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December 28, 2023 | BusinessEmploymentFlorida

Can You Sue for Wrongful Termination in Florida?

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Joseph Ford

Client and Marketing Coordinator

Terminating a worker’s employment in Florida creates the potential for a wide array of complex legal issues.  Navigating these complexities requires a keen understanding of applicable laws and regulations at both state and federal levels.  A thorough understanding of the relevant legal landscape is vital for employees facing unjust dismissal to protect their rights and explore potential legal recourse.

What Constitutes Wrongful Termination in Florida?

In Florida, most employment is on an at-will basis, which allows employers and employees to terminate employment at their discretion for any permissible reason.  Determining what is a permissible reason, however, requires the evaluation of both state and federal labor and anti-discrimination regulations. Wrongful termination in Florida stems from various circumstances, including, for example:

  • Violations of state and federal employment laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which mandates minimum wage and overtime pay, can form the basis for claims against employers attempting to evade compliance.
  • Discrimination, with both federal and state laws prohibiting termination based on an employee’s race, sex, religion, and disability, which are legally protected classes.
  • Retaliation, which can occur when employees engage in protected activities, like participating in an investigation or resisting discriminatory orders.
  • Breach of contract, especially when employment contracts specify conditions for dismissal.
  • A violation of public policy, such as firing an employee for refusing illegal activities, can also warrant legal action.

Skilled legal representation is crucial to determine applicability of these grounds in order to protect employee rights and explore potential legal recourse.

What Evidence Do You Need To File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit?

To build a strong case for a wrongful termination suit in Florida, gathering comprehensive evidence is crucial. This includes collecting:

  • Offer letters and/or Employment Agreements
  • Employment records and policies
  • Pay stubs
  • Relevant emails, text messages and voice memos
  • Employee reviews
  • Witness lists
  • A personal accounts of events

Consulting with an attorney experienced in employment law can help determine the most effective evidence to support your case.

How To File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Once evidence is gathered and there is a legal basis to assert a claim, a potential next step is to file a complaint with the appropriate government organization. This may be either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (E.E.O.C.) or the Florida Commission on Human Relations (F.C.H.R.).

Timing is crucial, as you have 300 days from the date of the alleged violation to file with the E.E.O.C. and 365 days for the F.C.H.R. After filing, an investigation will take place, and if a violation is found, efforts will be made to negotiate a settlement. If unsuccessful, the agency will issue a notice of right to sue, allowing you to proceed with a lawsuit against the employer in court. This legal process involves various stages, from pretrial evaluations to a final court decision that may grant remedies such as job reinstatement, emotional distress damages, lost wages, and more if the case favors the employee.

Conclusion

Losing your job can be a challenging experience, especially if the dismissal is unjust. If you suspect wrongful termination, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney who can assist you in understanding the relevant legal issues and safeguard your rights.

 

 

Photo attached. Credit: Photo by Jose Garcia on Unsplash

 

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