The HR Specialist: Florida Employment Law

Employees are supposed to get FMLA certifications back to their employers within 15 days. But it’s not a good idea to terminate an employee simply because you didn’t receive the paperwork on time. The FMLA regulations include an out for employees who miss the deadline for reasons beyond their control.

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Ill-chosen words can haunt incautious supervisors. Example: Using the term “slacker” to describe someone who misses lots of work. Here’s why: Disparaging comments may be proof that the employer retaliated against an employee for taking too much leave.

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If you interview employees during the course of investigating alleged misconduct, make sure to take accurate notes. Then, before concluding the interview, have the employee read and sign the notes, attesting that they accurately reflect what was said. Don’t let the employee put off signing.

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Not every pregnancy is the same and not every pregnant woman can perform her job right up until she goes into labor. Because there is so much variability and because women are protected from pregnancy discrimination, it’s crucial to consider each case individually.

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The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has approved new grounds for discrimination lawsuits. It recently ruled that employees who file discrimination complaints can sue for retaliation if their employers punish them with a hostile work environment.

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Here’s an important reminder for supervisors: Details count at evaluation time, especially if poor performance will lead to a performance improvement plan or even discharge.

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The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for substantially similar work. If you discover a pay disparity between substantially similar male and female employees, fix the problem right away to let women catch up. Don’t use pay policies as an excuse to slow the process.

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The manager of a Sarasota-area OfficeMax made life so miserable for an employee who filed a racial discrimination claim that he was forced to resign, according to the EEOC. Now it’s suing on the man’s behalf.

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“Nopalera” is Spanish for a “patch of prickly cactus.” That’s exactly where the owners of a Gainesville restaurant called La Nopalera found themselves after the DOL discovered they weren’t paying wages to Hispanic employees, making them work for tips alone.

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Courts don’t tolerate religious har­assment, but they won’t punish an employer for occasional lapses in good sense, either. That’s the lesson of the following case.

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