The HR Specialist: Florida Employment Law

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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Generally, a single racially charged incident won’t create a hostile work environment. But repeated or escalating incidents will. That’s why employers should take immediate, firm action to stop future problems.

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There is no freedom from discrimination based on having premarital sex, but there is a right to be free of pregnancy discrimination. It may seem odd, but employers can technically fire someone for behavior that doesn’t meet the employer’s “moral” standards as long as no other protected characteristic is involved.

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Here’s a difficult situation for even the most experienced HR pro: What should you do if you believe the head of your company is a harasser? There’s no easy answer, as this case shows.

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Employers that count FMLA-covered absences against employees are interfering with their FMLA rights. Before you make a final termination decision based on poor attendance, make absolutely sure that you have excluded all possible FMLA leave.

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Do you have employees who were born and raised in other countries and who therefore speak English with heavy, foreign-sounding accents? If so, be careful how you approach any discussion about their speech. If supervisors or managers criticize workers’ accents, a national-origin discrimination lawsuit may be in your company’s future.

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OSHA has cited Merlin Industries Inc. and Thermal Concepts Inc.—two Davie businesses owned by the same family and sharing the same address—for 17 safety violations, worth $59,100 in fines.

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Failing to offer some employees the opportunity to participate in training can mean a possible lawsuit. But that’s only true if the employee who missed out on the training opportunity let it be known that he was interested.

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Did an employee lie about an illness and abuse FMLA leave? As long as you honestly and in good faith believe the employee was dishonest, your disciplinary decision will hold up in court.

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Floridians filed 307 more discrimination complaints with the EEOC in fiscal year 2011 than they did in 2010. The greatest number of Florida complaints—3,231 in all—alleged retaliation.

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