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Know Your Rights: Navigating Employment Law in Florida

A Florida employment lawyer can help you understand and protect your rights in an ever-evolving work and business landscape.

Know Your Rights: Navigating Employment Law in Florida

A Florida employment lawyer can help you understand and protect your rights in an ever-evolving work and business landscape. 

Employment law is the area of the law that includes all aspects of the employer/employee relationship, including but not limited to workplace safety, wages, pension, and unemployment compensation. As an employee, it is important that you are knowledgeable on your rights and work with a Florida employment lawyer to ensure you’re protected and represented in any legal matter related to your work. Read along as we delve into the world of employment and labor law.

Unfortunately, many employees fall victim to workplace violations, but the good news is that there are numerous federal and state laws in place to protect them.

Understanding Employment Law

Employment law refers to the areas of the law that govern the rights and responsibilities of both employees and employers to help ensure workplaces are safe, appropriate, and fair. Employment law is incredibly extensive and includes regulations from all levels of government, which is why it is subdivided into different areas, including wages, benefits, medical leave, and workplace conduct, among others. These laws apply to all employees, including those in the process of applying to jobs, current employees, and former employees.

Florida as an ‘At-Will’ Employment State

It is important to note that Florida is an ‘at-will’ employment state, which means employees are free to leave their jobs at any time, for any reason, with or without previous notice. On the same token, the employer can also terminate employment at any time and for any legal reason and can change the terms of your employment without notice as long as the changes were not made for illegal reasons. It is important for employees to understand their rights in Florida, as it is unlikely they will have an employment contract while working in the state.

Knowing Your Rights

The purpose of employment law is to ensure all parties in the business are getting treated fairly and ethically, which is beneficial for every person involved as well as the health of the business. It is important for both employees and employers to be well-informed of their rights and responsibilities which will allow them to be prepared, avoid issues that can lead to litigation, avoid workplace disruptions, and more. 

Below we provide a brief summary of different important areas of employment law and what you need to know as an employee.

Wrongful Termination

This category of employment law refers to when an employee is fired for an illegal reason. The reason for termination could have been in violation of federal anti-discrimination law or contractual breach. A termination could be considered wrongful if the employee was fired due to discrimination, in violation of federal or state labor laws, in retaliation for reporting harassment, because the employee reported an illegal conduct or safety violation, among others. 

Discrimination in the Workplace

Racial discrimination refers to the unfair or unfavorable treatment of applicants of employees because of their race. In the United States it is illegal to discriminate based on race in every aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, layoffs, job assignment, pay, benefits, training, and more. The Florida Civil Rights Act as well as other federal laws protect employees from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or marital status. A Florida discrimination lawyer is the best suited to help employees handle claims based on workplace discrimination.

Wages, Overtime, and Benefits

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the state of Florida regulate wage and hour protections, overtime, and minimum wage. Florida’s minimum wage if above the federal minimum wage, therefore, employees are entitled to the higher state wage. 

This section of the law governs the hours that an employee works and determines the wages they can receive. Additionally, it protects other benefits offered by employers such as medical insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. If employees believe they are owed unpaid wages or that their employer prevented them from receiving minimum wages or overtime pay, labor and wage attorneys can help them get compensation for wage violations. There are certain types of employees that are more vulnerable to having unpaid wages, these include commission-based employees, independent contractors, retail employees, construction workers, servers and kitchen personnel, among others. 

Protection From Retaliation

The Florida Civil Rights Act protects employees from retaliation for reporting harassment or discrimination or participating in protected activities, which include requesting accommodations for a disability or religious practice, participating as witness in an investigation, reporting discrimination, joining a union, among others. There are whistleblower statuses in place that protect employees who report illegal or harmful activities in their place of employment. This includes reporting violations of environmental regulations and labor laws. 

If you feel your employment rights have been violated, it is in your best interest to speak to an experienced employment lawyer. Contact The Saade Law Firm, P.A.  today and work with a skilled team of litigators who will look out for your interests and hold your employer accountable. 

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