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Fort Lauderdale Employment Law Blog

EEOC lawsuit accuses Whole Foods of wrongful termination

Whole Foods has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after they fired a cashier that has a genetic disorder that caused cysts to grow on her kidneys. She had worked at Whole Foods since 2005 and was fired in 2015 after she missed two days of work when she was in the hospital due to her condition. In 2009, she received a kidney transplant to help with the condition.

The woman let Whole Foods know about the two days she needed to miss in advance, and yet the company still fired her. According to the lawsuit, Whole Foods' actions violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for the woman after the actions taken by Whole Foods.

Gender pay lawsuit rocks Google, seeks class action status

Three women have filed a lawsuit against Google after they claimed to have been paid less than their male counterparts while doing the same amount and level of work. Additionally, the women claim that they were placed on lower job ladders. The allegations are very serious, and the lawsuit seeks class action status for other women who worked at Google over the last four years.

The lawsuit has a scathing message about the entire practice by Google: "Google has discriminated and continues to discriminate against its female employees by systemically paying them lower compensation than Google pays male employees performing substantially similar work, under similar working conditions." If this is proven true, it would be textbook gender pay discrimination.

The divisive and illegal nature of discrimination

Going to work may be difficult some days, but at the very least, you should be able to count on feeling safe and comfortable at work. You should be in your office and have the feeling that no other employee is judging you or discriminating against you based on any factor. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen, and as a result plenty of employees are discriminated against every day in the United States.

Employment discrimination may happen, but it isn't acceptable. There are, sadly, far too many factors that can be used by employees or supervisors to discriminate against an individual. Your age could be the subject of discriminatory action. Your race or religion could draw action from fellow workers and supervisors. Your gender, your disability, your national origin, your sexual orientation, or even your decision to get pregnant could all trigger certain employees to take retaliatory and discriminatory action against you.

Do I have any privacy rights at work, or not?

In general, when it comes to your workplace, you should assume that you have less privacy rights than you would in your own home. This much should be obvious. But there are ways where this idea is trickier than others. So let's take a look at the rights you have as an employee when it comes to privacy.

First of all, the work space you use at your company belongs to, well, your employer. As such, they can search it whenever they want. This includes your computer and a company car, if they allow you to use one. State laws may vary on the topic, but the courts, in general, have been on the side of employers on this issue.

3 signs of age discrimination

Age discrimination is unfortunately common. According to a piece in AOL Finance, older workers are likely to be the first ones demoted or laid off. You might suspect you are facing discrimination because of your age but are unsure whether you have proof. 

It can be sometimes difficult to determine what is illegal discrimination versus harmless decisions or banter from your boss. Below is a list of ways you can prove you are experiencing age discrimination. 

Police officer files wrongful termination claim

A former police officer that was fired from his job in April 2015 filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in October of that year against the department for their retaliatory actions. The former officer claims that the police launched an investigation into his personal social connections with the wife of a friend of the city manager. The lawsuit claims that if a supervisor can dictate how an employee spends his or her time in a private, social setting, then it violates his or her First Amendment rights.

Lower court rulings have sided with the former police officer, and the police department has repeatedly appealed the case.  They are now asking for "declaratory relief" in a counter lawsuit. Declaratory relief basically asks a court to rule whether certain conduct is lawful or not.

Clothing retailer settles with 8,000 plaintiffs

While the following story is happening on the opposite coast of us, it still brings important information regarding employers and their actions when it comes to paying workers for the time they worked.

Ann Taylor Inc., a well known clothing retailer, has settled a wage and hour lawsuit with roughly 8,000 plaintiffs after it was alleged that the company shorted workers on their overtime and failed to meet minimum wage requirements. There were also allegations that the company didn't give their workers the necessary number of rest and meal breaks, as well as claims that when employees were terminated, they weren't paid in a timely fashion.

Has your employer acted inappropriately?

As an employee, you have a number of rights and they protect you from feeling uncomfortable or threatened at work. They also go a long way to protect you from your employer acting in nefarious ways. That doesn't mean that your employer or fellow employees will respect these rights, but you do have them and you can take proper steps to uphold them.

At the same time, many employers and companies act within their rights when they take action, or refuse action, against employees. It is important to remember that not every company acts in nefarious ways.

Tips for hotel housekeepers to guard against sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a prevalent issue in the hospitality industry, particularly for housekeepers. As a housekeeper, you are frequently alone in guest rooms. This can lead to predatory visitors taking advantage of the situation. In fact, there is a report that eight out of 10 hotel workers experience harassment on the job. It is important for you to recognize the risks of sexual harassment and how you can avoid threatening situations. 

If you are aware of safety procedures within your hotel, report harassment when it occurs and take detailed notes of troubling incidents. You can protect yourself and fight back against this disgusting behavior. 

$10.1 million settlement in sexual harassment case at Ford plant

Some major news came out of Ford recently, as the motor vehicle company released a statement saying that they had settled a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit recently to the tune of $10.1 million. As part of the settlement, the company agreed to improved employee training and to bolster their sexual harassment policies and anti-discrimination policies.

The case stems from allegations from 2015. That year, many employees at a Chicago assembly plant complained of a hostile work environment that led to eight managers, including the plant manager, to be fired and replaced. There are also allegations from 2014 from four women who say they were groped at the plant, harassed by male employees, and subjected to unwanted sexual advances.