Articles Posted in Employment Law

A Pinellas County woman is suing a Clearwater company, alleging age and disability discrimination. Whittel & Melton is pursuing the case on behalf of the woman.

The woman filed a complaint Nov. 16 in  Pinellas County Circuit Court against Professional Media Group LLC, alleging that the employer violated the Florida Civil Rights Act.

According to the complaint, on July 10, 2016, the woman was injured and admitted to a hospital for surgery. The suit says although the woman received permanent metal screws in her leg she informed her supervisor that she would be ready to return to work.

The woman was illegally terminated from employment July 21, 2016, because of her disability/handicap and age – she is 64. As a result, the woman has suffered damages for lost wages, benefits and emotional distress.

The business unlawfully discriminated against her and illegally terminated her employment for having a disability.

Discrimination can take on many forms. When you are discriminated against at work because of your age or disability, you need to work with a Pinellas County Discrimination Lawyer at Whittel & Melton who can protect your rights.

Age discrimination revolves around the concept that an older person may not be able to do something as well as a younger person. If you are over the age of 40 and are being treated differently than your co-workers, you may be able to file a discrimination claim. The older you are, the stronger an age discrimination argument becomes.

Some disabilities are obvious, but some are not immediately apparent. Regardless of the type of disability, it is important to speak with your HR department to ensure you have a strong case. Most companies require individuals with disabilities to go through HR before anything else. When you contact Whittel & Melton, we can help you work through your options with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)  to make sure your rights as an employee are protected.

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A former employee is suing an Orlando restaurant supply and equipment company, alleging religious discrimination.

The man filed a complaint Dec. 1 in Orange County Circuit Court against the company, alleging he was fired without warning.

According to the complaint, in July 2015, the man, a devout Muslim who had worked for the company since 1996, suffered economic losses after his employment was suddenly terminated. The suit says this includes loss of wages, increased pay, retirement benefits and other benefits.

The man says the company denied his request to observe the traditional Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Fitr as a paid vacation and then terminated his employment.

The man alleges the company denied his right to observe a traditional religious holiday and terminated him as retaliation and without valid reason.

If you have been denied employment, fired, harassed or otherwise harmed in your employment because of your religion, your religious beliefs and practices, or simply because your employer failed to comply with your reasonable request for a convenient accommodation of your religious beliefs and practices, you very well could be the victim of religious discrimination. Sadly, this is a quite common occurrence throughout workplaces across the country.

The law is very clear in stating that employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their religion. This means that employers may not treat employees or job applicants differently because of their religious beliefs and practices or lack thereof. Moreover, employers must reasonably accommodate the needs of employees in the workplace to practice their faiths.

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A former employee is suing WaWa, alleging disability discrimination, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination.

The man filed a complaint Nov. 29 in Pinellas Circuit Court against WaWa Inc., alleging the company fired him for wearing a back brace.

According to the complaint, the man has a history of chronic back problems that require him to wear a back brace. The man says he worked for a WaWa in Clearwater until his dismissal in 2016, allegedly for unexplained absences.

The suit says the man has suffered and will continue to suffer from mental anguish and emotional distress, loss of earnings and other employment benefits and job opportunities, as a result of WaWa’s willful and intentional discrimination and wrongful termination.

The man alleges WaWa failed its duty to eliminate discrimination from the workplace, failed to adequately supervise, control, discipline and/or otherwise penalize discriminatory practices, and discharged the man in retaliation for his filing and attempting to file a valid worker’s compensation claim.

The man seeks trial by jury, compensatory and punitive damages between $15,000 and $75,000, interest, court costs and other relief.

If you believe that you have been the victim of employment discrimination because of a physical or mental disability, our Florida Discrimination Lawyers at Whittel & Melton may be able to help. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the ADA) added disabled persons to the class of people protected against employment discrimination. The ADA defines employment to include recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, and social activities.

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Celebrity chef Mario Batali has given up oversight of the daily operations at his restaurant empire following allegations of sexual misconduct over a period of at least 20 years.

