Articles Posted in Discrimination Lawyer

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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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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Wal-Mart Stores Inc settled a lawsuit on Wednesday by a transgender former employee in North Carolina who accused the retail giant of unlawfully firing her for complaining about harassment.

Wal-Mart did not disclose the terms of the settlement in a joint filing agreeing to dismiss the case in federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina. The company did not admit to wrongdoing.

Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the company does not tolerate discrimination.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, a nonprofit that represents the former employee, said they sued Wal-Mart in December, after the employee’s coworkers at a Kannapolis, North Carolina, Sam’s Club store called her “sir,” “that thing with an attitude” and “shim,” a slur combining “she” and “him.” The former employee also said her male boss subjected her to unwanted physical advances and referred to her as “it.”

Wal-Mart owns Sam’s Club.

The former worker started at the store in March 2004, and began presenting as a woman at work in 2008, according to her lawsuit.

She said she was fired in March 2015 in retaliation for complaining to supervisors about harassment, and because they believed that she suffered from “gender dysphoria,” or distress with the sex she was assigned at birth.

She accused Wal-Mart of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When the lawsuit was filed, the TLDEF said that companies like Wal-Mart should not only have strong anti-discrimination policies, but also make sure they are enforced.

Transgender is used to describe a person whose gender identity or gender expression is not what society typically associated with the sex that was assigned to them at birth. While this specific case takes place in North Carolina, our Florida Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton would like to address how this pertains to Florida where employment is generally at will. Regardless of that fact, wrongful termination based on transgender discrimination is unlawful and may form the basis of a lawsuit. Our Discrimination Lawyers may be able to assist employees who have received a wrongful termination.

Florida is an “at will” state, which means that an employer may terminate an employee for no reason or any reason, even if the reason seems unfair to the employee. However, when someone is fired based on an employee’s membership in a particular class of people protected under anti-discrimination laws, the termination is then considered a wrongful termination, which means the employee may sue to recover damages related to the termination.

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An employee is suing Walt Disney, claiming he was discriminated against because of his age.  

The man filed a complaint on April 23 in Orange County Circuit Court against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts USA Inc. alleging violation of Florida law.

According to the complaint, the 61-year-old man, a military veteran, has worked for Disney since 1996. The suit says in March 2017, Disney denied him a promotion to security manager despite his meeting the requirements for the position.

He alleges Walt Disney Parks and Resorts USA denied him to advance from the promotional process to the interview phase because of his age. The suit says Disney treated a 45-year-old employee more favorably who was much younger and did not possess the leadership experience required for the job.

Employees should only be judged on the quality of their work. Sadly, many older employees find that they are subjected to arbitrary stereotypes, which is not only unfair, but also illegal. Many employers make the unjust assumption that older employees are not able to keep pace with younger employees, which is not true.

Federal and state laws prohibit employers from engaging in age discrimination. An employee may not be fired or otherwise discriminated against regarding the terms of their employment on the basis of age. If you feel that you have been the victim of age discrimination, please let our Florida Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton help you. Whether through counseling, litigation, or negotiation, we provide victims of age discrimination an outlet for addressing their concerns and a way to hold the at-fault party accountable for their wrongdoing.   

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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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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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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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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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