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Fort Lauderdale Employment Law Blog

Amazon sued by couple that allege discrimination, retaliation

Amazon has a record of being in support of the LGBTQ community, however a recent incident at one of their shipping warehouses in Kentucky has cast a pall over the company. A man and his transgender wife worked for Amazon at the Warehouse from 2014 to 2015, and they eventually resigned because the hostile work environment was simply too much for them to endure.

The couple sued Amazon and they claim that employees at the company harassed them, targeted them with slurs, and that their superiors at the company eventually retaliated against them. The conditions were too much, and they quite in disgust. They hope their lawsuit holds Amazon accountable for not doing more to support them.

Auto dealership settles after wrongful termination claims filed

A former sales manager at a car dealership recently settled a wrongful termination lawsuit that he filed against the dealership to the tune of $2.1 million. The sales manager, Chris Azzaro, was fired in 2013 and filed his wrongful termination lawsuit two years later in 2015. When he filed the lawsuit, the dealership suddenly accused Azzaro of embezzling $300,000 in company funds. Those criminal allegations would later be dismissed, and Azzaro's lawsuit would be amended to include malicious prosecution on the part of the auto dealership, John Howard Motors.

Azzaro says that he always performed the duties his job required and that he fulfilled the reasonable expectations of the dealership. He was fired after he raised concerns regarding health and safety at the dealership, as well as a scheme to improperly sell vehicles to avoid paying taxes.

Different types of workplace harassment to watch out for

Florida is home to many hardworking citizens. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 10,140,000 people who are part of the civilian workforce in the state. 

No matter how good a company may seem, harassment can take place anywhere. While most employers are familiar with sexual harassment, there are different variations possible. Employers and employees alike need to be mindful of how they treat one another. If everyone makes a strong effort, then the workplace can make significant improvements in terms of employee morale and satisfaction.  

Scheduling law helps fast food workers in New York City

Imagine for a moment that you work for a fast food restaurant, and you are walking out the door to get to your place of work and clock in. A few minutes into your commute, you get a call from your boss: "You don't have to come in today, business is slow." Some people may celebrate not having to go to work; but others want to work and need the money. Surprising changes to their schedule like this are unwelcome.

This is exactly why the city of New York became the largest city to pass a law that requires fast food restaurants to schedule their workers two weeks in advance and pay extra for any changes to that schedule. Other benefits are built into the law -- such as 11-hour breaks between shifts for workers -- that will take effect at the end of the year.

Employees, companies may discriminate against you

Every company is a little different. The culture will vary from business to business. Each employee is going to have his or her quirks, may they be positive or negative. Each company will respond to important issues in different ways. And the everyday interactions between employees and companies can't always be predicted.

But even with all of this variety, there are still some people and companies that discriminate against people in the workplace. It is an unfortunate fact, but one that continues to prove itself true. Discrimination could occur as part of a systemic issue with the company, or it could be one employee that has disgraceful tendencies. In either situation, the employee that is victimized by the discrimination needs to consider his or her legal options.

Brewery settles with nearly 1,200 workers on wage and hour claim

While the following story didn't occur here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it still could have happened practically anywhere. It involves servers at a brewery not being paid what they are owed, and the fight they had to take to the brewery in civil court in order to get what they deserved.

Water Street Brewery in Wisconsin recently agreed to an $825,000 settlement with nearly 1,200 current and former servers at their four locations. Another 78 people joined in the class-action lawsuit filed by those current and former servers. The lawsuit alleged that Water Street Brewery forced servers' wages below minimum wage by making them share tips and making them pay for broken dishes and glasses. In addition, the lawsuit alleged that Water Street Brewery failed to pay workers overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a week.

Teacher reports copyright violations, is fired by principal

A teacher that was fired shortly after he reported copyright violations to the principal of the school where he worked. This was before there was evidence of widespread financial impropriety within the school district.

The teacher claimed that teachers were photocopying copyrighted material without permission from the publishing company, and that the photocopies were valued around $500,000. The teacher reported this to his principal, and it is unclear if anything was done to address the issue. But what is clear is that the teacher was terminated shortly thereafter. The principal no longer works at the school in question either.

Panda Express chain settles national origin discrimination case

The Chinese fast food chain Panda Express has agreed to settle a Department of Justice complaint that it engaged in recordkeeping activity that discriminated against noncitizens lawfully working in the United States. The Justice Department announced that the company, which operates some 1,800 restaurants nationwide, will set aside $200,000 for a back pay fund to compensate the affected workers. Panda Express has also agreed to pay a $400,000 civil penalty.

According to the Courthouse News Service, the Justice Department began investigating in May 2016 and developed reasonable cause to believe Panda Express was "engaged in a pattern or practice of unfair documentary practices against non-U.S. citizens based on their citizenship status," the settlement states.

Discussing sexual harassment in today's day and age

You would think that, with it being the year 2017, we would have rid ourselves of the scourge that is sexual harassment in the workplace. However, that simply isn't the case. There are myriad news stories out there that show women (and some men) are being sexually harassed at work. A survey in the United Kingdom found that 40 percent of barristers (lawyers) reported being sexually harassed or discriminated against in their workplace.

So given the unfortunate fact that sexual harassment is prevalent in the workplace, what should employees be on the lookout for? Sexual harassment usually consists of one of two actions: creating a hostile work environment where harassing behavior is unwanted, pervasive and even severe; or where quid pro quo offers are made to employees (workplace favors in exchange for sex).

Recognizing pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

If you have experienced adverse treatment in the workplace because you are pregnant, you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination. A regrettable but very real issue facing many working American women, pregnancy discrimination is a collective term for the various forms of mistreatment you may experience because of your pregnancy or related medical condition.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects you from pregnancy discrimination in your place of business. More specifically, it dictates that your employer may not do any of the following because you are a pregnant woman or a woman with a pregnancy-related health issue.