Although Florida is an at-will state, meaning an employer can dismiss an employee for any reason, state law prohibits wrongful termination against an employer based on harassment or discrimination of any kind. For example, state law prohibits employers firing an employee based on their age, sex, race, etc.
Hence, it is crucial for people who have been illegally fired from a job to know how to file a wrongful termination lawsuit in Florida.
In this article, you will find out a step-by-step guide to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
At-Will Employment vs. Wrongful Termination in Florida
In Florida, many employees do not know that they have the right to file a wrongful termination lawsuit if they were victims of discriminatory or retaliatory behavior from an employer.
Mostly, it happens because Florida is an at-will state, which means that an employer can fire an employee for any reason or even no reason at all.
However, if the employee is in a protected category under federal or state law, or if he/she is engaged in protected activities, the termination could be illegal.
As provided by US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employees are protected from discrimination based on race, color, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information.
The same federal law protects employees from retaliation or punishment for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit, or opposing discriminatory behavior (e.g., threatening to file a complaint).
Also, some protections prohibit other types of discrimination, both under state and federal law, including violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), violations of wage and hours law, etc.
Common Cases Involving Wrongful Termination in Florida
It is not uncanny to find situations in which circumstances would amount to employees’ illegal firing in Florida.
Unfortunately, one of the most common grounds for filing a wrongful termination lawsuit is race discrimination, which should never be tolerated in any workplace.
Another factor that creates a hostile work environment is sexual harassment. Anyone fired after feeling sexually harassed needs to immediately seek guidance with an expert employment attorney to protect their rights.
As such cases involve sensitive information, an attorney will look at all details to gather all information to prove the case in court.
Also, it is common to see employers who retaliate against an employee after they file a workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, employees fired either for filing a claim or because they were about to file a claim must seek guidance with an expert attorney as soon as possible.
Filing a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit – Gathering the Documentation
When filing a wrongful termination lawsuit, it is fundamental to gather all documentation required to prove the case in court. Working with an expert attorney can be crucial at this phase, as gathering the proper documentation can strengthen and solidify the case.
Such cases involve several important documents, including:
- Personnel files
- Employment contract(s)
- Employment handbook
- Workplace policies
- Job evaluations
- Applicable emails
- Applicable text and/or voice messages
- Memos and termination notice
- Employment records
- Names of other employees who may have witnessed discrimination/retaliation
Filing a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit – Never Delay Filing a Claim
Many employees fail to enforce their rights in court because they delay too much when filing a wrongful termination lawsuit. Indeed, labor laws are powerful to protect the workers’ rights, but they require employees to act as soon as possible.
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful termination claim is generally 180 days calendar days, counting from the date when the discriminatory/retaliatory action happened.
However, Florida employees have the chance to youfile a lawsuit both with the EEOC and the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), which gives them up to 300 days to enforce their rights.
Other statutes have even shorter times for employees to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination, which means if you have a claim, seek guidance with an expert attorney immediately.
We Can Help You to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida
The process of filing a wrongful termination lawsuit can be a time-demanding task. Indeed, it may be overwhelming to gather all the necessary documentation while paying attention to the required timeframe.