Florida workers have rights under state and federal laws established to protect employees from discrimination, wage theft, wrongful termination, and other mistreatment in the workplace. But because abused employees must rely on the government to resolve complaints of unfair and unsafe conduct in their work environment, they may feel powerless to stop it.
But you can use the power of the law to your advantage when you have an experienced Tallahassee employee rights attorney by your side. The attorneys of Cruz Law Firm, P.A., focus solely on protecting employees’ rights in Florida, including pursuing compensation for wrongful treatment you have suffered.
If your employer is treating you unfairly based on your race, gender, age, disability, or another protected characteristic or is failing to provide a safe workplace, Cruz Law Firm can help. We can help you take legal action against your employer to obtain corrective action as well as compensation for damages you have suffered.
Contact us today in Tallahassee for a free and confidential legal consultation. We’ll fight to protect your rights.
Meet Our Team
The Cruz Law Firm is known across the Florida Panhandle for our strong advocacy on behalf of workers who have sexual harassment, wrongful termination, whistleblower, or employment discrimination claims. Our experienced lawyers understand how complex state and federal employment laws apply to workers like you. When you bring your workplace claim to Cruz Law Firm, we will help you understand your rights, stand up for your interests, and hold employers accountable.
Firm owner Tiffany R. Cruz has represented workers across Florida in federal and state court and before administrative tribunals. She pursues claims pertaining to all aspects of employment law with a focus on sexual harassment cases, whistleblower claims, negotiation of severance agreements, employment contracts, and resolving disputes concerning non-compete agreements.
Associate attorney Kevin C. Kostelnik focuses his practice on labor and employment and civil rights litigation. He assists employees as they face predetermination hearings, internal investigations, and government agency inspector general investigations. Mr. Kostelnik also lectures and publishes articles statewide on labor and employment, civil rights, and civil litigation issues.
Employee Rights in Florida
Be free from harassment or discrimination because of their:
- Sex, including sexual orientation, pregnancy, or gender identity
- National origin
- Age (40 or older)
- Genetic information, including family medical history.
- Receive equal pay for equal work.
- Receive reasonable accommodations that are needed because of their medical condition or religious beliefs.
- Expect that any medical information or genetic information they share with their employers will be kept confidential.
- Report discrimination, participate in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit, or oppose discrimination without being retaliated against for doing so.
The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects the employment rights of current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces. It forbids employers from discriminating against current or former military personnel with regard to hiring, firing, re-employment, promotion, or benefits. USERRA also requires employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate a veteran’s disability.
Overview on Florida Employment Rights
In addition to the protected characteristics under federal law above, Florida prohibits discrimination against any individual based on the following:
- Marital status
- Having or being perceived to have acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Having the sickle-cell trait.
- Wages & Overtime. Florida requires a higher minimum wage than federal law does. Florida’s minimum wage will increase by $1 each year until it reaches $15. Afterward, it will be adjusted to inflation each year. Florida follows the overtime rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), requiring payment of one and one-half of an employee’s regular pay rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a regular work week.
- Florida Whistleblower Laws. Florida employers may not take adverse employment action against an employee who has:
- Disclosed or threatened to disclose to any government agency an activity, policy, or practice of the employer that violates a law, provided that the employee first brought the activity, policy, or practice to the attention of a supervisor and gave the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct it.
- Provided information or testimony in connection with any investigation or inquiry into an alleged violation of a law, rule, or regulation by the employer.
- Objected to or refused to participate in any activity or practice of the employer that violates a law, rule, or regulation.
- Workers’ Compensation. Most employers conducting business in Florida are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. In the construction industry, employers with one or more employees, including the owner of the business, who are corporate officers or Limited Liability Company (LLC) members, must provide workers’ compensation coverage. Employers in non-construction businesses who have four or more employees, including business owners who are corporate officers or LLC members, must provide workers’ compensation coverage. In the agricultural industry, employers with six regular employees and/or 12 seasonal workers who work more than 30 days during a season but no more than a total of 45 days in a calendar year must provide workers’ compensation coverage.
