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Broward County Employment Law Blog

3 tips for protecting your business against discrimination claims

You probably already know you should prevent discrimination at your workplace–it is only common sense. Failure to curb a discriminatory environment from developing can result in costly legal claims, lower productivity and a higher employee turnover rate. 

However, it may be confusing as to how you can do more to stop discrimination at your place of work. You may think that anti-discrimination laws such as the Civil Rights Act are enough. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Here are some steps you can take to protect your company from discrimination lawsuits.

What is wrongful termination

Florida residents who lose their jobs often feel angry and upset. Many may wonder whether they have a legal claim against the employer who caused this emotional and financial upheaval.

Understanding the basics of Florida wrongful termination laws can help you figure out whether you can get legal recourse. Consulting an employment law attorney can provide further insight specific to your situation.

Are you a victim of age discrimination?

Generally, employers enjoy fairly wide latitude in making decisions about hiring, termination and workplace atmosphere. However, some actions may cross the legal line, especially when dealing with members of protected classes whom the law has deemed particularly vulnerable to discrimination.

Both Florida and federal laws prohibit age-based discrimination. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is a federal law prohibiting employers from making decisions using age as the sole criterion. This protection applies to employees over the age of 40 who work for an employer with a minimum of 20 employees. The Florida statute has no age threshold, recognizing that employers may discriminate against an employee for being older or for being younger. The Florida law applies to companies with at least 15 employees.

What constitutes workplace retaliation?

As someone who lives and works in America, you are probably aware of certain laws that pertain to the workplace. For example, you may know that you have a right to a harassment and discrimination-free environment. You may not know, however, that you are also protected in your right to “blow the whistle” about these and other wrongdoings without having to fear being retaliated against by your employer.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, workplace retaliation occurs if your employer, supervisor or someone else in your place of business treats you unjustly or otherwise penalizes you for exercising something that is considered a “protected right.”

Educating your employees on sexual harassment

Sexual harassment occurs in the workplace at a higher level than most people want to admit. An allegation of sexual harassment can have devastating consequences for your business and your profit margins. Employers need to be proactive in dealing with this problem.

Is your business paying overtime when it is required?

Not all Florida employers pay overtime when they are required to by the Fair Labor Standards Act. This can lead to extraordinary costs for the business.

It pays for employers to understand when they are and are not required to pay overtime. The cost of consulting a lawyer can be far less than the cost of litigation.

Am I a victim of employment discrimination?

Many people experience discrimination on a daily basis. It is always humiliating. When it occurs on the job, it is also a violation of Florida and federal law.

Not all actions you may regard as discriminatory constitute employment discrimination, however. It usually takes the help of an experienced employment law attorney to evaluate your case and advise you if you have a case and how to proceed.

What is wrongful termination?

If you lost your job in a way that seems capricious, arbitrary or unfair, you may be wondering if you have a wrongful termination case. In reality, unless you work for a municipality, you are in a union, or you have an employment contract, your employment is more than likely "at will." This means your employer can fire you at any time and for any reason-or for no reason.

There are exceptions, however. Your employer cannot fire you for an illegal reason, such as discrimination based on your race, age, religion, pregnancy or other protected status.

EEOC files first lawsuits alleging sexual orientation discrimination

As we've discussed before, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on their sex, race, color, religion and national origin. One prohibition that is perhaps conspicuously absent from this important list, however, is sexual orientation.

Indeed, in addition to this omission from the Civil Rights Act, there is currently no federal statute expressly banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, such that the measure of civil rights protection afforded to gay and lesbian workers would appear virtually nonexistent. 

EEOC settles lawsuit alleging sexual harassment at popular beach resort

One of the more distressing realities is that despite all the progress that has been made in protecting workers in today's workplace, many women are still subjected to repeated instances of sexual harassment by co-workers or even supervisors. Compounding this problem further is that they may feel as if they have no options or would lose their job if they complained to higher-ups. 

The simple reality, however, is that both sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting it are prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and that those companies that fail to take the necessary actions can find themselves hit with a lawsuit courtesy of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


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