A Fort Lauderdale employer is being sued over allegations of unpaid overtime wages and retaliation for reporting the unpaid wages as well as discrimination, a hostile work environment and retaliation for complaints about such behavior.

The claim alleges that the company was negligent in paying wages for overtime and created a hostile work environment. A former employee is requesting the company pay damages.

The former employee is a “Hispanic (Cuban Black) male and is a member of” a protected class under the U.S. Civil Rights Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act.

He was employed by the company from October 10, 2014, until July 23 and during his employment was responsible for “maintaining and monitoring inventory, distributing parts, and billing customers,” according to the complaint.

After he was promoted to operations coordinator, a white man was promoted to branch manager. This is when the man claims his hours were cut by the manager, a practice that was not inflicted on nonblack or non hispanic employees. He claims he was treated differently than other employees, and that the manager let other employees make racist comments.

The former employee said he made complaints to the Human Resources department but no changes were made. He alleges that the company tampered with his timecard and failed to pay him overtime wages.

After the man complained to Human Resources, he claims his manager terminated him.

The man is requesting a trial by jury and damages of unpaid wages and court costs.

When racial discrimination costs you your job or leads to you being demoted, you need to take a legal stance and fight for justice. Sadly, race discrimination in the workplace continues to be an unpleasant reality for many workers. Our South Florida Discrimination Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you address the injustice you have experienced and get you the financial justice you need to move forward.

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A former employee has filed a lawsuit against The University of Phoenix, alleging national origin discrimination, color discrimination, racial discrimination and retaliation.

The Broward County woman filed a complaint on April 27 in Broward Circuit Court against The University of Phoenix Inc. alleging violation of the 1992 Florida Civil Rights Act.

According to the complaint, the woman, a black Haitian, worked for the University of Phoenix from January 2007 until July 10, 2017 when she was terminated. She says she was deprived of her rights, exposed to ridicule and embarrassment, and suffered emotional distress and other damages, as a result of the discriminatory treatment and the hostile work environment she suffered from her supervisors.

The lawsuit states that the woman’s race and color were the motivating factor in her dismissal.

The suit goes on to state that The University of Phoenix failed to make prompt remedial action to prevent continued discrimination toward the woman and deprived her of her statutory rights under the Florida law.

Federal and state laws strictly prohibit racial discrimination in the workplace. Employers cannot make decisions to hire, fire, promote, or to provide training or other benefits because of a person’s race, color or national origin.  

Our South Florida Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have the experience and commitment needed to aggressively fight employers who have mistreated employees at work or fired them because of their race or national origin. We can also protect employees who have been wrongfully retaliated against because they spoke up against race discrimination.

An employee who proves racial discrimination in the workplace did in fact occur may recover lost wages and financial compensation for the emotional harm inflicted upon them. In some cases, employees subjected to race discrimination may receive awards of punitive damages, or can even be reinstated to their jobs or promoted to their rightful position should it have been unfairly denied due to discrimination.

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A former employee is suing an Orlando retirement community, saying they violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The woman filed a complaint April 19 in Orange County Circuit Court against her former employer, alleging they failed to provide employees their proper wages, benefits and incentives.

According to the complaint, the woman began working at the retirement facility in February 2014 as a staffing coordinator, often working more than 40 hours per week. The suit goes on to say that the woman has suffered a loss of earnings, for routinely working additional hours in excess of 40 per week, but has not been compensated at the statutory rate of one and a half her regular rate of pay as required the FLSA.

She claims the facility has required her to work significant hours off the clock with no additional compensation, failed to provide an accurate record of her total hours worked and failed to compensate her of overtime wages.

Every employee deserves to be compensated properly for all hours worked, and this includes overtime pay. Whether your employer is cheating you out of your rightfully earned wages intentionally or not, you need to contact our Orlando Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers at Whittel & Melton for a free consultation. We will review your pay stubs and any other wage information to make sure you’re receiving the fair and full wages to which you are entitled.

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Three associates at Morrison & Foerster have filed a would-be $100 million class-action suit that claims the firm maintains a “family-friendly façade” even as it discriminates against lawyer moms.

The lawyers filed the suit Monday in San Francisco federal court.

The suit claims that female lawyers who return from maternity leave are not promoted with the rest of their associate class, resulting in lower pay. In addition, the suit says, the firm creates unrealistic work expectations for lawyer moms while giving them insufficient work and opportunities to meet those expectations.

The suit alleges violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Equal Pay Act, and California laws regarding equal pay, fair employment and family rights.

The three plaintiffs, all California associates, are identified as Jane Does 1, 2 and 3.

According to the suit, Morrison & Foerster boasts of its work-life programs, including parental leave, parental transition time upon returning to the firm, flexible work options and reduced-hours work.

But the reality “is far from the firm’s family-friendly façade,” the suit says. “MoFo may allow maternity leave on paper, but when women take advantage of the firm’s ‘generous’ maternity leave, or notify the firm that they have children, they are routinely held back and set up to fail.”

The suit goes on to say that when female lawyers become mothers, Morrison & Foerster demands they prove their commitment by working more hours. Then, when the lawyer moms seek more work, “they are denied assignments because of stereotype-driven perceptions that they lack commitment to their jobs. The stereotype becomes self-reinforcing, and women become stuck.”

All three plaintiffs said that after they returned from maternity leave, they discovered through the firm’s online portal that they had not been promoted with the rest of their associate class. Yet the firm increased their external billing rates, an issue that “was rectified” after two of the associates complained.

When she first joined the firm, Jane Doe 1 says, one of her supervising partners told her “parents tend not to do well in this group.” The partner also allegedly told Doe “we didn’t realize you were a parent when we extended you the offer,” even though Doe was up-front about having a child in conversations with three partners and human resources. The partner who made the comments about parenthood gave Jane Doe 1 fewer opportunities than lawyers without children, the suit says.

Women make up about 46 percent of Morrison & Foerster’s associates, but only about 22 percent of the firm’s 248 partners, the suit says.

In a statement, a Morrison & Foerster spokesperson said the firm “has a long and proven track record of supporting and advancing our associates as they return from maternity leave. We vigorously dispute this claim and are confident that the firm will be vindicated.”

Three-quarters of women entering the workforce today will become pregnant at least once while employed, and many will work throughout their pregnancies. There are several federal laws that have been enacted as a means of preventing discrimination against pregnant employees. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act all provide some means of protection for pregnant workers. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities act was specifically amended in 2008 to include impairments that may arise in pregnancy including hypertension, diabetes and severe nausea.

Cases similar to this one occur all too often. If you feel that you or someone you know has been discriminated against in the workplace, then it is important that you get in touch with our Florida Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. We will listen to your case, and fight to get you any financial compensation you deserve for what you have been through. We routinely handle collective and class action lawsuits as well.

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A former employee is suing an Orlando restaurant owner, alleging violation of the Florida Minimum Wage Act (FMWA).

The man filed a complaint April 9 in Orange Circuit Court alleging the restaurant owner failed to provide employees their proper wages, benefits and incentives.

According to the complaint, starting in September 2015, the man worked at the restaurant as a manager and bartender. He says he has suffered lost wages as a result of the restaurant’s unlawful conduct in compensating him at a rate less than the minimum wage by taking tip credit from his wages.

He says the restaurant failed to compensate him at the applicable minimum wage for all hours worked for performing dual occupational tasks, improperly applying a tip credit to every hour that he worked, and failed to keep complete and accurate time record of its employee.

The 2018 Florida minimum wage is $8.25 per hour. According to the FMWA, employers of tipped employees, who meet eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the FLSA, may credit towards satisfaction of the minimum wage tips up to the amount of the allowable FLSA tip credit of $3.02. The employer is still required to pay tipped employees a direct wage. The direct wage is calculated as equal to the minimum wage ($8.25) minus the tip credit ($3.02), or a direct hourly wage of $5.23 as of January 1, 2018.

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For “My Reality: A Hidden America,” a special “20/20” report by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, women were asked to share their experiences with sexual harassment or abuse while on the job and responses were received from all over the country.

From truck drivers to waitresses to hotel room attendants, these women shared their stories of facing horrible situations at work, offered advice to others and discussed what they see as solutions to ending sexual harassment.

One woman who delivers packages for a local delivery company from a FedEx Ground facility in Sikeston, Missouri said that for years, she was ridiculed and bullied by her supervisor who she says tried to drive her out of the mostly-male workplace.

In 2016, she filed a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and then with the EEOC. After a recent ruling, her federal harassment claims are moving forward. She’s asking for monetary damages, but she says most of all, a promise to create an environment where a woman can work with dignity.

Another woman, a waitress who was 16 years old when she got her first job as a hostess working at an IHOP franchise restaurant in Illinois said that she has been sexually harassed by two male managers.

It was only after she left the restaurant that she said she learned of 10 other women who had been working at the same franchise who claimed to have their own stories about sexual harassment and assault there. They have now filed a lawsuit against the franchise.

The franchise owner has denied all wrongdoing but gave “20/20” no further comment. The IHOP corporation said they are very concerned about any question of harassment in the workplace and hold their franchises to high standards.

One of the biggest things our Florida Sexual Harassment Attorneys at Whittel & Melton would like workers to know is that you don’t need to suffer in silence or worry that you’ll face retaliation if you come forward if you’re being sexually harassed at work. Workplace sexual harassment is illegal. In order to stop the abuse from continuing, we can help you take the proper steps to hold the employer accountable for their wrongful actions.

If you’re experiencing or have experienced sexual harassment, there are laws set in place to protect you. Federal, state and local laws protect employees from unwelcome sexual advances, unwanted sexual propositions, and working in a sexually hostile work environment.

Employers have a duty to keep their workplaces free from sexual harassment. If an employee reports sexual harassment and the company does not take the necessary action to stop it, the company can be held legally responsible.

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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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