Articles Posted in Florida

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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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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A former employee is suing The Transition House Inc., alleging they failed to pay overtime, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The woman filed a complaint May 9 in the Pinellas Circuit Court against The Transition House alleging that the Florida company failed its duty to pay employees for all hours worked.

According to the complaint, the woman says that she has suffered lost earnings from the company’s wrongful practice of denying her with earned wages for all overtime hours worked and for all meal breaks not taken.

She holds The Transition House responsible because they allegedly failed to properly apprise its employees of their rights under the FLSA, failed to keep or provide an accurate record of its employees’ hours worked, and failed to compensate its employees of overtime wages.

The FLSA clearly states that overtime pay entitles workers to one and a half times their regular hourly rate for each hour they work beyond their regular 40 hours in a week. Despite this fact, many employers refuse to pay their employees their rightfully earned overtime wages. These illegal business practices are unacceptable, and our Pinellas County Unpaid Overtime Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you recover what is rightfully yours.

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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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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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