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Fort Lauderdale Employment Law Blog

Landscaping company guilty of wage and hour violations

Many workers in Florida, and in many other parts of the country, work above and beyond the standard 40-hour work week. In accordance with regulations set by the U.S. Department of Labor, employees who work over 40 hours a week are entitled to overtime pay. Employers are responsible for keeping track of employee’s hours and paying any overtime owed to workers.Yet, in some cases, company’s may try to avoid paying extra wages to workers, which could end in a hefty fine.

A landscaping company in Florida did just that. Instead of keeping track of employee hours and giving overtime pay to workers who labored over 40 hours a week, the company paid a flat hourly rate to employees regardless of how many hours were worked. After the employer started paying overtime rates, they did so incorrectly, which resulted in workers getting underpaid as well. After an investigation was conducted by the Wage and Hour Division, the landscaping company now owes more than $44,280 in back pay to the 75 employees involved.

What to do if you face racism at work

Racism in the workplace is a serious problem. According to a recent survey, 48% of African Americans and 36% of Hispanics have been victims of racial discrimination at work. If you experience racism at your job, what will you do?

Being the target of racial discrimination and harassment is a confusing and disheartening experience. Here are some ideas for what you should do in this situation. 

Working from home and discrimination

Often, when people think about discrimination in the workplace, they picture businesses with a brick-and-mortar presence where employees are physically present while performing their job duties. However, it is important to keep in mind that workers may be subjected to various types of discrimination even if they do not have to physically show up to work every day. Thanks to rapid technological advancements, an increasing number of people telecommute, which can be very convenient for workers and employers alike. Unfortunately, discrimination also takes place in these scenarios as well, and we will review some examples in this post.

Someone who works from home may be reassigned to a less favorable position due to their gender. Or, their position may be terminated as a result of their religious beliefs or ethnic background. Just because a worker does not need to show up at work every day, this does not mean that they are immune to discrimination. In fact, some employers and managers may think that it is easier to get away with discrimination in these instances because a worker is not physically present when mistreatment occurs.

When sexual harassment is rampant in a business

We have discussed many of the consequences of sexual harassment, which include strong and difficult emotions, an inability to continue working at a particular location and trauma. Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to shatter lives, even though a lot of attention has been given to this topic in recent months. In some instances, a particular business may have an especially troubling prevalence of sexual harassment, and the abuse may continue because nothing has been done to address the unlawful behavior. Under these circumstances, victims should immediately look into their options and may need to take legal action.

Unfortunately, some business owners show little regard for the well-being of their staff members, and others do not recognize problems that exist in the workplace and the consequences of these issues. As a result, some companies fail to take corrective action and allow sexual harassment to occur far too often within their business. This is unacceptable and victims should not think twice about exploring their options. Sometimes, filing a complaint can address the situation, but filing a lawsuit may be necessary as well. If sexual harassment is rampant within a particular business, those who have been subjected to mistreatment may need to come together and take action as a group.

Age discrimination often a barrier for older workers

As an older person seeking employment in Florida, you may find that you face an uphill battle, and that you are up against certain hurdles you did not typically face when you were younger. Unfortunately, age discrimination is alarmingly common across Florida and the United States, despite the fact that there are laws in place banning employers from discriminating on the basis of age. At the Law Office of Michelle Cohen Levy, P.A., we recognize that there are certain protections in place for American workers who are 40 or older, and we have helped many victims of this type of treatment pursue appropriate recourse in the aftermath.

According to AARP, age discrimination is so prevalent across the nation that job seekers over 35 say it is the single-biggest hurdle keeping them from finding gainful employment. Furthermore, two out of every three job seekers between 45 and 74 report having experienced age discrimination on the job, with workers in the technology and entertainment industries facing especially high rates of age discrimination.

A look at how employees can prevent sexual harassment

When people hear reports about sexual harassment occurring in a professional environment, their first thoughts often turn to what the employer could have done to better protect their workers. While companies in Florida uphold a significant responsibility to implement protocols designed to discourage harassment and provide protection to at-risk groups of individuals, there are also preventative steps that employees can take to support their own safety in the workplace. 

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the consequences of sexual harassment are many. Harassed employees may find that their mistreatment is resulting in difficulties focusing on their work, anxiety about going to work and even fears of harassment translating into a hostile situation. Harassment can be perpetrated by either males or females and is any type of unsolicited conduct that creates a situation where another person or group of people feel uncomfortable. 

Understanding important facts of employee contracts

Employees are essential for the proper function of many businesses. Unfortunately, some business owners do not treat their employees as such.

For that reason, employment laws exist to ensure employees receive fair treatment. Part of that law governs employee contracts, and it is important to understand a few important facts in regards to those contracts.

Knowing what job awaits one returning from FMLA leave

Most in Fort Lauderdale understand that life happens regardless of the plans that people make, and oftentimes its circumstances can compel them to essentially "hit the pause button" with everything else they have going on to deal with certain things. One of the activities that people often have to put on hold to accommodate dramatic events in their lives is work. Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows for that. 

The U.S. Department of Labor shows that FMLA allows eligible workers to take leave for the following reasons: 

  • The birth of a child
  • Adopting a child (or having a foster child placed in one's home)
  • Recovering from a serious injury or illness
  • Assisting a family member in recovering from an injury or serious illness

Are you entitled to overtime pay?

The next time you see a Ford driving down the streets of Fort Lauderdale, you can thank its founder for your current work schedule. Prior to the federal government routinely tracking labor conditions in the U.S., stories (albeit unverifiable) had factory workers in the U.S. working seven days a week for up to 100 hours per week. Henry Ford has the first major name in business to push for the standard 40-hour work week. The Fair Labor Standards Act made that the officially recognized work week schedule in 1940.

Yet that is not to say that today, employers are still no pushing their workforces to go labor beyond 40 hours. Your boss may expect that even when you leave the office, you remain available to answer calls or emails or perform work-related tasks at home. The question becomes how should you be compensated if your work week exceeds 40 hours. 

Sexual harassment a pervasive problem in health care

While just about anyone who makes a living working in Florida runs the risk of experiencing on-the-job sexual harassment, statistics show that workers in certain industries are substantially more likely to experience this type of treatment than those employed in other fields. Health care workers, in particular, face a high likelihood of experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. At the Law Office of Michelle Cohen Levy, P.A., we understand that on-the-job harassment can take a considerable toll on your life, and we have helped many people in health care and other industries pursue recourse after experiencing sexual harassment.

According to the Harvard Business Review, women who work in health care, in particular, face high rates of sexual harassment in the workplace. Between 30 and 70 percent of female doctors, for example, report that they have experienced sexual harassment on the job, and the problem is also common in settings that provide health care education. About half of all female medical students have reported that they, too, received unwanted sexual attention at some point during their schooling.

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