Florida employees have legal protections against wrongful termination. Since Florida is an “at-will” state, meaning employers can fire you for any reason (that is not against the law) — it can be confusing to know when you can sue for wrongful termination. Do you need an attorney? Getting the basic information about what classifies as wrongful termination in Florida is the first step to finding out if you may have a case.
What is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired through unlawful means or by violating a company policy or legally binding contract when the worker is terminated from employment. Some of the circumstances that you may need a wrongful termination attorney include:
Termination Due to Discrimination
Discrimination should never be tolerated. When it is associated with an individual being fired — it is called wrongful termination. It is also against the law to fire someone due to Age Discrimination, Race Discrimination, Pregnancy Discrimination, among other types of discrimination. Working with attorneys that have extensive expertise in working with these types of cases is important because of the complexity of proving a case.
Sexual Harassment in a Hostile Work Environment
If you were the subject of wrongful termination due to a hostile work environment where sexual harassment was tolerated, your employer could be liable for compensatory damages, among other judgments including back pay and reinstatement with full benefits. Sexual harassment is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. use all legal means to fight hard for employees who have been sexually harassed and/or the subject of wrongful termination.
Did you report your employer for illegal conduct and were subsequently fired? Did you refuse to cooperate in illegal conduct and then fired? In either of these situations, you may have a case against your employer for wrongful termination. The state of Florida has its own Private Whistle-blower’s Act, which makes it unlawful for employers to terminate employees for uncovering, objecting to, or reporting violations of state and federal law.
Retaliation for FMLA Leave
Many employers, unfortunately, are not family-friendly. Sometimes, they will retaliate against employees for taking FMLA leave — firing employees for taking time off to have a baby or care for an immediate family member with a serious medical condition. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects most Florida workers from wrongful termination. If you or a loved one was fired for taking FMLA, it is important to consult with a wrongful termination attorney as soon as possible.
Termination after Disputes about Unpaid Overtime
Employees have the right to get paid what they are legally owed — including appropriate payment for overtime (typically time-and-a-half) on a per hour basis. It is not uncommon for employers to try to increase their profits by trying not to pay employees lawful overtime. If you were fired after attempting to get compensated correctly for hours worked over your regular 40-hour work week, this might also qualify for a case of wrongful termination.
Violation of an Employment Contract
Wrongful termination lawyers also take on cases of employment contract violation. If you signed a contract when you joined a particular company that designated such parameters as length of employment, salary, schedule, or other details, and have been subsequently fired due to complaints about your employer not abiding by the contract, or for no reason at all, contact Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, PA for a free consultation.
Wage & Hour Disputes
Just like overtime issues, certain employers will also try to not pay or shortchange employees on wages and overall hours worked. This may include commissions, tips, or other theft of wages. Did you complain about getting your fair share and then got fired? The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) covers comprehensive issues surrounding wage and hour disputes. You deserve your right to a fair wage, including all the hours worked — and you have the power to help hold your employer accountable. As with all types of legal cases, any and all types of relevant documentation can help to prove your case. Go back in your records and keep any electronic or paper documentation of schedules, pay stubs, employee policies, or any other type of HR resources you may have.
Retaliation for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation laws are there to protect you and should not be used against you by your employer. It is illegal for employers to threaten, attempt to coerce, intimidate, or fire an employer for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Employees who have been injured on the job should not have to worry about job security. Florida Labor Code 440.205 is the state law that ensures that. If labor law has been violated by your employer, a wrongful termination lawyer will fight for your rights, not the employer’s interests.
Intolerable working conditions due to a hostile work environment can cause people to have to quit their job, which is called constructive discharge. Depending on the particular circumstances, this may also qualify for a case for wrongful termination. Intolerable working conditions may include but not be limited to consistent workplace bullying or harassment, discrimination (including Age, Race, Disability, Pregnancy, Religious, and Sex or Gender), and sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has strict guidelines against a hostile work environment and constructive discharge.
Wrongful Termination Lawyers Fight for Employee Rights
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we fight for the rights of Florida employees — holding employers accountable for wrongful termination. We understand the complexities of employment law and have fought both small and large employers to get justice for employees across numerous industries.
Whether you are in hospitality, retail, technology, or other fields, we keep you and your family in mind every step of the way and want to help you get justice, the compensation you deserve, and get your career moving forward past a wrongful termination from your employer. Contact our office today to set up a free, confidential consultation. We have helped thousands of Florida workers with employment law cases — and have a proven track record of success.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.