Articles Posted in Pinellas County

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 former Largo plumbing inspector is suing the city, claiming that officials violated a law meant to protect whistle-blowers by firing him in retaliation for a complaint he filed with a state agency.

According to the lawsuit, the man’s former bosses conspired to fire him in November after he accused city plans examiners of approving building plans without proper qualifications last summer in complaints to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

The city manager said the 57-year-old was fired based on several instances of misconduct unrelated to the complaint. According to a disciplinary report issued in November, the man improperly completed or didn’t complete building inspections. He also allegedly joked in an email that two city employees were involved in an affair.

According to the suit, the unlicensed activity resulted in a 911 call center being inoperable for the first two weeks it was open. It also caused faulty plumbing and electrical work in several large projects, including two Walmarts, a Wawa and an apartment complex.

The man filed complaints against four separate employees, according to reports.

To review aspects of a plan such as the electrical or plumbing work, an examiner must have a license in that discipline to ensure the project meets building code. The investigation found that one employee let someone review a plumbing plan on a house in Largo without a plumbing license.

The man hopes his lawsuit prevents any similar issues with his former department.

Blowing the whistle on illegal activities in your workplace is never easy. Sometimes doing the right thing can backfire and lead to retaliation and even termination.

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A nurse has filed a $6.5 million lawsuit against St. Petersburg General Hospital and parent company HCA Holdings for allegedly using a positive drug test as the reason for terminating her when she says the move was really in retaliation for filing a discrimination complaint.

The nurse was one of four African-American nurses employed at St. Petersburg General, which is owned by HCA. She was the only African-American charge nurse and filed a race discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2013.

However, when she slipped on a wet floor at that hospital, she had to submit to a urine drug screen. On May 23, 2014, she was told by the hospital that her drug test was positive and she was immediately suspended and then fired later that day.

Once notified of the test result, she obtained proof from her pharmacy that she possessed a prescription for the medication. Regardless, she was terminated.

The woman’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Middle District of Florida, comes after the EEOC issued her a “right to sue” letter on Nov. 3, 2016, after she made a new complaint for retaliation for her termination.

Florida state and federal laws protect workers against racial discrimination in the workplace. People of every national origin are legally entitled to work in an environment where they are treated equally. Employers have a duty to uphold policies that prevent racial discrimination in any form.

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One of St. Petersburg’s highest ranking sewage operators has filed for federal whistleblower protection, claiming the city was warned that closing a water treatment facility would result in sewage being dumped into Tampa-area waterways.

Since August 2015, St. Petersburg has dumped more than 190 million gallons of sewage into Tampa Bay and other local waterways. The sewage operator says city officials were warned this could happen when they shut down the Albert Whitted water treatment facility.

The man has sent a letter informing the mayor and City Council that he has filed for federal whistleblower protection, citing public safety.

In the document, he says he is “exercising my rights” under the whistleblower act and Federal Water Pollution Control Act “prohibiting retaliation against any employee who reports alleged violation relating to discharge of pollutants into water.”

The whistleblower letter claims a 2014 study showed St. Petersburg’s southwest water treatment plant “could not handle the flow due to high weather events” if Albert Whitted were to close.

Despite the concerns, the man claims the city closed the plant anyway without making the recommended upgrades to the southwest site.  

Moving forward, the man recommends the city reopen the Albert Whitted facility until the necessary upgrades are complete.

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St. Petersburg, Florida – Every company is in possession of private and sensitive personal information of their employees. Employees expect that sensitive information to remain private. We currently represent a Ocala man who is an employee at Advance Auto Parts, who along with an estimated 75,000 employees, have lost a secure hold of their sensitive private information. Local media has reported that we have sued Advance Auto Parts alleging that his employer failed to protect sensitive information about its employees, placing them at heightened risk for identity theft.

We filed the complaint, or lawsuit, in federal court on behalf of our client and all similarly situated employees on March 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Ocala Division against Advance Stores Co. Inc., doing business as Advance Auto Parts Inc., citing negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and invasion of privacy.

We believe our client has suffered an increased risk of identity theft and tax fraud because of his employer’s actions.

We believe that Advance Auto Parts Inc. is responsible because the company voluntarily disclosed corporate files containing class members’ sensitive information to a third party posing as an employee. The information apparently included IRS Form W-2, Social Security numbers, 2015 gross wages and the states where the class members pay income tax.

It has been reported that employees for the national Advance Auto Parts should have also received a letter making them aware that their risk of identity and tax refund theft has greatly increased.

