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Florida is an “at-will” state. As long as the reason for termination is not illegal, “at-will” employment permits employers to fire an employee for any reason and without warning – even if there is no specific reason to dismiss an employee. 

However, dismissing an employee for the wrong reason may result in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Keep reading to find out what constitutes wrongful termination in Florida. 

Wrongful Termination in Florida – Understanding the Concept 

Florida’s at-will approach to employment often discourages individuals who have been wrongfully terminated from seeking justice in court.  

Many people assume that the law exclusively protects employers, which is not true. While employers are free to terminate employees at will within state jurisdiction, they are prohibited from doing it for illegal reasons.  

Wrongful termination is the subject of laws at the federal, state, and local levels to protect employees from termination based on specific characteristics.  

As provided by Title VII (Section 703) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “it shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer 

To fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, or 

To limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” 

What Constitutes Wrongful Termination in Florida? – Taking a Closer Look  

Discrimination  

In Florida, it is illegal to terminate an employee based on race, age, sex, pregnancy, national origin, marital status, color, religion, or disability. Filing a lawsuit based on wrongful termination for discrimination has specific requirements, which require the guidance of an experienced Florida attorney. 

Retaliation for Reporting, or Objecting to Discrimination  

No employee in Florida can be fired in retaliation for reporting or objecting to discrimination, which includes sexual harassment, or any harassment based on race, age, sex, pregnancy, national origin, marital status, color, religion, or disability. 

Employees who refuse or object to participating in discrimination, harassment, or any illegal activity may not be terminated in relation. Depending on the case’s circumstances, an employee may be protected as a whistleblower under the Florida Whistleblower’s Act. 

Also, no employee may be terminated for testifying against the employer or in any court case where subpoenaed.  

Employee Leave  

Florida employees have protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act claim. If an employee has worked at least twelve months (consecutive or non-consecutive) and the employer has 50 or more employees, he or she may not be terminated for leaving due to: 

  • Bereavement 
  • Sickness 
  • Disability, or  
  • A serious medical condition of a family member 

Worker’s Rights  

No employee can be terminated for making a workers’ compensation claim, objecting to not being paid, or to improper classification of the individual as an exempt employee not entitled to overtime. 

Breach of Contract 

If there is a contract signed between the employer and an employee stating that he or she can only be terminated for cause, terminating the employee earlier or without a cause is illegal.  

Depending on the specific case, the employee may be entitled to be paid for the entire length of the contract.  

Do You Think You Have a Case of Wrongful Termination in Florida? – Immediately Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado 

With years of experience helping employees protect their rights, Attorney Romy B. Jurado is willing to help you. Get in touch with us by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation. 

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