoted, being demoted, receiving less pay, etc. You can count on us to protect your civil rights.

If you win a case against an employer in Florida, you may receive:

  • Reinstatement, if you lost your job
  • Back pay if you lost money or missed out on a raise
  • Reinstatement of benefits lost
  • Monetary damages for emotional distress

Protecting Rights of Employees Before the EEOC

It is a basic right for all of us to be treated fairly and with dignity. This is especially true within the business world and there are federal laws that specifically protect employees from being discriminated in all work-related areas. These laws are often referred to as Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws. The EEO laws makes it illegal for a workplace to discriminate or treat an employee unfairly base on their race, sex, religion, age, disability, and other characteristics. If you feel that you were a victim of discrimination in the workplace, then you should contact us immediately. An attorney will be able to determine if your rights were violated and will be able to make sure you are fully compensated for the unfairness you had to endure.

EEO laws include the following legislation:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991

EEO Laws protect employees during all work-related activities. This includes everything from the hiring/recruiting process to job evaluations and promotions. There is no justification for the mistreatment of an employee and when such an event occurs, it is important that the situation is rectified immediately. We have the experience and knowledge of the employment laws and know how to apply them to get our clients the best possible outcome. If you were treated unfairly at your workplace, do not hesitate to speak one of our attorneys.

Sexual Harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines unlawful sexual harassment as “any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Sexual harassment is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

There are rules and procedures involved in filing a complaint. We are here to guide you through the process and can answer any questions you may have.
The two most common types of sexual harassment are:

  • Quid pro quo: occurs when a person is required to perform some sort of sexual favor in exchange for advancement or even simply keeping a job.
  • Hostile work environment: occurs when a person is subjected to inappropriate remarks about their body, inappropriate touching and advances, or rumors about their sex life or sexual orientation. A hostile work environment also includes being subjected to inappropriate jokes and the display or public sharing of sexually explicit images.

If you have been subjected to either type of harassment at your workplace, do not hesitate to contact our law firm.

Although we have counseled many women in regard to their sexual harassment case, we are seeing a rise in complaints from men. Male or female, do not hesitate to call us to discuss your legal rights.

Take Action, Step by Step
Step 1: If you feel you are being subjected to repeated sexual harassment, you probably cannot picture yourself talking calmly to your HR representative about it. Yet that is a solid, first step to take. There needs to be documentation of your complaint. Your employer needs to know you consider this a hostile work environment.

Step 2: If the harassment does not end or your employer does nothing, you will need to file an administrative charge with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) and the EEOC. Your claim will be investigated and the agency will try to resolve it with your employer.

Step 3: Legal action. If the FCHR or EEOC cannot resolve your complaint, and decides that your claim is valid, you will get a “right to sue” letter. This means that you can bring your case to court.
Talk to an experienced employment law attorney to ensure that your legal rights are protected. We will help you file the appropriate paperwork to the EEOC and represent you in mediation discussions. If a mediated settlement cannot be reached, we are ready to defend your rights with a lawsuit.

Whistle Blower/Retaliation

In the course of your workday, you discover something that seems unhealthy or unsafe for the employees or consumers of your company. You may have information about contaminated food, vehicles not being properly maintained, unethical accounting procedures, not paying employees, not paying taxes, or violations of OSHA standards. These are all potential reasons for whistle-blowing — the term we use when an employee reports a civil violation committed by his or her employer. If you have been fired for filing a complaint, or need to lawfully reveal a company’s wrongdoing, we can help.

But do you blow the whistle? Is this situation illegal or unethical enough to risk all this? Or should you be loyal to the company and pretend none of this is happening?

You decide to blow the whistle and as a result, your employer takes action against you such as harassment or threats, isolation, demoting you, transferring you to an undesirable work location, assigning new and undesirable duties, reducing your benefits or pay, giving you an undeserved poor performance review, or firing you. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, you can make a lawful claim as a result of this work retaliation.
It takes a lot of courage to report wrongdoing in the workplace. Know how to prepare yourself and what to expect by talking to an attorney. We have helped guide employees through the process of filing a whistle-blower claim and/or filing a retaliation claim. It is not easy to arrive at the decision to blow the whistle, or suffer the ramifications of retaliation. An experienced lawyer at your side can help.

Wages & Hours Disputes

Employees’ rights are protected by law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). FLSA sets the standard work week to forty (40) hours for most employees. Wages and hours need to meet the standards outlined by these acts. While you might think that as a laborer, you are not entitled to these rights, you are wrong. You are even entitled to do something about it by taking legal action and filing a lawsuit.
If you are having issues regarding overtime, misclassification, late payment, working off the clock, vacation and benefits, put us to work for you. For experienced employment law assistance, call us.

Unpaid Wages
South Florida attracts not just masses of tourists, but hard-working individuals who want to make an honest living. Our government has established an hourly minimum wage to help support workers trying to support themselves and their families. It is part of the American dream to get ahead by hard work. You have performed the work, put in your time and now expect a paycheck. That is not too much to ask.

Unpaid Overtime
We are taught that if we work hard, we will be awarded for our labor. This is the core foundation of our country and when employers refuse to compensate their non-exempt employees for their overtime work, they are not only disregarding the law, but they are disregarding your rights as an employee. The Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) states that an employer must pay 1-1/2 (1.5) times a non-exempt employee’s regular salary/rate “time and a half” for all work that goes over 40 hours per week. However, some employers may purposely withhold overtime pay in order to increase profits. If you believe you were not properly compensated for your labor, it is imperative that you contact us in order to get what is rightfully yours.

