Florida employment law permits employers to dismiss an employee as they wish, as long as they do not hurt any legal provisions. However, it is not always the case, as situations involving wrongful termination are not uncanny.
In this article, you will find out how to file a lawsuit against a company in Florida for wrongful termination.
At-Will Employment vs. Employee Protection in Florida – The Basics
Florida is an “at-will” state, which means that if no contractual parameters are stating otherwise, an employer can fire an employee for whatever reason – or even no reason at all – without advance notice.
In many cases, a few employers take advantage of Florida’s “at-will” employment approach to demote employees, cutting hours, changing job duties without prior notice, or transferring employees without a case.
As long as these actions do not violate employment laws at the state and federal levels, employers can do so without being held accountable. Nevertheless, it does not mean that employers can do whatever they want.
In this sense, both state and federal legislation offer a comprehensive set of laws to protect employees.
Wrongful Termination in Florida – Understanding the Concept
In essence, “wrongful termination” is a legal term used to describe situations in which an employee was fired for an illegal reason, usually involving a breach of contract or a violation of federal anti-discrimination laws.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects US employees from discrimination based on race, color, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information.
Also, there are laws at the state level that protect workers from wrongful termination, such as:
- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Florida’s Private Whistleblower’s Act
- Florida’s Public Whistleblower’s Act
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- American Disabilities Act (ADA)
Ideally, the best approach before filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination is to have your case assessed by an expert employment attorney in Florida. This way, it is possible to determine a strategic course of action and the best arguments to utilize in court.
Wrongful Termination in Florida – Identifying Feasible Evidence
Although many workers suffer the consequences of wrongful terminations, most do not even try to seek justice in court, as they believe it will not be possible to win due to at-will employment.
As provided by the EEOC, employer harassment may incur a violation of the Civil Rights Act (1964), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).
This way, harassment becomes unlawful when an employee must endure offensive conduct as a condition to continue working at a company.
Also, it includes situations in which the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a work environment that a reasonable individual would consider intimidating (e.g., sexual harassment).
Another common reason behind wrongful terminations involves retaliation against employees that:
- Filed a discrimination charge
- Testified or participated in an investigative proceeding or lawsuit under these laws
- Opposed practices in the workplace that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals
File a Lawsuit Against a Company in Florida – Preparing the Paperwork
The first step before filing a wrongful termination lawsuit is to sit down with an expert attorney to discuss your situation. Each case is different, so it is crucial to consider all the factors involved before proceeding with litigation.
After concluding that a lawsuit is the best option, it is time to gather all necessary documentation and prepare the paperwork. This phase requires special attention, as reuniting the right documentation will strengthen a court case.
Typically, the essential documents in cases of wrongful termination include:
- Employment records
- Employment agreement(s)
- Employment handbook
- Workplace policies
- Job evaluations
- Termination notice
- Employment records
- Names of other employees who may have witnessed discrimination/retaliation
- Applicable emails
- Applicable text and/or voice messages
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida?
Generally, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful termination claim is 180 calendar days – counting from the exact occasion the discriminatory or retaliatory behavior took place.
Nevertheless, it is possible to file a lawsuit both at the state and federal level, respectively the EEOC and the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). In such cases, the plaintiff has up to 300 days to seek justice in court.
How to File a Lawsuit Against a Company in Florida for Wrongful Termination – Work with Jurado and Farshchian, P.L.
Attorney Romy B. Jurado Esq. is an expert attorney with over ten years of experience successfully defending employees in Florida. Get in touch with us today by calling (305) 921-0440 or emailing Romy@jflawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.