Articles Posted in Wrongful Termination

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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Until recently, Ferrari dealers in South Florida and elsewhere were able to roll back the odometers of the fancy pre-owned cars they sold.

However, when the Miami Herald and other media organizations brought attention to it, the company discontinued the practice that could grossly inflate the value of used Ferraris, according to new documents filed in a Palm Beach County lawsuit.

In an internal Ferrari memo filed Feb. 8 in the lawsuit brought by a former showroom salesman-turned-whistleblower, Ferrari North America notifies dealers it will no longer provide access codes that for years allowed an app called DEIS tester to make miles driven vanish from dashboards of Spiders, Californias and 488 GTB’s.

“The odometer ‘reset to zero’ functionality is being removed,” the memo reads. It also announces the removal from its Ferrari Workshop Manuals of the paragraphs that taught techs how to roll back miles.

After spending 22 years selling Ferraris throughout South Florida, the whistleblower sued for libel Ferrari of Palm Beach and one of his clients.

The whistleblower claims he was fired after discovering odometers got rolled back and discussing it with his client, who allegedly then paid off a mechanic from the dealership to roll back his LaFerrari mileage.

The whistleblower explained in court paper the rollback — which had to be greenlit by Ferrari headquarters in Italy — instantly increased the resale value of his client’s $3 million-LaFerrari by $1 million, the lawsuit claims.

The whistleblower says he was fired by Ferrari of Palm Beach in January 2016 for “egregious violation of business ethics,” allegedly facilitating his client’s rollback.

What really happened, the whistleblower says in the suit, is that he was targeted after he loudly objected to the use of the rollback device.

The whistleblower was rehired in March 2016. Since then, however, he claims Ferrari of Palm Beach engaged in a pattern of retaliation, including his move to an office that’s harder to reach by customers.

Ferrari stands by claims they did nothing wrong or illegal.

Under state and federal law, employees who step forward to expose illegal activity on their employer’s part can recover financial damages if they find themselves being harassed, intimidated, or unlawfully terminated. Moreover, in qui tam cases, whistleblowers are eligible to receive a percentage of any money recovered by the government where their testimony and cooperation were pertinent to obtaining a conviction.

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A registered nurse is suing at St. Petersburg hospital facility, alleging gender and racial discrimination.

The African-American transgender nurse, filed a complaint Jan. 26 in Pinellas County Circuit Court against HCA, Inc., alleging violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Florida Civil Rights Act.

According to the complaint, the nurse had worked at HCA’s Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg since August 2011 as a fulltime advanced registered nurse practitioner. In April 2017, the suit says, she learned Northside was short-staffed, yet nobody contacted her for work despite her having requested extra work since February.

The nurse says she was subjected to discrimination, accused of stealing and was eventually terminated July 17, 2017.

She alleges HCA failed to provide her PRN hours while providing PRN hours to a white/Caucasian peer, made false accusation of theft of food and subjected an employee to discriminatory acts.

Discrimination in the workplace can on various forms. Sex and gender discrimination is becoming more common as the number of women and openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals enter the workforce. Even though state and federal laws mandate that these employees are given equal access and protections, they are often discriminated against simply because of their sex or gender identification.

An individual may be discriminated against at work simply because of their sex or because they are genetically one sex and identify as another. Fortunately, employment laws protect against these and other similar situations.

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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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An Orlando employee is suing a transportation company, alleging retaliation and wrongful termination.

The woman filed a complaint Nov. 6 in Orange County Circuit Court against the company, alleging violation of the coercion statute.

According to the complaint, the woman began working for the company on Jan. 18. She says on June 25, she was grabbed on the arm by another driver from a company that contracted with the company. The suit says the other driver began scolding the woman.  

The woman says she reported the incident and opened a worker’s compensation claim. After the report, the suit says, the woman’s supervisors changed their behavior toward her, followed by a change in her schedule to a shift she was unable to work. As a result, she was forced to resign June 29 because no shifts were available.

The woman claims the company failed to protect employees from any harm during employment, failed to investigate the incident claim filed under Workers Compensation claim and forced an employee to resign without valid reason.

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A former employee is suing Fields Motorcars of Florida Inc. for alleged age discrimination and wrongful termination.

The man filed a complaint on June 27 in the Orange County Circuit Court, alleging that Fields Motorcars of Florida Inc. breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing.

According to the complaint, the man alleges that he suffered economic damages on Jan. 26, 2016 as a result of being terminated from his employment. He was allegedly fired due to a single complaint from a customer about his driving.

The man holds Fields Motorcars of Florida Inc. responsible for allegedly acting with malice and reckless disregard for his protected rights, and for allegedly terminated him in bad faith without reasonable grounds.

State and federal laws are set in place to prevent employers from discriminating against individuals or treating them unfairly in the workplace based on factors such as age, gender, race, national origin, and religion. Florida law is quite clear: mistreating workers is unfair and any type of discrimination is illegal. Employers who mistreat their workers can be subjected to various civil and sometimes even criminal punishments.

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A jury has awarded $4.5 million to a former employee who sued an Iowa hospital for age bias and retaliation.

The jury’s July 24 decision came after a 10-day trial of Grinnell Regional Medical Center and two administrators. The lawsuit states that the hospital fired the man in June 2015 from his post as lab director while in remission from breast cancer and hired a younger replacement.

It is believed that the man was targeted because he’d declined an order to retire following his initial diagnosis in November 2013.

The hospital’s attorneys deny the firing and subsequent hiring of a new director had anything to do with the man’s age or cancer diagnosis. A hospital spokeswoman says the hospital intends to appeal.

Discrimination in the workplace is not only unfair, but also illegal. There are several different federal laws that offer protection from discrimination based on disability, race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Age discrimination has its own unique set of laws called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Job applicants and employees who are over the age of 40 are usually covered by the ADEA.

Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person over 40 because of their age when it comes to:  

  • hiring
  • firing
  • promotion
  • layoff
  • compensation
  • benefits
  • job assignments
  • training

Moreover, employees who speak out against age discrimination have legal protection from retaliation.

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