Working off the Clock
Another major issue that often occurs in the workplace is employers forcing employees to work off the clock. In this situation, the employer is trying to make employees work without paying them or creating a record of their work. When this occurs, it is difficult to prove that overtime pay is being denied since there is no record of work being performed. However, an attorney who specializes in overtime will know how to get the evidence that is required to prove that compensation is being denied. If you are asked to work off the clock by your employer or manager, do not do it. It is illegal and wrong for them to deny you what is rightfully yours.

Undocumented Workers
US. employment law and the Florida Commission on Human Relations set forth a series of standards and regulations that protect employees, laborers and hourly workers. If you are an undocumented worker in America, those rights can extend to you as well.
If you came to America for work to support your family, you made an agreement with your employer to be paid for that work.
If you were not paid for work performed, you may be able to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A lawyer with experience with the EEOC can effectively file a claim. If the EEOC decides that your claim is valid, that same lawyer can help you with a lawsuit. We have handled hundreds of EEOC cases.

Regardless of your employment status, the U.S. Government will not allow “indentured servitude.” If you need help getting paid for the work you have performed, call us today. We can help you decide what you should do next. We are experienced attorneys who can help you get paid for the work you’ve done.

Torts and Civil Wrongs

The workplace should be a place with rules of fair play, even when competitive. When that line is crossed, you may be looking at what is legally called tort law — or a civil wrong. Cases we have handled include assault, battery, false imprisonment, defamation of character, fraud in the inducement (if you have been tricked to your own disadvantage) and tortious interference in employment.

Reasons to bring about a civil law suit under tort law are complex, and you may need help sorting out the facts from the actions. Emotions come into play here, and you don’t want to file a claim that will backfire on you later. An experienced lawyer can help get it right, right from the beginning. We have helped many South Florida employees with civil and tort law and we can help you too.

Contract Review and Negotiations

If you need advice regarding an employment contract, non-compete agreement, severance agreement, etc., we can assist.

If you have been presented with a contract, before signing, it is wise to have a lawyer review it to make sure your best interests are being represented. We can review general employment contracts, severance agreements and non-compete covenants. By necessity, your contract will be filled with legal language and stipulations. We want to help you focus on your career, not your contract. We will review your contract and explain each provision in easy to understand language. We will meet with you to ensure that this contract meets your goals. If it does not, we can negotiate on your behalf. If you have been laid off and have not received the compensation your employment contract provides for, reach out to our employment law attorneys. We will conduct a thorough contract review and fight for your rights to recover the funds you are owed. Similarly, if you feel the employer is unjustly enforcing a non-compete agreement, we may be able to help you negotiate new terms.

Unemployment

Denied Unemployment Compensation
Unemployment compensation programs are designed to provide financial aid to those who lost their job at no fault of their own, while they are seeking new employment. In most cases, if an employee quits his or her job, they are not eligible for unemployment benefits. However, if the employee left due to the work environment, then the employee may be entitled to unemployment compensation. Some legitimate reasons for leaving a job that would entitle you to unemployment benefits include harassment, discrimination, and hazardous working conditions. No one should have to be subjected to a hostile or dangerous work environment. If you were forced to leave your job for these reasons, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. When an employer creates a hostile work environment, they are not only disregarding the law, they are disregarding your rights as an employee.

Requirements that are usually needed in order to receive compensation after losing a job include:

  1. Registration with the state unemployment office;
  2. Evidence that the unemployed worker is looking for a job;
  3. The unemployed worker is available for work;
  4. A minimum amount of earnings or a minimum period of time worked over a specific previous time frame.

Each state has different programs. We can help navigate you through Florida unemployment law.

Unemployment Hearings
When a person is laid off or otherwise loses their job, he or she often counts on unemployment benefits to help them get by financially in the short term. This is not always the correct assumption to make. Instead, it is a good idea to seek skilled legal advice.

Sometimes employers may claim a person was terminated for improper behavior or other forms of misconduct. It may be the employer terminated your position due to your voicing an opinion or making a harassment claim. We will thoroughly investigate the background as to why you were terminated and will aggressively advocate for your rights.

When an employer challenges the claim of a former employee to compensation, then the former employee must go to court in order to dispute his former employer’s claim. In this situation, an unemployment attorney may be needed in order to ensure your rights are being represented. Since each state’s compensation program is different, only an attorney who specializes in employment law in Florida can give you the legal counsel you need. Our law firm has a vast amount of experience in dealing with such cases, and will aggressively fight for your rights.

Appealing a Denial of Unemployment Benefits
If you have been denied benefits, an appeal can be made to the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI). This appeal must happen within 20 days of the denial of a request for benefits. Do not risk losing benefits trying to handle this on your own. Let us draft an appeal letter to the AWI and provide experienced legal representation in your unemployment hearing.

An initial unemployment compensation hearing can take place in our office or over the phone. You will be provided the opportunity to defend your claim to the hearing officer, and the employer will defend theirs. It is very important that you have all supporting documentation with you for this hearing, even if you have previously submitted them to the AWI. We are also available to represent you in any further hearings.

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