The Professional Golfers’ Association Tour is accused of wrongfully firing a gay employee after months of denying him paid breaks and adequate compensation.

The worker says he accepted a job with the PGA and moved from Florida to California to work on the Ellie Mae Classic, one of the tournaments on the association’s Web.com tour. He was forced to work 60 hour workweeks in a cubicle in the staff kitchen, according to his complaint. His supervisor made derogatory comments about gay people and gay dating apps before firing him, according to the complaint.

Federal appeals courts are split on whether Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. California law protects workers from such discrimination.

The man originally filed his lawsuit in Alameda Superior Court and claimed 15 causes of action, including discrimination on the basis of his sexual orientation and his attention disorder, failure to accommodate, retaliation, wrongful termination, fraudulent inducement to move, and failure to pay overtime and to provide paid breaks.

The PGA denied the allegations and liability. It re-filed the case in federal court April 18.

Sexual orientation is defined as “heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.” An employer cannot terminate an employee strictly for being heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. On that same note, an employee cannot be discriminated against based off their sexual orientation.

Name-calling or using derogatory labels for homosexuals, as well as mocking can be enough to successfully demonstrate workplace discrimination. Any discrimination based on sexual orientation that results in a hostile work environment is strictly prohibited under state and federal laws.

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Coral Gables Trust Company (CGTC), a South Florida-based privately held trust company that provides wealth investment management and trust services throughout Florida, will pay $180,000 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a female executive assistant and marketing officer was subjected to a hostile work environment based on her gender and then retaliated against after she complained. The hostile work environment included verbal and physical harassment based on her sex at CGTC’s Coral Gables office and at various locations throughout South Florida that the executive assistant visited on business trips.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit against CGTC in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through EEOC’s conciliation process.

The EEOC and CGTC reached an agreement to resolve the suit through a consent decree that requires the company paying $180,000 to the discrimination victim and providing her with a positive job reference. In addition, the decree requires that CGTC retain an independent equal employment opportunity consultant to investigate all complaints of sex-based harassment, discrimination or retaliation. The company must also distribute a revised policy against sex discrimination; post a notice informing employees about the suit; provide anti-discrimination training to all managers and employees; and provide individual training to the company’s chief wealth advisor. Further, CGTC agreed to designate two board members to receive future complaints of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.

A spokesman for the EEOC said that “they will not only keep enforcing federal anti-harassment laws, it will also continue to encourage employers to implement and maintain robust training in order to prevent harassment from occurring in the first place.”

If you are wrongfully terminated or even demoted from your job as a result of reporting sexual harassment in your workplace, your employer could be liable for retaliation. Florida and federal laws are unmistakably clear that termination or demotion as a result of reporting harassment or discrimination is illegal.

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A former employee is suing a Broward County outlet store, alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The man filed a complaint March 26 in Broward Circuit Court against Floor and Decor Outlets of America Inc., alleging failure to pay employees for all hours worked.

According to the complaint, the man worked as a leading specialty retailer in hard surface flooring for Floor and Decor Outlets from July 10, 2015, to Oct. 6, 2017, for approximately 45 hours each week. The suit says the man has suffered loss of earnings for working additional hours in excess of 40 per week because he was not compensated at the statutory rate of one and a half his regular rate of pay as required by FLSA.

The man alleges the company showed reckless disregard for the provisions of the FLSA, and refused to properly pay him for all hours worked.

The FLSA is a federal law which provides very important protections for employees. The FLSA institutes a national minimum wage for employees and mandates that hourly employees be paid overtime, which is 1.5 times their regular hourly rate, for hours worked in excess of 40 in a work week.

The FLSA was established to ensure that workers at the bottom end of the pay scale still receive a fair wage. The minimum wage in Florida for 2018 is $8.25 an hour. If you believe your employer has made an FLSA violation, you have two years to file for recovery of back pay under the FLSA unless the violation is considered willful, in which case a three-year statute of limitations applies.

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A former employee is suing Steak and Shake, alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The woman filed a complaint March 26 in the Pinellas Circuit Court against Steak and Shake Inc., also known as Steak and Shake Operations Inc., alleging failure to provide an employee her proper wages.

According to the complaint, the woman worked as a waitress/server at Steak and Shake in Pinellas County from August 2015 through Feb. 27, 2018. She says she has suffered monetary damages as a result of the restaurant’s wrongful conduct of utilizing the tip credit instead of paying her with regular minimum wage and also requiring her to perform labor after she had officially clocked out.

She alleges Steak and Shake Operations has failed, refused and/or neglected to keep accurate time records, and refuses to pay her the minimum wage rate of pay as required by FLSA, raw wages believed to be more than $2,250.