- Wrongful Termination. Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired based on one or more protected characteristics, such as age, race, sex, national origin, disability, gender, or pregnancy. Wrongful termination can also occur when an employee is constructively discharged — meaning they have resigned because of discrimination or harassment that created working conditions so hostile that no reasonable person could endure it.
- Right to Work & Union Membership. Florida is a right-to-work or “at-will” employment state. An employee is free to leave their job at any time, for any reason, with or without notice. Similarly, an employer can terminate employment at any time, for any reason, as long as it is not an illegal reason, such as discrimination. Right to work also means an employer can change the terms of employment, such as wages or benefits, with no notice, as long as the change isn’t illegal. Because Florida is a right-to-work employment state, employment contracts and union memberships are legal but not common.
The Role of the Florida Commission on Human Relations
The Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) enforces the Florida Civil Rights Act and addresses discrimination issues. The agency investigates complaints of employee rights violations and tries to mediate settlements, such as requiring an employer in violation of the law to commit to change and to pay damages to the injured individual.
If mediation fails, but the commission has found cause for the complaint, the agency will issue a Notice of Right to Sue. This gives the injured employee 90 days to file a lawsuit against their employer, which may demand compensation or other relief, such as reinstatement to a job.
Types of Employee Rights Cases We Handle
Our attorneys handle the toughest employment law and workplace rights issues. Contact the Cruz Law Firm for experienced legal help with:
- Employment Discrimination. We can help file a discrimination complaint against your employer with the Florida Commission on Human Relations or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and represent you before these agencies. If a federal lawsuit is necessary to achieve justice, we can help you seek compensation and other damages you are due.
- Sexual Harassment. We will stand with you and help you fight back if you have been subjected to a hostile work environment or quid pro quo coercion based on your gender, sexual identity, or sexual orientation. We will demand justice for you, including maximum compensation for the senseless abuse you have been put through.
- Wrongful Termination. Numerous state and federal laws protect workers from wrongful termination of employment. We can help you recover compensation for your financial losses as well as other legal relief if your employer has terminated you in violation of state or federal law.
- Family Leave Discrimination. There are several ways for an employer to violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), including denying a valid request for leave, withholding benefits during family medical leave or upon an employee’s return to work, failing to reinstate an employee to their position or offering substantially similar work after leave. Let us help if you have been denied your full FMLA rights.
- Unpaid Wages. If your employer is not paying you as the law requires, an unpaid wages lawsuit may lead to recovery of compensation you are owed plus the same amount again in liquidated damages, as well as reasonable attorney’s fees and legal expenses. A class action lawsuit may hold an employer accountable who has mistreated an entire workforce.
- Retaliation. You should be allowed to assert your rights in the workplace without fear of retaliation. If you have been punished for legally protected acts, such as reporting unsafe work conditions, reporting unlawful conduct or discrimination, or cooperating with an investigation, we can help you seek compensation and/or other legal relief.
- Whistleblower Protection. Employees should feel protected and encouraged to come forward if they know of legal or regulatory violations, gross mismanagement, abuse of authority, or other malfeasance by their employer. We’ll protect your rights, including your right to continued employment without retaliation and to seek compensation that may be available as damages or as your share of recovered taxpayer money.
Talk to a Lawyer Dedicated to Employees’ Rights in Florida
Multiple state and federal laws are in place to stop employers from mistreating their workers. The Cruz Law Firm can help you navigate the complexities of employment law and demand justice from an employer who has violated your rights. You may be owed substantial compensation for employee rights violations you have suffered. We can help you seek it.
At Cruz Law Firm, we are committed to providing each client with effective legal representation and personalized service, no matter how complicated their case is. Our attorneys represent hard-working employees in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and across the Florida Panhandle. Contact a Tallahassee employee rights attorney with our law firm today.