Whittel & Melton is seeking compensation for all damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, prejudgment and post-judgment interest and any further legal and equitable relief as the law may require on his behalf.

We continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of this case, and would like to speak with anyone who has been affected by this breach, or anyone with information related to this invasion of privacy.

Data breaches like this one seem to be rampant these days. In March, the IRS sent out an alert to HR professionals to be aware of phishing scams like these. This phishing variation is known as “spoofing,” and will come from an outsider posing as what appears to be a legitimate employee requesting company information.

It is imperative that companies protect their employees and sensitive data from outsiders. In order to avoid these phishing scams, HR professionals need to make sure that security protocols are in place so that these email tricks do not lead to leaked data. A review of all data protection policies, procedures and technologies should take place regularly to keep these types of threats under control.

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Tracy Morgan has filed a lawsuit against Walmart following the catastrophic trucking accident that left him severely injured and killed another passenger. The New Jersey accident happened in June and ended up making national headlines after a truck driver smashed a tractor trailer into the rear end of the comedian’s limousine.

The lawsuit was filed on July 10th in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey. Morgan, along with three other survivors filed the suit naming Walmart as the defendant. The complaint alleges that Walmart was negligent and responsible for the driver that crashed into the limousine.

Tracy MorganAccording to a report released last month, the truck driver was traveling at 20 miles per hour above the speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike when his tractor-trailer struck the rear of the Mercedes limousine van. Morgan suffered multiple fractures that required several surgeries. Morgan has since been released from the rehabilitation center and is continuing his recovery at home. The comedian will also have to endure aggressive outpatient treatment. The lawsuit names additional plaintiffs, including Morgan’s wife, who was eight months pregnant when the accident happened. The crash also killed 63-year-old comedian James McNair, who was better known by his stage name Jimmy Mack.

When a trucking accident occurs, it is very important for an independent investigation to be conducted in order to determine the exact cause of the accident and identify all responsible parties. A Florida Auto Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton can uncover the facts of your car accident and pinpoint who is responsible.When a vehicle that is involved in an accident is owned by a company, such as Walmart, it is very important to consult with an attorney who can aggressively protect your rights. In cases like these, the driver can be considered an agent of the company, which means both can be held liable for accidents and injuries.

The lawsuit alleges that Walmart knew about or should have known that the 35-year-old Georgia driver had been awake for more than 24 consecutive hours at the time of the crash. In fact, federal trucking regulations restrict the number of hours a driver can work behind the wheel without sleep. Any federal trucking violation can be used as evidence for negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. The initial investigation into Morgan’s crash revealed that the driver had not slept for nearly 24 hours before the crash occurred. The truck driver was actually arrested following the accident.

The state of New Jersey has found the truck driver criminally liable for the accident, charging him with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. The driver has entered a not guilty plea. If the driver is found guilty in the criminal case, the results can be used as evidence of negligence in the civil lawsuit.

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A St. Petersburg Fire Rescue crew saved a man after he fell into a deep hole at a construction site Wednesday morning.

The 57-year-old man was working with a construction crew on top of a concrete lift station at 92nd Avenue N and 3rd Street. Authorities believe he may have backed into the 2-foot-by-2-foot opening before falling some 25 feet.

The accident occurred around 9:40 a.m. The man was trapped for around an hour.

8530434571_8eebb37dd3_mRescue officials used heavy equipment and a basket to retrieve the man. He suffered fractures to his arms and legs and was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.

Officials were very concerned about the possibility of rain since there was already sewer water in the hole, but fortunately that was not an issue.

Construction work is considered to be one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. Construction sites contain many hazards such as heavy machinery, demolition, elevated heights, crowded work sites and other dangers that can leave a worker or passerby seriously injured. Construction accidents almost always result in injuries, and even when all safety guidelines and precautions are followed accidents can occur from poor planning, improper training, lack of communication and even failure to warn employees of pending dangers on site during a project. Slip, trip and fall accidents are quite common because of uneven ground, holes and other various trip hazards. Unfortunately, hard hats do little to protect workers from suffering a head, brain or spinal cord injury. If you have been injured while working on a construction project in Florida, a Florida Injury Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help.

Construction work is not only demanding, but it is very dangerous. Any type of construction accident has the ability to result in catastrophic personal injuries and even death. After suffering an injury, your medical bills can continue to pile up, and your inability to work can place a severe financial strain on your and your family. A Florida Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help hold construction companies responsible for their negligence. We will work tirelessly to make sure that you get the justice you deserve and that your family has everything they need so that you can focus on your health and recovering.

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