The FLSA governs the most basic interactions between employers and employees. The FLSA establishes a standard for minimum wage, overtime pay, and other labor laws. Employers can be in violation of the FLSA if they misclassify hourly employees as exempt, deny overtime, order employees to work after clocking out, allow managers to take from employees’ tips, alter time cards, or require employees to work more than forty hours per week.

Employees who work in restaurants where tips comprise a portion of the employees’ compensation are usually at higher risk when it comes to illegal employer behavior. Common violations include illegally docking time off cards, including managers in tip pools, deducting tips from paychecks, paying employees less than the minimum wage, and refusing to pay overtime.

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Mike Isabella, the Washington chef who competed on Season 6 of Bravo’s Top Chef, has been sued for sexual harassment by a former manager.

In a lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court, a woman names him and four of his business partners at Mike Isabella Concepts, alleging that they groped her, commented on the size of her rear end and labeled her with female slurs.

She alleged that she became the “target of extraordinary sex-based hostility and abuse.”

She said she was fired on Dec. 5 before one of the restaurant’s grand opening after Isabella had been allegedly drinking and called her derogatory names.

Several employees left after the alleged incident on Dec. 5 and claim there were many derogatory names thrown around by employees at the restaurant.

Isabella claims that the woman stormed off and refused to return to work.

Sexual harassment can cause extreme stress, making it hard to have a good work performance. Sexual harassment is illegal and usually creates a hostile and intimidating work environment. If you think you have been experienced sexual harassment at work, you need to seek legal help as soon as possible as there is a time limit to file a work-related claim. Our Florida Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are committed to protecting the rights of employees and making sure that justice is served.

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Journalist Diana Falzone settled a gender discrimination lawsuit recently that she filed against Fox News and left the company.

In her complaint in New York state court, Falzone said she was abruptly taken off air by Fox News after writing an article in January 2017 about her struggle with endometriosis, a medical condition that would likely leave her infertile.

She said Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, discriminated against her on the basis of sex and disability in violation of New York City law.

Fox executives decided she did not conform to their image of on-air women as “physically perfect” once she disclosed her condition, Smith said in a statement at the time.

Fox denied Falzone’s allegations after she filed her lawsuit in May, 2017.

In its June 23 response to Falzone’s complaint, Fox said it maintained an equal employment, a harassment-free work environment where personnel decisions were made on the basis of merit, and retaliation was prohibited against anyone who reported a discrimination claim.

Fox News has faced a number of legal claims that it ignored employees’ complaints of sexual harassment and gender and race discrimination.

Bill O’Reilly, the network’s most popular anchor, and former Fox News chief Roger Ailes both have been ousted over harassment claims by several women, which they deny.

Smith and Martin Hyman filed a sexual harassment lawsuit last year against Ailes on behalf of former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. The lawsuit, which was settled for $20 million, led to Ailes’ resignation after two decades as one of the most influential executives in cable television.

Sex and gender based employment discrimination is illegal in the workplace. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against current or potential employees because of their sex in regards to:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Promotions
  • Termination
  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Training
  • Any other “term or condition” of employment

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The NFL is supposed to prevent its franchises from asking draft prospects questions related to their sexual orientation, but they have apparently failed – again.

Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio, LSU running back Derrius Guice said one team representative at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last week asked whether he was homosexual. Such a question is prohibited under the league’s Excellence in Workplace Conduct policy and potentially illegal under state law.

Controversy about this line of questioning began in earnest at the 2013 Combine after both running back Le’Veon Bell and tight end Nick Kasa revealed they were asked if they “like girls” during one of their 15-minute interview sessions.

Subsequent warnings of league discipline from NFL headquarters to clubs about doing this went ignored in 2016 by Falcons assistant coach Marquand Manuel, who asked then-Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple if he liked girls. The Falcons organization quickly apologized with head coach Dan Quinn saying his coaching staff went through a training seminar “with a league-approved counselor regarding social responsibility.”

These questions regarding sexual orientation are not new. The Dolphins apologized in 2010 after wide receiver Dez Bryant was asked by a team official if his mother was a prostitute.

The typical Combine interview features general get-to-know you questions and football-related inquiries such as analyzing video of college performances or drawing plays on a board. Players with off-field issues in their background face a tougher line of questioning as teams try to complete their pre-draft profiles.

Guice, who is considered a likely first- or second-round pick, turned pro early after posting his second consecutive season of 1,200-plus rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns. Guice is also considered one of the most inspirational players in the 2018 draft class. He was raised in a single-parent household in an impoverished part of Baton Rouge following the murder of his father when Guice was 7 years old.

It will be interesting to see how the league reacts in trying to find the interviewer and whether a harsh enough punishment is given to truly keep another player from having to endure the same experience as Guice.

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An Oregon man filed suits Monday claiming Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart discriminated against the 20-year-old when they refused to sell him a rifle.

