The former head football coach at Escambia High School has filed a lawsuit against Escambia Schools Superintendent alleging racial discrimination and harassment.

The former coach filed the lawsuit on Aug. 23, in the Northern District of Florida Pensacola Division, against the Superintendent of Schools for Escambia County District of Schools.

In the filing, the former coach alleged “mistreatment” by the Superintendent and several other district employees.

The former coach served as the high school’s physical education teacher and head football coach from March 2012 until his termination in September of 2014, according to the lawsuit.

The former 2013 Escambia High School Teacher of the Year alleged that upon his hiring, the Escambia High School principal warned him that “some individuals would become upset once they learned of his having hired a black coach.”  

The lawsuit also alleged that the principal participated in racially motivated actions “by making inappropriate comments and racially derogatory remarks directly to Plaintiff regarding his race,” as well the coaches, stating that the sidelines were “really dark,” which referred to the coaches’ race, and commenting on their “gold teeth.”

According to the man, he was treated badly and held to a different standard than his peers because of his race. He said that this created a hostile work environment.

He was eventually terminated based on gross insubordination, effective September 17, 2014, despite the support of his students and players. His firing came after the former coach allegedly used several football players in the team’s opening game, although there were questions about their eligibility. After his termination, the former coach continued to allege that the principal and superintendent continued to damage his reputation and launched “professional attacks against Plaintiff’s character and his professional teaching career.”

The former coach further alleged that the defendant maliciously interfered with other prospective business relationships, causing embarrassment, a damaged reputation and emotional distress.

The lawsuit has brought five counts against the superintendent, including racial discrimination, tortious interference, as well as First Amendment retaliation for protected political association.

People are discriminated against everyday in the workplace because of their race.  Management and supervisors still say and do racially motivated things that are not only wrong, but against the law. Sadly, many get away with it and are never challenged.

It is against the law for a company or employer to discriminate against someone based on their race. This includes any term or condition of employment, such as hiring, firing, being laid-off, promotion, compensation, and job training.

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An AutoNation-owned Coral Gables car dealership will pay a former longtime assistant parts manager $150,000 to settle a sexual discrimination lawsuit after the dealership hired a less-qualified man as parts manager, then had her train him.

The lawsuit says AutoNation management told the woman that the job “needed a man.”

The money owed to the woman is part of a consent decree between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit, and Abraham Chevrolet-Miami (better known as “AutoNation Chevrolet Coral Gables”) and LP Evans Motor WPB (better known as Mercedes-Benz of Miami”).

For the next three years, both dealerships also must have annual live messages from the general managers on equal employment opportunity and diversity. Also, there will be annual training for managers and employees of certain departments on obeying laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when hiring and dealing with discrimination complaints.

According to the lawsuit filed on the woman’s behalf by the EEOC, she started working at AutoNation Chevrolet Coral Gables in 1996 and became assistant parts manager in 2003. During the 10 years she held that job, she helped run all aspects of the Parts Department, including occasionally doing the manager’s job when necessary. She also let it be known she’d like the parts manager job should the position come open.

The suit says that happened during summer 2013 when the parts manager got bumped up to wholesale parts director. But the dealership never posted the job as open nor did it interview anyone, the suit says.

In August 2013, a new parts manager was announced at a company meeting. He had been a sales associate, so the dealership told the woman to train him in his new job.

The dealership felt she was equipped enough to train the parts manager, the suit claims, but not equipped to be the parts manager.

The woman was told by management that the dealer “needed a man” for the position, the complaint said. But the “defendants’ management acknowledged that Charging Party was the most qualified candidate for the Parts Manager position, but advised that ‘it was too late to undo things.”

Gender discrimination in the workplace entails failing to hire someone or firing someone because of their sex or gender. This includes not promoting worthy candidates, paying less compensation to a worker of one sex or one gender identification than another, creating a hostile work environment, and numerous other job aspects that relate to discrimination. If you have been treated unfairly at work, you may be the victim of unlawful discrimination.

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A federal appeals court has ruled that visitors with autism can proceed with lawsuits against Disney theme parks that claimed not enough was being done to accommodate them.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week ruled that plaintiffs in 30 lawsuits could proceed in a lower court with their lawsuits alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuits claimed Disney’s program to accommodate guests with autism didn’t do enough to avoid waits or allow the autistic guests to keep to a scheduled routine in the parks.

A district court in Florida had ruled Disney was accommodating the autistic visitors and dismissed the claims in 2016.

In a statement, a Disney spokeswoman says the company is committed to providing an inclusive environment for all guests.

