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Employment Law - Jones Law Group

St. Petersburg Labor and Employment Attorneys

Let Us Help You with Your Labor or Employment Issue.

At Jones Law Group, we are experienced in handling a variety of civil litigation cases involving unfair labor practices against employees. We aggressively represent our clients in various employment dispute matters, including:

  • Wrongful termination
  • Discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, or any other protected class
  • Harassment, including sexual harassment and unfairly hostile work environments
  • Unfair labor practices such as denial of wages, overtime, tip pooling, or equal pay
  • Unpaid wages and overtime
  • Misclassification of employment type
  • Retaliation for whistleblowing or harassment reporting
  • Denial of leave, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Americans with Disability Act claims

Workplaces should be safe places for employees. Unfortunately, some workers are subjected to unfair and illegal conditions by their employers. Some workers may not be aware of their rights in the workplace or may be afraid to speak out against their employer out of fear of retaliation. On top of undue stress, labor violations can cause wage and benefit losses, missed opportunities for advancement, and general anxiety or panic similar to PTSD.

Our attorneys possess the knowledge, dedication, and experience required to represent workers in a wide range of labor disputes. Jones Law Group has been recognized for filing more labor and employment cases than any other firm. If you believe you may have been the victim of unfair or illegal treatment in the workplace, contact us by completing our free case evaluation form.

What Constitutes Wrongful Termination?

Employers sometimes let go employees for unfair or illegal reasons. This is referred to as wrongful termination.

There are many scenarios that may be grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit, including:

  • Firing an employee out of retaliation
  • Discrimination
  • Firing a whistleblower
  • Firing an employee because they won’t do something illegal for their employer

If you believe you or someone you know was fired without proper cause or because of an unfair or illegal reason, Jones Law Group may be able to help you. Our labor and employment attorneys can review the details of your case to determine if you should proceed with litigation to recover back pay, unpaid wages, and other forms of compensation.

What Are the Most Common Forms of Workplace Discrimination?

In Florida and across the country, your employer cannot discriminate based upon age, sex, disability, religion, genetic information, or other protected reasons. Many times the employee is unaware of what behaviors constitute harassment. However, if your workplace is hostile and unequal, where some workers are treated more favorably than others, you may be experiencing workplace discrimination.

There are various forms of workplace discrimination, and can include:

  • Refusing to hire someone because of the color of their skin
  • Passing over a qualified female employee for a promotion in favor of a male employee with less experience
  • Providing unequal training opportunities for employees of different religious backgrounds
  • Imposing job requirement criteria that deliberately screens out people with disabilities
  • Firing someone because of a category that is protected by law

What Are Some Examples of Workplace Harassment?

When workers are subjected to unwanted or inappropriate sexual activity in the workplace that creates a feeling of dread in going to work, it can be considered workplace harassment. Similar to workplace discrimination, workplace harassment creates a hostile and abusive work environment that can cause serious damage to an individual’s professional career, earning potential, and family finances.

Examples of workplace harassment include:

  • Unwanted talking about sexual activity
  • Inappropriate vulgar or sexual jokes to a coworker
  • Unwanted touching
  • Unwanted commenting on a worker’s appearance or body
  • The display of vulgar or lewd pictures
  • Improper nicknames, slurs, or racial epithets
  • Indecent behavior or actions
  • Making prejudicial statements about a worker’s sexual orientation, birthplace, or family heritage
  • Making negative comments or indecent jokes about an employee’s age or religious beliefs
  • Trading promotions or favors for sexual activity

Workplace harassment can also take on a form of this-for-that harassment. This means that the harassment is built on an exchange of an employee’s status, hours worked, pay, or job title. Within this scenario, an employee may be forced to tolerate sexual harassment to avoid being overlooked for a promotion or pay raise.

Which Industries Have the Most Overtime & Minimum Wage Violations?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets certain rights for workers, including the federal minimum wage and the right to overtime pay for all hours worked in a workweek over the 40-hour period for certain employees.

