If you are in the middle of a workplace dispute, our Ocala employment lawyers at Bogin, Munns & Munns can help you whether you are an employee or have a management position. We can advocate for you in mediation, arbitration, a formal or informal dispute, litigation in state or federal court, or before an administrative agency.
We are happy to meet with you at our Ocala, Florida office or any of our other locations around Florida. We understand that when you face an employment law concern, the situation can be stressful. We want to make things as convenient for you as possible.
Whether you are a former employee who feels you were terminated wrongfully or an employer facing those allegations, we can investigate your situation and provide guidance and advocacy. Both state and federal employment laws can be relevant.
Because the Florida legislature and Congress write and amend employment laws every year, the “playbook” is constantly changing. It can be challenging for an employer or an employee to stay on top of the most current regulations.
An Ocala employment lawyer with our firm can help you stay up to date, in compliance, and familiar with your rights and responsibilities.
What Constitutes Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination can happen when:
- An individual with an employment contract gets terminated for a reason not permitted by the agreement
- An employer violates a collective bargaining agreement when firing a worker
- An employer terminates an employee for an impermissible reason, like illegal discrimination
An alleged wrongful termination can delve into different but related legal concepts, like a breach of contract, harassment, retaliation, and discrimination.
Forms of Compensation You Could Receive in a Wrongful Termination Case
If your employer wrongfully terminated you, you could seek multiple forms of compensation, such as:
- Lost wages: If you lose your job and cannot earn your regular wages until you secure new employment, you could seek compensation for those losses.
- Intangible damages: Your compensation could reflect the emotional suffering that comes with losing a job and the strain of career challenges.
You could be eligible for other forms of compensation not listed here. Our attorneys can explain what damages you could seek.
What to Do if You Suspect You Were Wrongfully Terminated
There are several steps you can take for your case when you believe you could have been terminated wrongfully. Consider the following:
- Be careful before signing any documents. Your employer may ask you to sign certain documents related to your termination and severance package, such as a release agreement. You may want to review these documents with a lawyer from our team before you sign them. If you sign a waiver unknowingly, you could be waiving your right to hold your employer accountable for wrongful termination.
- Review your employment contract. If your employer made any provisions in your contract related to termination, be sure to familiarize yourself with these provisions.
- Seek a severance. Your contract may dictate that you are eligible for a severance package. If so, review this element of your contract and begin the process of negotiating a severance.
- Save evidence related to your employment. You may have exchanged emails with your boss regarding your position, performance, or termination. Hang onto these messages. Keep any documents that could be used as evidence in your case.
- Collect statements from colleagues. If your coworkers may have witnessed any conversations or actions related to your termination, get statements from them. This could become useful evidence in your case.
- Get a statement regarding your termination. Inquire about why you were terminated. Contact your HR department or another relevant person at your company.
- Get a case review. At Bogin, Munns & Munns, we offer case reviews so you can learn your legal options. If you choose to hire us, a lawyer from our team can review your contract, gather crucial evidence, and seek damages on your behalf.
To consult with an experienced employment lawyer serving Ocala, call 855-780-9986
Violation of Wage and Hour Laws
If you allege that your boss broke the law that covers wages and hours, you might have grounds for legal action.
For example, if you have a job that qualifies for the state minimum wage, and your employer pays you less than the $10 per hour minimum as of 2022 (per the United States Department of Labor), your boss could be in violation of Florida’s wage and hour laws.
When violations of this kind are widespread, the situation could give rise to a class- action lawsuit. We can advocate for our client or clients in class-action litigation.
What Else Constitutes a Breach of Wage and Hour Laws?
A variety of violations could constitute a breach of your rights based on state or federal wage and hour laws, including:
- Unpaid overtime: According to the Department of Labor (DOL), you could be eligible to receive overtime pay if you work more than 40-hour workweeks. If your employer fails to offer you overtime pay, you could make a claim.
- Incorrect overtime compensation: Similarly, if your employer miscalculates your overtime rate, this could also constitute a violation of your rights. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you should receive 1.5 times your normal hourly wage for any time you work over 40 hours.
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Trying to Resolve the Issue Before Taking Legal Action
Many employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements require the parties to try to resolve their disputes out of court before filing a lawsuit.
Arbitration and mediation are two of the common methods of alternative dispute resolution.
In arbitration, both sides present and argue their cases at a hearing to someone who will rule on the outcome. Arbitrations typically take place in conference rooms or other non-courtroom settings.
The arbitrator might be a retired judge but does not have the authority of an actual judge. The contract will determine whether the arbitrator’s decision will be binding or non-binding.
Mediation is a less formal method of alternative dispute resolution. A third party will serve as the mediator. The goal of mediation is to help the parties resolve as many conflict points as possible. The mediator does not render a decision as to the outcome of the matter. Mediation tends to be less adversarial and more cooperative than arbitration.
We can help our clients prepare for and participate in either mediation or arbitration proceedings. If the alternative dispute attempt does not succeed in settling the matter, we can advocate for the client in the next step. This step could involve litigation before an administrative agency or in a court.
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How State and Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws Apply to Employment Law
Under both Florida and federal laws, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee or job applicant based on:
- Age (typically 40 years or older)
- Race, color, or national origin
- Marital status
In addition, our state laws ban workplace or employment discrimination based on sickle cell trait or AIDS/HIV. It is a violation of federal law for employers to discriminate based on genetic information, veteran status, or citizenship status.
An adverse employment decision based on any of those items is illegal workplace discrimination. Examples of adverse employment decisions can include firing, demoting, disciplining, or deciding not to hire or promote an employee.
Disabilities in the Workplace
An employer or state or local government subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) might discriminate against a qualified applicant because of a physical or mental limitation. This situation could amount to illegal discrimination.
Family and Medical Leave
When an employee needs to take time away from work, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can provide some protections when that worker wants to return to the job. The FMLA does not apply to every employee or employer.
Only employers with at least 50 workers are subject to the terms of the FMLA. An employee cannot invoke the protection of the FMLA until after the individual works for the employer for at least one year, with at least a minimum number of hours in the year right before requesting leave.
Other Common Forms of Leave
Some of the more common reasons for taking family and medical leave include:
- Adopting a child
- Caring for a sick family member
- Other covered family reasons
- Specific medical reasons of the employee
Military service members and their families have additional protections under the FMLA for reasons related to military service duties.
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Defending Employers in Workplace Disputes
An employer could exercise the best practices and still get hit with claims of employment-related violations. An Ocala employment lawyer with Bogin, Munns & Munns can talk to you and investigate the situation. We can help build a case and advocate on your behalf.
The employer isn’t always in the wrong. As such, the laws change constantly, and sometimes an employee will file a frivolous lawsuit hoping to get a quick settlement.
A competitor could even encourage some employees to drag an employer’s name through litigation as a nuisance and tarnish the goodwill and reputation they worked so hard to build. We can guide you through the litigation process and help you develop a strategy to minimize negative publicity.
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If someone at your company made a mistake, we can help you do damage control and help you resolve or defend against the claim. Also, we can offer advice on how to avoid future claims. If you are an employee, we can help you protect your rights, help you bring a wrongful termination case, and more.