According to the Disney website, Walt Disney World Resort offers a host of services to help Guests with cognitive disabilities—including those on the Autism Spectrum—maximize their Resort experience. Services include:

  • Advanced Ticket Purchase
  • Stroller and Wheelchair Rental
  • Strollers as Wheelchairs
  • Rider Switch
  • Accessing Attractions
  • Break Areas
  • Companion Restrooms
  • Helpful Guides for Attractions and your General Resort Experience
  • Dietary Accommodations

Living with autism can present serious challenges. If you have a child or other loved one living with autism, you are quite familiar these issues. The challenges of watching someone you love struggle to interact with the outside world can be daunting.

If you have a loved one living with autism, you want to make sure that they have access to every available resource to help with any challenges that may present themselves. When certain places fail to provide promised accomodations, it can create unnecessary issues. Autism can subtly affect a person’s life in ways that have quite a large impact overall.

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A former employee is suing an Orlando company, citing alleged retaliation and wrongful termination, after he filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

The man filed a complaint on Aug. 1, in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida – Orange County. He alleged that the company subjected him to adverse employment actions.

According to his accounts, on Jan. 17 he was injured while in the course and scope of his employment working for the defendant. He was terminated on or about July 1.

He has suffered emotional distress, lost wages and benefits, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-pecuniary losses, according to the complaint. He holds the company responsible because the defendant allegedly terminated his employment in retaliation for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

An employer is strictly prohibited by law from discriminating against an employee because of a workplace injury. Workplace accidents can cause an employee to suffer substantial injuries that may result in them being unable to return to work for an extended period of time or unable to perform the same duties that they did before the injury occurred.

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A deaf woman won $775,000 in damages after a Broward County jury agreed with her claim that her disability led to her unjust termination from her job as a stocker at the Pompano Beach Costco wholesale club.

The woman worked at the company for 24 years before her termination in October 2013, according to the suit, which was filed in September 2015 in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale.

After she was written up for being too loud, the woman sent a letter to Costco’s CEO complaining about the treatment, the suit says. Shortly after, she was suspended for a week, and eight days after she was told about the suspension, the woman was terminated, the suit says.

The woman sought damages under the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, claiming actions by Costco managers were “intentional, willful, malicious and with gross disregard for [her] rights.”

In its response, the wholesale club denied the woman’s discrimination claims, as well as her assertion that she “never had any performance problems, and was never warned, counseled or disciplined at any time during her tenure” at Costco.

Costco responded that the woman was disciplined “on numerous occasions throughout her employment for serious misconduct and insubordination.”

The jury disagreed in a trial that began May 29, awarding $750,000 for emotional pain and mental anguish caused by the denial of reasonable accommodations after Dec. 9, 2012, and $25,000 as punitive damages for Costco’s failure to provide reasonable accommodations.

Being deaf or hard of hearing is considered a disability in Florida and across the country. Employers are required to provide adjustments or certain training protocols that enable persons with disabilities to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Employers are also required to make sure they communicate effectively with deaf employees. This can include having qualified sign language interpreters, including ASL interpreters, for important job-related communications.

Sadly, many employers do not try and meet these standards, and as a result, poor communication and confusion ensues. This often leads to unwarranted disciplinary action, discrimination and even wrongful termination of workers who are deaf or hard of hearing, as this case clearly shows.

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A former supervisor in Adam Putnam’s Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services sued the agency in 2013, claiming “gross misconduct” in the handling of gun permit applications. The woman also claims that quotas for approving concealed weapon permits “guaranteed abuse,” according to reports.

In a whistle-blower lawsuit filed in a Leon County circuit court, the former chief of the Bureau of License Issuance, said she was threatened with retaliation for saying workers were deficient in processing licensing applications, and that her bosses told her she “worked for the NRA (National Rifle Association).”

The agency denied most of the woman’s allegations in court filings. But in a settlement signed in 2016, the agency agreed to pay $30,000, without admitting wrongdoing, including a $10,000 lump sum payment to the woman and $20,000 for her attorney’s fees and costs.

The False Claims Act allows a person or organization to bring a lawsuit against a government company that receives public funds after they have witnessed an act of fraud against the government. Taking legal action like this is called qui tam and the plaintiffs are known as whistleblowers, hence the name whistleblower suit.

Whistleblower suits often involve illegal kickbacks, Medicare fraud, FDA regulation violations, financial fraud claims involving the Dodd-Frank Act, and claims that fall under the IRS whistleblower reward program. A whistleblower can be awarded between 15 and 30 percent of the overall recovery of a successful qui tam lawsuit. This amount can add up to millions of dollars.

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A Miami Beach medical transport company is accused again of shorting workers on overtime pay. This time, it cost them $222,059 in back pay.