The alleged incidents involve at least four women, three of whom worked for Batali.

In a prepared statement sent to The Associated Press, Batali said that the complaints “match up” with his past behavior.

“I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family,” Batali said.

A spokesperson for Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group says an employee reported inappropriate behavior by Batali in October. The company said it was the first formal complaint against Batali and that he was reprimanded and required to attend training.

Batali will also take leave from his ABC cooking show, “The Chew.”

“We have asked Mario Batali to step away from The Chew while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention,” the network said Monday. “ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment. While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct.”

No one should have to experience sexual misconduct in the workplace. Sexual harassment leads to what is called a hostile work environment that can cause an employee to suffer from anxiety, stress and to feel powerless. Sadly, even though sexual harassment is illegal, it still occurs in many workplaces.

Sexual harassment can embody many different things. It can include sexual advances, inappropriate touching, patting, pinching, groping, or leering. Sexual harassment can also involve unsavory comments made by your boss or co-workers about your body, appearance, sexual orientation, sex life, or your clothing.  

In Florida, you have the right to work at your job without being sexually harassed by your co-worker, supervisor, boss or anyone else. You also have the right to report sexual harassment and cannot be retaliated against by your employer for doing so.

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A group of landscapers suing their employer for overtime pay have settled their class action lawsuit for roughly $4.8 million.

The landscapers claimed that their employer failed to pay overtime to its full-time, salaried supervisors because it paid only half-time overtime pay on a fluctuating workweek basis.

The settlement covers 839 workers who were paid by the company and performed work in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington or Wisconsin between Oct. 8, 2010, and June 8, 2014.

It covers employees who were paid a salary and were also eligible for half-time overtime fluctuating workweek pay.

Overtime pay is required for most Florida jobs. Unfortunately, many employers try and cheat their employees out of the pay to which they are legally entitled to receive. Even salaried employees may be able to collect overtime pay, it really all depends on if their titles do not match with federally defined duties they perform. Don’t let your employer rob you of your hard earned wages. Our Florida Unpaid Overtime Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you recover your losses.

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A former employee is suing an Orlando blues club, alleging unjust enrichment and unpaid wages.

The man filed a complaint Oct. 2 in Orange County Circuit Court  alleging failure to provide employees proper wages and reimbursements.

According to the complaint, in June 2017, the man suffered monetary injury on his credit card expenses amounting to $22,959.94. The suit says the establishment has failed to reimburse him for goods, materials, services and other items necessary that he purchased through his personal credit card for the operation of the business.

Additionally, the man says he did not receive wages for work performed during his final week of employment.

He alleges the business retained the benefits conferred by the man without the necessary reimbursement, failed to provide him with his final paycheck, and forced him to retain and pay for legal counsel.

What is unjust enrichment? Unjust enrichment is a legal theory established to prevent someone from seeking the benefit of something, typically goods or a service, that they did not pay for. Unjust enrichment is often referred to as “quasi-contract,” but in reality the lack of a contract between parties is what actually results in the unjust enrichment. If you have provided a service or goods under what you thought was a contract, and you have not received payment, our Florida Employment Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help. We can provide you with a free consultation and let you know what damages you may be able to recover for unjust enrichment.

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An employee is suing a Pinellas County business, alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The man filed a complaint Sept. 25 in Pinellas County Circuit Court against the Pinellas County business,  alleging they failed to pay employees for all hours worked.

According to the complaint, from Nov. 1, 2009, June 30, 2017, the man suffered economic injuries from working for the company as a non-exempt employee. The suit says the man provided in-home support and other services for special needs adults. As a result, the lawsuit states, he worked more than 40 hours per week, but was not compensated at the statutory rate of one and a half their regular rate of pay as required by FLSA.

The man alleges the business denied applicable overtime wages under the FLSA, and forced the man to incur legal services and fees to protect his interest.

