Employment discrimination in the workplace in Miami is illegal and should never be tolerated. It is when an employer/CEO, fellow employee, supervisor/manager, or non-employee such as a customer or vendor harasses or unfairly treats and employee or job applicant based on the individual’s religion, race, color, national origin, military status, citizenship status, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identification, sex, age, pregnancy, genetic information, or any other issues that may be considered a protected class. For the past 25 years, the Derek Smith Law Group has worked with victims of employment discrimination in Miami to get the justice they so rightly deserve.
What is Employment Discrimination in Miami?
Employment discrimination is when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by an employer/CEO, fellow employee or co-worker, supervisor or manager, or non-employee because of he or she is a member of a protected class. A protected class, as defined by law, is a group of people in any of the following categories:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the most common federal law addressing most areas of employment discrimination. This law protects all employees and job applicants from being subject to employment discrimination from any person in the workplace, no matter their status or title.
However, many other federal laws make different categories of employment discrimination illegal, such as:
- U.S. Code §1981
- Fair Labor Standards Act
- The Equal Pay Act
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
- and the US Equality Act of 2015
The Florida Civil Human Rights Act protects Miami employees from employment discrimination as the state law against discrimination.
Employment discrimination can be difficult to prove. However, it is never impossible. There are three types of evidence categories the court will accept as evidence of employment discrimination: direct; disparate; and policy.
- Direct Evidence. This is the “smoking gun” as many attorneys refer to it. This is when an employee or job applicant has written or verbal proof that the harasser (the employer, co-worker, supervisor or non-employee) harassed or unfairly treated the person based on being a member of the protected class. For instance, when an email copies the employee and states that she was denied the promotion because she is pregnant, causing fear on the part of the employer that she would not come back to work after the baby is born. This email is direct evidence that pregnancy was the basis of the employment decision, which is employment discrimination. Direct evidence is not easy to come by, but it happens more often than expected.
- Disparate Evidence. This evidence is more common. It is a series of actions and a culture that can show an action that occurred based on discriminatory behavior. The behavior does not need to intend to discriminate, however, the final result must be unfair treatment or harassment, whether intended or unintended. For instance, if a company has a habit of only allowing women to work with higher-end clientele because the supervisor feels the women understand “luxury” better than men, this can be unintentional discrimination against men, especially if the man is as qualified as the woman to work on the client file.
- Policy Evidence. This evidence is when a policy intentionally or unintentionally discriminates against a protected class. For instance, if the company has a policy that only allows women the opportunity to take off of work to care for a sick child, this discriminates against men who have children by refusing them the right to take a day off to care for their child. It may not be intentional, but the result is discrimination.
Employment discrimination is not limited to one or two events. It can occur in many ways, some more obvious than others. Here are some examples of employment discrimination:
- Wrongful termination
- Unwanted touching
- Forcing a person over 40 to retire
- Refusal of benefits
- Denying a promotion to a pregnant employee
- Not hiring a military reservist because of his status
- Reporting an employee to Ice as retaliation
- Retaliating against an employee who refused sexual advances
- Denying a raise to an employee based on national origin
- Refusing to allow a person to work on a case because of his or her skin color
- Making constant jokes about sexual orientation
- Demoting an employee who is Gay/Lesbian
- Refusing to allow a Jewish employee days off for the high holidays
- Refusing to allow a Muslim woman who is a job applicant access to the public accommodations
- Forcing a Muslin man to shave his facial hair
- Denying proper bathroom breaks to diabetic employees
- Forcing employees with cancer to miss treatment appointments in fear of termination
- Refusing certain positions to employees with a foreign accent
- Harassing an employee who is in a wheelchair
- Making jokes about age to employees over 40 that show they are offended
- Harassing an employee who is married to a person of a different race, religion, or national origin
Title VII is governed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC provides a time limit of 300 days to file a claim for investigation. Once filed, the EEOC will investigate the claim and issue a Right to Sue letter to allow a complaint to be filed in Federal Court under Title VII.
The Florida Civil Human Rights Act is governed by the Florida Commission of Human Rights. The Commission provides a year to file a claim. In addition, the Commission and EEOC have a “work-sharing agreement” which allows a victim of employment discrimination to file a claim with one agency and request it be filed with both agencies at the same time.
The various federal discrimination laws mentioned above have varying time limits under which to file an employment discrimination claim. The attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group can help you determine which laws are best suited for your claim and ensure the complaints are filed within the proper statute of limitations.
The point of filing an employment discrimination claim in Miami is to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. The courts will offer different remedies, both monetary and actions, to help compensate you for your ordeal. Some of the remedies include:
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Reinstatement of employment and benefits
- Reimbursement of benefit premiums
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Attorney’s fees
- Review and revamping of policies and procedures
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Punitive Damages. These damages are intended to “punish” the employer for discriminatory behavior. The total is calculated, in part, based on the gross profits of the employer, the nature of the action, and whether this is the first offense.
Each employment discrimination case has its own timeline, which depends on the merits of the case, the parties involved, and many other issues that can arise during the process of a lawsuit. However, the general standard is a lawsuit can last from 4 to 6 months to 1 year or more.
If the other side is willing to negotiate a fair settlement before the case goes to trial, the entire case may be settled and closed within 4 to six months. However, if the case goes to trial, the process prior to trial can take anywhere from 6 months to a year and then the trial process can take another week to a month or more.
While you are contemplating your next move, there are a few things you can do now to help your case along.
- Contact an employment discrimination immediately.
- If you have not been fired, do not quit. This can hurt your case.
- If your company has an HR department, file a claim for employment discrimination.
- If your company has a policy or procedure regarding employment discrimination, follow it. This will also help your case.
- Collect evidence. Document every incident of employment discrimination. Include the details of the incident, when and where it occurred, who was involved, and any witnesses to the incident.
Employees and job applicants should always be able to work and apply for jobs without their protected class status deciding employment issues such as hiring, firing, promotions, compensation, benefits, training, and all other related issues. If you are a victim of employment discrimination, Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (305) 946-1884 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.