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Boca Raton Employment Law Blog

Injured workers can pursue compensation without penalty

Workers in Florida who are penalized for engaging in a protected activity could be victims of employer retaliation. Retaliation can happen after an individual files a workers' compensation claim, and there are many different forms of retaliation. For example, a person could be fired or demoted for filing a workers' compensation claim or asking about filing a claim. Other forms of retaliation include a pay cut or negative information added to an employee file.

It is possible that an employer took such action for a legitimate reason. Therefore, it is important to consider all the facts before making a retaliation claim. Individuals should consider whether other employees were terminated, demoted or had their pay cut despite not seeking benefits. In some cases, employees could have deserved a poor performance review or a written warning added to their files.

Survey finds sexual harassment to be relatively common

Employers in Florida and throughout the country are generally required to provide workplaces that are free from sexual and other types of harassment. However, a study conducted by Pan Atlantic Research of Portland found that this isn't necessarily the case for individuals living in Maine. Of those who responded, 21.9% of men and 23.4% of women said that they had seen sexual harassment take place at work. Furthermore, 57.6% of female respondents said that they had been victims of such harassment themselves.

This was roughly three times the number of male respondents who said that they had experienced sexual harassment themselves. The study also found that both workers and employers feel the same about the potential consequences of reporting harassment in the workplace. Nearly half of employers said that reporting sexual harassment at work could threaten a person's career. Among workers who took part in the survey, 63.8% said that reporting harassment put their jobs at risk.

Advocates urge Supreme Court to protect LGBTQ worker rights

Some of the largest corporations in Florida and the rest of the nation are urging the Supreme Court to rule that civil rights laws protect employees against discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity. These companies, in conjunction with several LGBTQ advocacy groups, submitted a brief to the court to support their argument. They hope to influence several civil rights cases coming up in October 2019.

During the Obama administration, federal courts were directed to protect the rights of LGBTQ workers under provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA). The Trump Administration, however, reversed course by claiming that the CRA was not intended to protect the rights of workers who were gay or transgender. Advocates are urging the Supreme Court to set a precedent that protects LGBTQ worker rights for good.

Over 200 companies urge Supreme Court to favor LGBT rights

Upcoming decisions from the Supreme Court of the United States could have an impact on how businesses in Florida treat LGBT workers. Among major corporations, support has been growing to interpret Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as inclusive of LGBT people. In a friend-of-the-court brief signed by 206 companies, business leaders urged the high court to recognize discrimination against LGBT people as a type of unlawful sex discrimination.

The brief declared that an unfavorable ruling against this class of people would hurt businesses and workers. Across the country, legal protections vary and leave many workers vulnerable to mistreatment at work. Inconsistent protection restricts companies' ability to attract talented workers from diverse backgrounds.

How to respond to disability discrimination

Having a disability should not limit your right to work in a fair environment. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees with disabilities from discrimination. It also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations.

Unfortunately, you may still face disability discrimination, even though it is illegal. Here is some general guidance on how to respond to discrimination and bring a claim against your employer. 

Black women experience more workplace sexual harassment

Black women in Florida and across the U.S. are more likely to be subjected to and report workplace sexual harassment than white women, according to a new study. The study was recently published in the journal Gender, Work and Organization.

Researchers analyzed sexual harassment complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 1997 and 2016. They found that overall sexual harassment complaints by female workers fell by around 40% over the 20-year period, but the decrease varied significantly among different races. For example, sexual harassment complaints by white women dropped from 16,000 in 1997 to 9,600 in 2016, which represents a 70% decrease. However, complaints from black women dropped only 38% over the same period of time. In addition, the study found that black women were 3.4 times more likely to report sexual harassment than white women in 2016, which is up from 1.7 times more likely in 1997.

Vascular surgeons are victims of workplace sexual haassment

According to survey results presented at a Society for Vascular Surgery Vascular Annual Meeting, more than 40% of vascular surgeons reported experiencing sexual harassment at the workplace. The anonymous survey asked surgeons from health care facilities and training sites in Florida and other states whether they had experienced harassment of various forms. Nearly one in three of the respondents said they thought harassment was common in surgical specialties.

The most common types of harassment, according to the results of the survey, were unwanted sexually explicit comments, unwanted flirtation and being called a sexist slur or nickname. Victims were about three times more likely to be women than men. While 84% of respondents answered that their employer had a path for reporting harassment, less than 10% of incidents were actually reported.

Supreme Court removes barrier for workplace discrimination cases

Workers experiencing discrimination in Florida need not file complaints first with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prior to suing employers in federal court. In a rare unanimous decision from the Supreme Court of the United States, the justices ruled that the requirement in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that compels people to complain first to the EEOC, or its equivalent state agency, did not automatically force federal courts to dismiss workplace discrimination cases that had not first sought relief through the EEOC.

Employers, however, retain the power to request that a court dismiss a case if they alert a court in a timely manner that the plaintiff did not inform the EEOC. An employer that waits too long to raise the issue could miss the chance to have a case dismissed for failure to take the problem to the EEOC.

4 industries that have a sexual harassment problem

Like most of your neighbors in Boca Raton, you must work to provide for yourself and your family. You may also derive both pleasure and confidence from your job. If you face sexual harassment at work, though, your otherwise enjoyable job may turn into a nightmare

While sexual harassment can happen in any job and in any industry, it is more common in certain sectors. If you work in one of the following industries, you may have an increased risk of experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace: 

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