Although Florida is an “at-will” state, state law does not permit employers to fire employees based on harassment or discriminatory behavior.
In this context, many people who are fired illegally do not know how to proceed after the termination, as they do not know the right direction to follow.
In this article, you will find out how long an employee has to file a wrongful termination lawsuit in Florida.
Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida – As Provided by Law
The agency responsible for enforcing federal laws against wrongful termination is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Accordingly, the EEOC provides it is illegal to discriminate against an employee due to the person’s:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- National origin
- Age (40 or older)
- Genetic information
Additionally, there are several laws in Florida to protect employees from being fired illegally, 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)
Common Cases Involving Wrongful Termination in Florida
Unfortunately, many employees in Florida do not know about their right to file a wrongful termination lawsuit if they happened to be victims of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation at their workplace.
While the state government is still expanding further in terms of employee protection, it is not uncanny to find situations involving illegal firing in Florida. For instance, 6858 charges involving wrongful termination were filed in Florida in 2017, which corresponds to 8.10% of the total national charges.
Currently, factors like race discrimination, sexual harassment, national origin discrimination, religious discrimination, and retaliatory behavior are the most common grounds for filing a wrongful termination lawsuit.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida? – An Overview
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the general rule is that a plaintiff in a case of wrongful termination has 180 calendar days to file a lawsuit – counting from the date when the misconduct occurred.
Nevertheless, if the plaintiff decides to file a dual complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) and the EEOC, the statute of limitations for a wrongful termination lawsuit increases to 300 days (again, counting from the date the misconduct took place).
It is worth noting that the FCHR’s role is to enforce state legislation against discriminatory behavior. Thus, the agency has a “work-sharing agreement” with the EEOC, as both entities cooperate when processing claims.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida? – In Detail
Individuals who have a wrongful lawsuit claim in Florida must either file directly with the FCHR or cross-file with the EEOC. To ensure a timely strategy, they should do so within one year, counting from the date the discrimination/retaliation happened.
Regardless, the best approach is filing a lawsuit both at the state and federal levels, making sure to file the charge before the 300-day deadline.
In this sense, the guidance of an expert attorney is fundamental to ensure a positive outcome in the process. When drafting the initial petition, the lawyer must specify to either the EEOC or the FCHR if there is an intention to cross-file the claim in both agencies.
Typically, cross-filing is a good strategy, especially considering agencies at different levels have distinct administrative procedures.
Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida – Specific Situations
Cases Involving Age Discrimination
In Florida, there are laws prohibiting age discrimination in employment and a specific agency to enforce that law. In such a case, the filing deadline for victims of age discrimination is extended up to 300 days with the EEOC.
Also, it is possible to dual file a claim if the victim is covered under both state and federal laws.
Individuals involved in cases of employers with less than 20 employees may file with the FCHR. It happens because EEOC laws cover most employers with at least 15 employees, but in cases of age discrimination, it covers employers with at least 20 employees.
Cases Involving Federal Employees
Federal employees have to follow a different procedure when filing for a wrongful termination lawsuit. Generally, they have a 45-day deadline to contact the EEOC, but it is possible to extend the threshold in specific cases.
We Can Help You to Enforce Your Rights Against Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida
Attorney Romy B. Jurado Esq. is an expert attorney with over a decade of experience in unlawful termination cases. Waste no time with uncertainty. Contact us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.