In many unpaid wage cases, the problem with wage and hour violations begins with employee misclassification. People entitled to overtime for hours more than 40 in a workweek are often misclassified as exempt from overtime pay. Workers operating as full-time employees are misclassified as independent contractors. Our Pinellas County Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are experienced in dealing with misclassifications amongst employees. Once we expose these errors and violations, we can fully understand what compensation and backpay you are owed, which could be substantial.

We represent both salaried and hourly employees, and we are fully aware of which industries and occupations are most common for failing to pay their employees properly.  

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A cook has filed a class action lawsuit against her former employer, alleging the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and workers compensation acts.

The woman filed a complaint, individually and on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated Sept. 18, in Pinellas Circuit Court against the restaurant, alleging they failed to pay employees for all hours worked.

According to the complaint, the woman, who worked as a line cook from March 15 until her termination April 3, and other similarly situated employees, have suffered the loss of earnings. The suit says they worked in excess of 40 hours per week, but were not compensated at the statutory rate of one and a half their regular rate of pay as required by FLSA.

The woman claims the restaurant denied employees their full and proper overtime compensation required by the FLSA, and showed reckless disregard of the provisions of the FLSA.

The Fair Labor Standards Act has set forward strict standards for employers. Employees must make minimum wage for every hour they work, in compliance with overtime regulations and current minimum wage law. If your employer has not paid you in compliance with overtime or minimum wage laws, you are entitled to pursue an unpaid wage claim.

It is important to point out that it is also illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for asking about a wage and hour dispute or for taking legal action. If you were fired, demoted, given unfavorable shifts or bad reviews simply because you inquired about not being paid properly, you have a right to pursue legal action.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the supermarket chain for religious discrimination after a new hire claimed Publix asked him to cut his dreadlocks in order to work there, according to reports.

The man, who practices Rastafarianism, applied to work in a Publix in Nashville, but “reportedly had to quit before he started” because his religion doesn’t allow him to cut his hair.

The man apparently asked his manager if he could not cut his hair because of his religion and asked if he could wear his hair in a hat, according to the EEOC. “Management refused to allow the hat or any other reasonable accommodation, and he was forced to quit before his first day of work.”

Publix is known for having grooming requirements for men such as neat haircuts and no beards, according to reports.  

Publix said it does not comment on pending litigation, but did offer a response.

“At Publix, we value and appreciate the diversity of all of our associates,” the statement from Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said. “We work to provide environments where known religious beliefs and practices of our associates and applicants are reasonably accommodated. As I’m sure you can understand, it would be inappropriate for us to comment specifically on this case, as it is pending litigation. However, please know that we are dedicated to the employment security of our associates and that we regularly provide accommodations to associates due to their religious beliefs, as required by law.”

Rastafarianism, an Abrahamic religion, requires adherents to not cut hair based on a line in the Old Testament’s Book of Numbers, which says with certain religious volunteers “not a razor shall come upon his head.”

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A man has filed a collective-action lawsuit against an Orlando business for alleged unpaid overtime wages.

The man filed a complaint on Aug. 1 in the Orange County Circuit Court, alleging that the business failed to pay its employees the proper wage for all hours they worked.

According to the complaint, the man alleges that he and other similarly situated employees have suffered loss of earnings for allegedly not being paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for working more than 40 hours per week.

The man holds the business responsible for allegedly failing to determine if employees were properly compensated and for allegedly not keeping accurate time records.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for collective action lawsuits against employers for minimum wage and overtime pay violations. To proceed as a collective action under the FLSA, employees must be “similarly situated,” which refers to employees subject to a common policy, plan or design that fails to compensate employees for minimum wage or overtime pay.

Employees must “opt in” to the lawsuit, which means they must affirmatively sign a document stating they want to proceed collectively. Usually one or more employees will initiate the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated. When other employees are given notice of the lawsuit, they can decide how they would like to proceed.

If you have a wage dispute with your employer, our Florida Unpaid Wage & Overtime Lawyers at Whittel & Melton to protect your rights. We can help you file a collective or class action lawsuit to obtain unpaid bonuses, commissions, and vacation pay as well as overtime and minimum wage.

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