Naples Employment Law Attorneys
Representing Employees in Cape Coral and Fort Myers
Are you experiencing discrimination or sexual harassment at work? Is your boss denying you overtime pay? Were you fired for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your employee rights have been violated, and you may be entitled to compensation and other legal remedies.
At Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, we have made it our mission to champion the rights of employees in our local communities for over 40 years. Our Naples employment lawyers can help you take action against your employer and work to hold them accountable for unlawful conduct. We will carefully review your circumstances and be transparent when advising whether we think you have a strong case. Should we move forward, we will do everything in our power to deliver a favorable outcome and get you the justice you deserve.
You owe our firm nothing unless we win, so call (239) 908-4930 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. Se habla español.
Despite federal and state laws designed to protect workers, discrimination is unfortunately still pervasive in many workplaces. It is illegal for an employer to make employment decisions or treat you adversely because you belong to a protected class. What constitutes a protected class is defined at both the state and federal levels.
In Florida, protected classes include:
- National Origin
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender Identity
- Veteran Status
- Marital Status
- Pregnancy Status
- HIV/AIDS Status
- Sickle Cell Trait
- Genetic Information
- Age (Over 40)
In practice, this means your boss cannot punish you or make employment decisions because of your race, disability, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic. Employers will find other reasons to conceal unlawful conduct, however, which can make recognizing and proving workplace discrimination immensely difficult.
You may be experiencing workplace discrimination if:
- Your boss terminates you because of your belonging to a protected class
- Your boss reduces your hours or pay because of your belonging to a protected class
- Your boss refuses to consider a reasonable accommodation for your religious beliefs or disability
- Your boss consistently overlooks you for promotions or raises because of your belonging to a protected class
- A company refuses to hire you because of your belonging to a protected class
Employers are also required to enforce anti-discrimination policies, meaning you should never be subject to inappropriate comments that reference your membership in a protected class. Keep in mind that discrimination does not have to necessarily be perpetrated by your boss for it to be illegal. For example, if your colleagues consistently make rude jokes about your physical disability, your employer must take steps to stop the behavior after you report it. If your employer fails to resolve the problem, you may have a case against them.
If you have been subject to discriminatory treatment, our Naples employment law attorneys are here for you. We will listen to your story, review the available evidence, and walk you through your legal options.
Laws requiring employers to enforce anti-discrimination policies extend to sexual harassment, which legally constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex. Though women have historically faced high levels of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is important to acknowledge that people of all sexes, sexual orientations, and gender identities can experience the consequences of this misconduct.
Sexual harassment in the workplace tends to take one of two major forms:
- Hostile Work Environments. A hostile work environment results when frequent instances of sexual harassment accumulate to the point where it becomes difficult for someone to do their job. Examples of misconduct that can create a hostile work environment include unwelcome advances and inappropriate touching, jokes, or comments. Your boss is not the only one who can cause a hostile work environment, though they do have a responsibility to stop them when they start to develop or already exist. Your colleagues, independent contractors, or visitors to your workplace can all have a hand in a hostile work environment.
- Quid Pro Quos. A quid pro quo involves someone in power leveraging their authority to offer a trade, typically a sexual act for some form of advancement or advantage. If your boss asks you to do a sexual favor in exchange for a reward (or to avoid punishment), they are presenting an unlawful quid pro quo.
Employers often do not do enough to stop sexual harassment. In some cases, they may even seek to protect the perpetrator and punish the person who spoke out. If you are being treated differently at work or have even faced obvious retaliation after reporting sexual misconduct, do not wait to get in touch with our Naples employment lawyers. We will provide compassionate support and help you explore all available legal remedies.
When you hear Florida is an “at-will” employment state, you might assume your boss can fire you for any reason. It is true that your Florida employer can fire you without cause, meaning they do not necessarily need a financial or performance-related justification for your termination. However, you still have protections under the law, and your boss cannot fire you for an illegal reason.
Wrongful terminations are often:
- Discriminatory. You cannot be fired because you belong to a protected class, so your boss cannot fire you because of your age (if you are over 40), your pregnancy status, because you have a disability, or any other protected characteristic that may apply.
- Retaliatory. Your boss cannot fire you or lay you off because you participated in a “protected activity,” which is another way of saying you exercised your rights as an employee. Examples of protected activities that might result in retaliation include requesting a reasonable accommodation, “blowing the whistle” on unlawful activity, taking protected leave, and refusing to do something illegal.
Employers who engage in wrongful termination often use devious strategies to conceal their discriminatory or retaliatory intents. Wider company layoffs can mask the eliminations of employees an employer was hoping to terminate on unlawful grounds, for example.
If you have reason to believe you have been wrongfully terminated, your employer will almost certainly give you a misleading or outright false reason for your being fired or let go. Do not sign any severance agreement without first discussing your case with one of our legal professionals at Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, as doing so will most likely forfeit your ability to take legal action.
Unpaid Wages and Overtime
You should never have to worry about your boss not paying you the wages you have earned. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous employers make a bad habit of denying workers what they are owed.
If you are a non-exempt employee, you must receive 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a single workweek. There are very few exceptions to this rule, and you should not assume your boss is telling the truth if they claim you are an “exempt” employee. Your boss also cannot deny you overtime because they did not approve it, and they cannot modify your timecard to remove overtime-qualifying hours.
If you think your boss may not be paying you fairly, do not hesitate to call (239) 908-4930 or contact us online. We can help you recover unpaid wages and hold your employer accountable for wage theft.
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No Fees Until We WinWe offer Free Consultations, and work on Contingency Fees for Personal Injury cases. This means we ask for nothing from you until your injury case is concluded.
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As a member of our community, we want to put your needs first, far ahead of the bottom line. We treat our clients like people, and never just like cases.
In Practice Since 1982We at Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano have been in practice for 40 years, which means you can count on our skill, experience, and community value to help you through your case.
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