Miami has a thriving international business community and is home to many large companies. Florida is an at-will employment state. This means that your employer can fire you, demote you, discipline you, or lay you off for any reason, or no reason. However, your employer cannot terminate you because of your membership in a protected class (race, religion, gender, pregnancy, etc.). If it does, you may be able to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit for damages. If you believe that your termination violated the law or your employment contract, you should consult the experienced Miami wrongful termination lawyers at Phillips & Associates.Wrongful Termination
Most employees are hired to work on an at-will basis. Certain employees are hired for a specific term or have contracts that specify that their employment can be terminated only for just or good cause, or their employment may be subject to a collective bargaining agreement. Even without this type of contract, an employer cannot terminate an employee for an illegal reason, such as his or her membership in a protected class or retaliation against him or her for engaging in a protected activity (such as complaining of discrimination or harassment).
Federal, state, and local laws prohibit discrimination in Miami based on a range of protected characteristics. If it is covered, your employer is not allowed to terminate you because of any of these protected characteristics. For example, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, you are protected against being terminated due to your color, race, national origin, sex, or religion. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, your employer is not allowed to terminate you based on your pregnancy or pregnancy related medical conditions. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits an employer from terminating you based on an actual or even perceived mental or physical disability. The wrongful termination attorneys at our Miami office can advise you on whether to bring a claim under federal law or state law.
The Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) is the state law that protects you against wrongful termination based on various protected characteristics, including color, race, national origin, pregnancy, sex, disability, religion, sexual harassment, marital status, and age. It is unlawful for your employer to terminate you because you are African-American, for example, or because you are Muslim or because you are a woman.
Similarly, it is also unlawful for your employer to terminate you because of your membership in a class specified under the local Miami-Dade County Human Rights Ordinance. You can file a claim with the Miami-Dade County Commission on Human Rights, which enforces this ordinance, and request a right to sue letter for wrongful termination.Retaliation
Sometimes a wrongful termination occurs, not because of an employee’s protected characteristic, but rather because he or she engages in a protected activity related to exercising his or her rights under a federal, state, or local anti-discrimination law. Protected activity includes, filing a complaint with HR, filing a charge with the EEOC, helping a co-worker complain of discrimination, or acting as a witness or support in a co-worker’s claim. These laws include anti-retaliation provisions to deter employers from trying to punish employees who have good-faith claims of discrimination or harassment. These laws also protect employees who oppose discrimination in the workplace when the discrimination is perpetrated against someone else. Our Miami wrongful termination attorneys can bring claims based on retaliation as well as discrimination and harassment.
Note, that it is also unlawful to terminate an employee in retaliation for taking a job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or for complaining of a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violation.Damages
If you successfully bring a wrongful termination lawsuit, you may be entitled to recover damages. These can include lost wages (both past and future), as well as mental and emotional distress damages. Furthermore, when an employer’s conduct in wrongfully terminating you was egregious, you may also be entitled to punitive damages.Hire an Employment Attorney to Assert Your Rights
There can be many economic and emotional consequences of a wrongful termination. You depend on your paycheck, and you should be judged on your work performance rather than your identity. A wrongful termination can affect your entire career. If you believe that you received an illegal termination, you should talk to our seasoned employment attorneys about your options. Call the experienced litigators at Phillips & Associates at (305) 549-5120 or complete our online form for a free consultation with a wrongful termination lawyer in Miami. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, which means that we will not collect any fees unless we successfully secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf.