Miami Employment Law
Miami Attorneys Advocating for the Rights of Workers
Miami employees work in diverse industries, ranging from education and health care to transportation and utilities. Some of the largest employers in Miami-Dade County include the University of Miami, Mount Sinai Medical Center, American Airlines, Carnival Cruise Lines, and the Florida Power & Light Company. There are federal, state, and local employment laws that employers are supposed to follow. Unfortunately, businesses do not always follow these laws. The experienced Miami employment lawyers at Phillips & Associates are dedicated to fighting for the rights of employees who have been mistreated.
Employment law matters include issues related to discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and more. For example, discrimination occurs when an employer makes an adverse employment decision based on a protected characteristic, rather than based on the employee’s qualifications or work experience. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits employment decisions based on color, race, religion, sex, national origin as well as sexual harassment. The Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) covers an even broader range of protected traits, as does the Miami-Dade County Human Rights Ordinance.
Workplace harassment can take many different forms, but sexual harassment is the best known. It may involve quid pro quo harassment, which means that a supervisor or another person of authority offers an employment benefit in exchange for sexual favors. In other cases, sexual harassment may involve severe or pervasive conduct that creates a hostile work environment. Harassment may be directed by any gender toward any other gender, and it may be perpetrated not only by supervisors but also by coworkers and customers.
Title VII, § 1981, and the Florida Civil Rights Act prohibit discrimination based on race. In other words, an employer cannot use the race of a job applicant or employee as the basis for an employment decision. Most employers realize that this is illegal, but sometimes they will use a pretext (false reason) to cloak a discriminatory motive. When this happens, an employment attorney in Miami can help an employee uncover the employer’s true intent.
Like race discrimination, sex discrimination is forbidden under federal and Florida laws. An employer cannot treat an employee or job applicant adversely based on their gender. For example, a woman who is more qualified than a man to perform a certain job may have a sex discrimination claim if the employer hires or promotes the man instead.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the main federal law that prohibits disability discrimination in the workplace. The Florida Civil Rights Act also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on a handicap, and Miami-Dade County provides further protections. An employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a qualifying disability if the accommodation does not create an undue burden on the business.
Employees who are over 40 receive protection against discrimination under a federal law called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). However, employees of any age in Florida are protected against age discrimination under the FCRA. This law also covers a slightly broader range of employers than does federal law.
Nationality (National Origin) Discrimination
Our Miami employment attorneys also represent people who have received adverse treatment in the workplace based on their actual or perceived nationality. Unfortunately, sometimes employers are biased against people who come from a certain part of the world or belong to a certain ethnicity. National origin discrimination may overlap with race or religious discrimination as well, such as when an employer refuses to hire an employee from the Middle East.
An employer cannot fire or refuse to hire an employee based on his or her religion or religious beliefs, unless requiring a specific religion is a necessary qualification for doing the job (which is a very rare circumstance). Moreover, an employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to employees so that they can practice their religion. This might involve modifications to a work schedule or work environment, or allowing for breaks during the day.
Women in the workplace are shielded from discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. They should receive the same accommodations that are made available to other employees who have a temporary disability. If a pregnant employee goes on leave, she should receive the same benefits as other employees who take leave due to a temporary disability.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Federal and state laws do not specifically protect employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. However, Miami is one of many Florida cities that have enacted ordinances prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination. Employers also may not discriminate against employees based on their gender identity.
As in most other states, employment in Florida is generally at will. This means that the employer or the employee can terminate the relationship at any time for any reason. But a termination becomes wrongful if it violates the terms of an employment contract or it is based on a person’s protected trait (or retaliation for making complaints of discrimination.)
Hostile Work Environment
If harassment becomes so intense that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment, an employee may be able to bring a claim against his or her employer. A hostile work environment may arise from a single incident of extreme misconduct, but more often it involves a pattern of events that occur over time. Harassing episodes may involve words, jokes, images, or physical conduct. These cases are highly fact-specific, so you should retain a knowledgeable employment lawyer in Miami who can help you pursue your discrimination and harassment claims
An employer may not punish an employee for making a complaint of discrimination, either internally or to a government agency. An employer also may not punish an employee for assisting with another person’s complaint of discrimination or cooperating with an investigation into alleged discrimination. Even if an employee does not prevail in their underlying discrimination claim, he or she may be able to prevail in the retaliation claim.
Explore Your Options with an Experienced Employment Attorney
If you believe that you may have been mistreated on the job, you should consult a seasoned attorney. To schedule a free consultation with Phillips & Associates, you can call (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form. We do not receive fees unless we successfully secure a settlement or verdict for a client.
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What Our Clients Say:
"He covered every angle and was able to help me with my dispute. I would recommend Jesse Weinstein and Phillips and Associates in the future to anyone."- Margaret
"Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination."- Massimo
"He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry."- Karen