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Boca Raton Employment Law Blog

Religious discrimination the workplace is unacceptable

Individuals should not have to endure any type of mistreatment in their Florida workplaces because of their religious beliefs. There are state and federal laws that prohibit religious discrimination, but unfortunately, it still happens. If you experienced this at your work, you may feel angry, overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. While these are normal feelings, you do not have to deal with this situation alone. 

Victims of religious discrimination may not be certain that what they experienced is actually discrimination. It can be intimidating to question an employer or co-worker about his or her actions or intentions, and you may feel more comfortable just staying quiet. If what you experienced is actually discrimination you could have grounds to move forward with a civil claim against your employer.

Disability is not valid grounds for termination

Discrimination against disabled individuals comes in many different forms. Florida employees who have certain types of disabling medical conditions have the right to seek reasonable accommodations in order to do their jobs. Unless these adjustments will cause undue financial loss or cause a significant negative impact on operations, employers must provide them for the employee. One form of discrimination is termination of an employee because of his or her disability.

There are state and federal laws that protect employees from being unfairly fired from their jobs. If an employer does attempt to fire an employee, there must be clear and valid grounds to do so. Even in an at-will employment state like Florida, employers cannot fire someone for illegal or unreasonable reasons. Disability is not a valid reason to terminate someone's employment, nor is race, gender, religious practices and other reasons.

Florida whistleblower protection: Things to know

Florida workers often find themselves in situations where they believe their employment law rights have been violated. Many whistleblower stories exist where people have come forward with evidence of corporate wrongdoing or retaliation in the workplace after reporting suspicious activity. This is a complex area of law, and defending one's rights regarding whistleblower protection issues can be stressful. It is best to learn as much as possible about such laws before filing a complaint.

Whistleblowing refers to reporting illegal activity or wrongdoing of a private or public employee. Such reports typically include allegations of fraud, waste or abuse. Florida has separate laws to protect private sector employees and public sector employees. 

Workers with disabilities still face workplace discrimination

Living with a disability might have its own challenges, but maintaining employment should not have to be one. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects workers with disabilities from unfair treatment in the workplace -- or at least it is supposed to. Despite the protections afforded by the ADA, workers with disabilities in Florida still face plenty of problems at work.

Workers with hearing and vision impairments are protected at work by the ADA. However, in a list of the top types of workplace discrimination, hearing and vision discrimination rank at numbers 19 and 27, respectively. Regardless of their innate abilities to hear or see, workplaces are supposed to provide reasonable accommodations for all workers. This includes modifying things like testing, job training and website accessibility when necessary.

Employer violations may mean workers face wrongful termination

Having a job can offer many opportunities for Florida residents. It can allow them to develop skills useful to their position and to grow professionally, and it can allow them to generate an income so that they can pay for their needs and those of their families. As a result, when a person unexpectedly loses a job, it can be devastating. If the situation arises due to wrongful termination, it can seem even more harrowing.

Employers often have the ability to legally terminate a worker for various reasons. Unfortunately, wrongful termination happens to many good employees when employers violate the law. If their reasons violate the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the employer may have unjustly fired a worker.

Does your dread of going to work stem from sexual harassment?

Do you dread going to work not because you do not like your job but because of a specific co-worker, supervisor or another person associated with your employment? While it is common for people to have personality clashes with those they work with, your situation may be more than that. You may feel anxious or stressed and may even consider calling in sick some days because you do not want to deal with your workplace environment.

These feelings may stem from facing sexual harassment on the job. Perhaps a co-worker constantly makes inappropriate remarks about you or other co-workers. Another person could subject you to unwanted touching that makes you feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, a variety of actions could relate to this type of harassment at work.

Providing reasonable accommodations for disabled employees

Florida employers are responsible for respecting the rights of all employees, including those who have disabilities. Specific laws mandate that businesses provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees who may need adjustments in order to fulfill the requirements of their jobs. Inclusion is important, and accommodations are available to every type of employee who may need them, including part-time and temporary workers.

An employee has to request accommodations, indicating to the employer there is a problem with doing his or her job because of a medical condition. The employer then takes the information given by the employee and may ask for additional documentation related to the specific medical concern. The employer should then work with that individual to develop a strategy that will allow for the completion of job duties with certain types of adjustments to physical requirements.

Sexual harassment can cause significant mental health issues

State and federal laws protect Florida employees from certain types of treatment in the workplace. Despite these laws, sexual harassment can be a serious problem for many. It's much more than an inconvenience. It can actually lead to serious mental health struggles, including an increased chance of experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors. This type of harassment has also been linked to physical symptoms, like sicknesses that can cause missed days from work.

It's been understood that sexual harassment can lead to physical problems, but it's psychological impact is grave as well. A recent study found a strong connection between those who experienced unwanted sexual advances and contact at work and suicidal tendencies. These findings underscore the fact that harassment is not just bad behavior, immaturity or an unfortunate occurrence. It is actually a direct threat to a victim's mental health and even his or her life. 

Retail giant to pay fine from disability discrimination claim

Disabled individuals have certain rights in Florida workplaces, regardless of the type of workplace or job requirements. Walmart, the nationwide retail giant, recently faced legal complications over a store location's treatment of an employee with a disability. As the result of a civil claim filed against the company, Walmart will have to pay $40,000. The retail company will also have to provide additional training on disability discrimination for managers.

The lawsuit originated from an incident involving a worker who lacks part of her arm because of a congenital deformity. Her right arm ends at the elbow, but she is able to lift and do certain tasks. After she was hired by Walmart, she reported for a required test for workers hired as freight handlers. Seeing her arm, the test administrators asked if she needed assistance to complete the physical test. The worker declined help, stating that she was able to perform the test on her own.

Workplace sexual harassment a problem in Hollywood

Despite the prevalence of the Me Too movement in Hollywood, there is still sufficient reason to believe that inappropriate treatment remains a serious problem in the entertainment industry. A recent study found that one in five women who work in this field have experienced sexual harassment in some manner over the course of their careers. One in 20 also said they'd experienced harassment or a sexual assault at work at some point within the last 12 months.

This specific study asked questions of more than 5,000 women who worked in various jobs in the entertainment industry. Around half of them claim they've experienced some type of unwanted sexual attention at work, while around 1,000 of these women say they've experienced sexual coercion while at work. Sexual harassment is a problem for many Florida employees, but it is a problem even in an industry that led a national conversation on the issue through the Me Too movement.

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