Dick’s and Walmart restricted gun sales to adults 21 and older in the wake of the Florida high school massacre. The 19-year-old accused in the school slaying bought the AR-15 used in the attack legally.

Oregon law allows residents to buy shotguns or rifles starting at age 18.

The man’s lawsuits filed against the retailers in two separate counties claim he faced age discrimination from Dick’s and Walmart. The lawsuit is believed to be the first filed over the new gun policies enacted on Feb. 28.

The lawsuit claims a store owned by Dick’s Sporting Goods in Medford, Oregon, refused to sell the man a .22-caliber Ruger rifle on Feb. 24. The suit says another Walmart in Oregon refused to sell him a gun on March 3.

The man is asking judges to force Dick’s and Walmart “to stop unlawfully discriminating against 18, 19, and 20 year-old customers at all Oregon locations.” Additionally, he is asking for unspecified punitive damages.

A Walmart spokesman said the retailer plans to defend the new policy.

Dick’s and Walmart are not alone in establishing a new policy on age restricted gun sales. Kroger Co., the nation’s largest grocery chain, on Thursday announced its Fred Meyer stores will discontinue the sale of guns and ammunition to customers younger than 21 years old.

Not all state public accommodation laws consider age a protected status, and Florida is one of those states. In the 19 states and jurisdictions that do have such laws on the books, including Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, all have prohibitions against age discrimination by “public accommodations” or publicly accessible retail establishments.

The announcement, made two weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and staff members, is one of the strongest stances taken by corporate America in the national gun debate. It also carries a huge symbolic weight coming from prominent national gunsellers.

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Until recently, Ferrari dealers in South Florida and elsewhere were able to roll back the odometers of the fancy pre-owned cars they sold.

However, when the Miami Herald and other media organizations brought attention to it, the company discontinued the practice that could grossly inflate the value of used Ferraris, according to new documents filed in a Palm Beach County lawsuit.

In an internal Ferrari memo filed Feb. 8 in the lawsuit brought by a former showroom salesman-turned-whistleblower, Ferrari North America notifies dealers it will no longer provide access codes that for years allowed an app called DEIS tester to make miles driven vanish from dashboards of Spiders, Californias and 488 GTB’s.

“The odometer ‘reset to zero’ functionality is being removed,” the memo reads. It also announces the removal from its Ferrari Workshop Manuals of the paragraphs that taught techs how to roll back miles.

After spending 22 years selling Ferraris throughout South Florida, the whistleblower sued for libel Ferrari of Palm Beach and one of his clients.

The whistleblower claims he was fired after discovering odometers got rolled back and discussing it with his client, who allegedly then paid off a mechanic from the dealership to roll back his LaFerrari mileage.

The whistleblower explained in court paper the rollback — which had to be greenlit by Ferrari headquarters in Italy — instantly increased the resale value of his client’s $3 million-LaFerrari by $1 million, the lawsuit claims.

The whistleblower says he was fired by Ferrari of Palm Beach in January 2016 for “egregious violation of business ethics,” allegedly facilitating his client’s rollback.

What really happened, the whistleblower says in the suit, is that he was targeted after he loudly objected to the use of the rollback device.

The whistleblower was rehired in March 2016. Since then, however, he claims Ferrari of Palm Beach engaged in a pattern of retaliation, including his move to an office that’s harder to reach by customers.

Ferrari stands by claims they did nothing wrong or illegal.

Under state and federal law, employees who step forward to expose illegal activity on their employer’s part can recover financial damages if they find themselves being harassed, intimidated, or unlawfully terminated. Moreover, in qui tam cases, whistleblowers are eligible to receive a percentage of any money recovered by the government where their testimony and cooperation were pertinent to obtaining a conviction.

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A registered nurse is suing at St. Petersburg hospital facility, alleging gender and racial discrimination.

The African-American transgender nurse, filed a complaint Jan. 26 in Pinellas County Circuit Court against HCA, Inc., alleging violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Florida Civil Rights Act.

According to the complaint, the nurse had worked at HCA’s Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg since August 2011 as a fulltime advanced registered nurse practitioner. In April 2017, the suit says, she learned Northside was short-staffed, yet nobody contacted her for work despite her having requested extra work since February.

The nurse says she was subjected to discrimination, accused of stealing and was eventually terminated July 17, 2017.

She alleges HCA failed to provide her PRN hours while providing PRN hours to a white/Caucasian peer, made false accusation of theft of food and subjected an employee to discriminatory acts.

Discrimination in the workplace can on various forms. Sex and gender discrimination is becoming more common as the number of women and openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals enter the workforce. Even though state and federal laws mandate that these employees are given equal access and protections, they are often discriminated against simply because of their sex or gender identification.

An individual may be discriminated against at work simply because of their sex or because they are genetically one sex and identify as another. Fortunately, employment laws protect against these and other similar situations.

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