The company paid 53 employees an average of $4,189.79 after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company has a problem obeying some parts of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“(Wage and Hour) investigators determined that Miami Beach Medical Transport LLC failed to pay drivers for time they spent working from home confirming appointments with patients for the following day’s route,” the Department of Labor said in a Wednesday release. “The employer also automatically deducted 30 minutes from employees’ timecards for lunch each day, whether or not employees were actually able to take those breaks.”

A Miami Beach Medical Group employee named filed an unpaid overtime lawsuit in 2012. The suit was dismissed without prejudice in February 2013 for failure to prosecute.

A similar lawsuit was filed by a driver in 2017. The July 11, 2017 settlement says Miami Beach Medical Transport officially denies all of the man’s claims. However, the company paid the man $1,775 to cover his unpaid wages, $2,225 in damages, and $3,500 for Diaz’s attorney’s fees.

The Fair Labor Standards Act has set forth strict standards for employers. If your employer has not paid you in compliance with overtime or minimum wage laws, you are entitled to pursue an unpaid wage claim. Our South Florida Unpaid Overtime Attorneys at Whittel & Melton know you work hard for your money, which is why we have a passion for representing clients against large companies and organizations recover what they rightfully deserve. The law has the power to hold anyone accountable for their wrongful actions, and we want to help you fight for what you are owed.

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A man who worked as Donald Trump’s personal driver for a quarter of a century filed suit against the president’s company on Monday.

He says he wasn’t paid for thousands of hours of overtime.

The man, who served as Trump’s personal driver for more than 25 years and gave up the responsibility after the Secret Service took on the role in 2016, said he was owed overtime wages for about 3,300 hours of driving over the past six years.

Over a 25-year period, the man says he worked 50 to 55 hours a week and earned a base salary but was never paid overtime for the time he worked beyond 40 hours per week.

The suit lists the Trump Organization as a defendant but not Trump himself.

If you are not being paid for all overtime worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, your employer may be violating the Fair Labor Standard Act. Federal law requires employees who have worked over 40 hours in a week to receive one and a half times their normal pay rate. Moreover, if your employer knowingly refuses to pay you overtime wages, you are entitled to the amount owed to you. You could also recover additional funds such as liquidated damages and attorneys’ fees.

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An African-American employee is suing St. Petersburg, alleging discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination.

The man filed a complaint June 12 in Pinellas Circuit Court against the city of St. Petersburg, alleging violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 30, 2016, the man was terminated from his employment in the city’s Water Resources Department where he has been the first African-American interim director. He says he has suffered loss of employment, loss of income, privileges and benefits, mental and emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment and damage to his professional reputation.

The man alleges St. Petersburg unlawfully discriminated against him based upon his race and terminated him in retaliation for reporting unlawful discrimination, allegedly his salary being less than whites who held the same position as interim director.

He seeks trial by jury, reinstatement to the equivalent position, actual and compensatory damages of more than $15,000, attorney fees, costs and all proper and just relief.

Even in this day and age, sadly racial discrimination is still rampant in the United States, especially at work. Our Tampa Bay Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton fight aggressively to put an end to racist policies and practices in the workplace.

Racial discrimination includes being harassed, fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, and denied wages. If you feel that you are being discriminated based on your race, whatever race that may be, let us help you.

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A Pinellas County man alleges he was wrongfully terminated by a timeshare sales company in Orange County while out on medical leave.

The man filed a complaint on April 26 in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida – Orange County against Hilton Grand Vacations Club LLC alleging Family and Medical Leave Act interference and retaliation.

According to the complaint, the man began working for the company in October 2016 and submitted paperwork for FMLA leave in November 2017 to care for a medical condition. He alleges he was terminated in January with an effective date of Dec. 21, 2017, for absenteeism.

He holds Hilton Grand Vacations Club LLC responsible because the company interfered with his rights under the FMLA.

Under the FMLA, it is unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee in retaliation for taking FMLA leave or attempting to exercise his or her FMLA rights.Employers are also prohibited from interfering with, restraining, or denying an employee’s exercise of his or her FMLA rights.  

To establish a claim for FMLA interference, an employee must prove the following:

  • They are an eligible employee
  • The employer is a covered employer
  • They are entitled to take FMLA leave
  • Notice of the employee’s intention to take the FMLA leave was given to the employer
  • The employee was denied a benefit they are entitled under the FMLA

In order to establish a claim for FMLA retaliation, an employee must prove the following:

  • They engaged in a protected activity
  • Adverse job action was taken against them
  • There is a causal connection between the activity and the adverse job action

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