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Fort Lauderdale Employment Law Blog

Trump's personal chauffeur sues for unpaid overtime

A man who worked as one of Donald Trump's personal chauffeurs for more than 20 years has filed suit against the Trump Organization and associated companies claiming that he was never paid for overtime hours as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and applicable state law. He also says the organization stiffed him on unused sick and vacation pay.

"In an utterly callous display of unwarranted privilege and entitlement and without even a minimal sense of noblesse oblige President Donald Trump has, through the defendant entities, exploited and denied significant wages to his own longstanding personal driver," reads the complaint.

Suit: Volkswagen sheds 'old diesel image' with age discrimination

A former assistant manager in logistics at Volkswagen AG's Tennessee plant claims he was demoted after the company decided it needed to shed its "old diesel image" and re-brand itself as a "modern, young company focused on productivity, efficiency and technology." That effort involved a company-wide effort to get rid of older workers, he claims in a lawsuit.

Volkswagen seems to have been unusually up-front about its effort to thin its ranks of older people who didn't fit the new image. According to Bloomberg, the former assistant manager says the company announced the policy. However, it promised to implement the policy through "natural fluctuations."

6 ways managers violate the Family and Medical Leave Act

At a recent conference of the Society for Human Resource Management, two experts spoke about the most common ways managers violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These break down into three major categories: 1) failure to take the appropriate actions when an employee needs to take leave; 2) giving the impression that taking leave would be problematic; and 3) retaliation against employees who take leave.

The FMLA guarantees eligible workers up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave every 12 months in order to bond with a new child, to care for their own or a family member's serious health condition, or to handle certain qualifying exigencies arising from a family member's active duty military service. Up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave per year are available to care for an injured or ill military service member in the family.

Review finds pregnancy discrimination rampant in US companies

The New York Times recently performed a review involving thousands of pages of public and court records and interviews with dozens of women and their attorneys. According to the Times, the review showed a clear pattern: Many large, prestigious U.S. companies are still systematically discriminating against pregnant women and firing them when they complain.

In fact, according to a 2014 analysis by a University of Massachusetts Amherst sociologist, a woman's wages drop by 4 percent each time she has a child. In contrast, men's wages grow by 6 percent upon fatherhood. The analysis controlled for marital status, experience, education and number of hours worked.

Can I get time off my job to care for a sick family member?

If you have a family member who has a serious illness, you may be struggling with trying to care for him or her while maintaining your job. It can be nearly impossible to balance your full-time work schedule if you are the primary caretaker for a sick loved one.

The federal government has a program in place to assist people in your situation. You may be eligible for this program, but it is important for you to understand how it works as well as avoid pitfalls that can occur when you request extended time off work under this program.

NFL cheerleaders claim harassment, unlawful pay practices

“We were harassed, we were bullied and we were body-shamed for $7.25 an hour,” a former Houston Texans cheerleader told reporters.

She and four other former Texans cheerleaders have filed two federal lawsuits against the team and its cheerleading coach. The suits, one of which seeks to be certified as a class action, allege both a hostile work environment and violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA requires most employers to pay no less than the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, and also requires employees to receive 1-1/2 times their usual pay rate whenever they work more than 40 hours in a given workweek.

Suit: Dentons law firm worker treated like sexual object, hushed

A business development specialist at the multinational law firm Dentons has filed a state lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and retaliation. The alleged events took place at the New York office of the firm, which has offices across the U.S., including in Miami.

According to the ABA Journal, the lawsuit claims that the employee "was repeatedly treated like nothing other than a sexual object" by her supervisor, who led the firm's venture technology group. He allegedly subjected her to vulgar language and sexual propositions, tried to draw her into sexual conversations when he phoned her at late hours, and touched her in sexual ways without her consent.

EEOC finds disparate impact against female applicants at CSX

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has just settled a discrimination case against Jacksonville-based CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT). The settlement involves what is called "disparate impact" discrimination against female job applicants.

This type of discrimination occurs when a barrier is put in the way of a particular class of workers or job applicants. Often enough, this barrier is not a pretext for intentional discrimination but is a seemingly neutral job requirement. When the barrier weighs especially hard on a protected group such as women or minorities, however, it must be both necessary and narrowly tailored to meet a job-based need.

Supreme Court allows employer class action lawsuit ban

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling in one of the longest debated cases of the session. In a 5:4 decision, the Court ruled that an employer may prevent its employees from joining in a class action lawsuit against the employer. Under the terms of many employment contracts, this decision prevents a vulnerable employee from pursuing litigation altogether--forcing them instead to resolve disputes through arbitration.

The decision was met with strong criticism by employee advocates. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg--one of the dissenting justices in the case--called the ruling "egregiously wrong" and petitioned congress to rectify the Court's action. Other critics expressed concern that the ruling will limit exploited employees' access to protection and justice.

How employer retaliation can work to your advantage

Not all work environments are warm and supportive. Your boss may try to use fear and intimidation tactics to get the results he wants. However, even in the most difficult workplace scenarios, you’re entitled to certain legal protections—and you shouldn’t be afraid to claim them.

If you’re concerned that your employer will penalize you for pursuing your rights, it’s worth understanding that the consequences he could face for such behavior could benefit you in the long run.

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