Despite protections in place for workers, some employers try cutting costs by not paying their workers their rightful pay. This is called wage theft and can include examples such as:

  • Paying an employee less than the federal minimum wage
  • Not paying overtime pay for hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek
  • Making an employee clock out and stay at the business during slow periods
  • Shaving hours by removing small portions of time worked each day
  • Forcing tipped workers to pool their tips with non-tipped workers, such as managers or cooks
  • Paying tipped employees below minimum wage for activities not directly related to their tipped position
  • Forcing workers to pay necessary expenses to complete their work that employer should be paying
  • Misclassifying a worker that should be paid overtime as “exempt” by promoting them to a “managerial” position to avoid paying overtime without updating that employee’s job duties or pay

Some of the most vulnerable occupations to overtime and minimum wage violations include:

  • IT workers
  • Service technicians
  • Installers
  • Sales representatives
  • Nurses and healthcare workers
  • Tipped employees
  • Oil and gas field workers
  • Call center workers
  • Personal bankers, mortgage brokers, and AMLs
  • Retail employees
  • Exotic dancers
  • FedEx drivers
  • Disaster relief workers
  • Pizza delivery drivers

Employers who fail to properly pay their employees face stiff penalties under the Fair Labor Standards Act. First, the employer must pay the employee for all hours worked. Second, the employer can be ordered to pay liquidated damages in the same amount as the penalty. Finally, the employer who fails to properly pay wages or overtime will be ordered to pay the employee’s attorneys’ fees.

If you feel that your employer has not properly paid your wages or overtime, please contact Jones Law Group to schedule a free consultation.

What Is Employee Misclassification?

There are a number of differences between employees and self-employed workers, who are sometimes known as independent contractors or consultants. Unlike employees, independent contractors generally work on a short-term contract basis with a business and must invoice their employer for their work. Independent contractors are not entitled to employee benefits such as health insurance, medical leave, and so on. They must also withhold and file their own taxes.

However, some employers have misclassified actual employees as contractors to save money. This is most commonly seen among workers in a “gig economy” industry, such as rideshare drivers and delivery drivers.

Some examples of misclassifications include:

  • Misclassifying a worker to avoid providing them with health insurance benefits
  • Misclassifying employees to avoid paying them at least the minimum wage
  • Misclassifying an employee so as to not need to comply with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission laws that prevent workplace discrimination

How Is Defamation of Character Defined?

Defamation is generally defined as actions that damage a person’s reputation in speech or in writing. When defamation happens in a workplace, it can potentially damage team morale, alienate certain employees, and even cause long-term harm to a person’s career potential.

When harmful gossip and defamation happen in the workplace, it is an employers responsibility to put a stop to it. Workplace defamation may include instances such as:

  • An employer making harmful and unfounded allegations about or toward an employee, such as claims of theft or incompetence during a performance review
  • An employee spreading a harmful rumor about a coworker, causing them to be turned down for a promotion or else a job elsewhere
  • An employee spreading gossip about a coworker causing other coworkers to avoid them, which affects workplace morale and a worker’s ability to complete their job

What Is Considered Employer Retaliation?

If an employee lodges a complaint or files a lawsuit against their employer, their employer cannot respond in retaliation. Workers are legally protected against retaliation. However, this won’t necessarily stop some employers from punishing an employee who filed a complaint. Some common forms of employer retaliation include:

  • Reducing an employee’s pay
  • Demoting an employee
  • Re-assigning an employee to a less-desirable position
  • Re-assigning an employee to a shift that creates a work-family conflict
  • Excluding an employee from essential workplace activities such as training sessions

Why Should I Contact Jones Law Group?

The employment and labor lawyers at Jones Law Group have successfully handled countless labor and employment claims for individuals needing representation against companies. We understand that after experiencing workplace harassment or discrimination, it can be hard to pursue justice against the perpetrator.

In addition to the many labor and employment claims we’ve represented, we also have experience representing employees in front of agencies such as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Labor (DOL), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

If you or someone you know has been affected by workplace harassment or discrimination, do not hesitate to contact our office. We can be reached by calling 727-571-1333, by filling out our online contact form, or by using our Chat feature below.