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The HR Specialist: Florida Employment Law

Bank of America took control of a lot of toxic assets when it purchased brokerage house Merrill Lynch in 2008. Part of the poison was apparently a litigious workforce that couldn’t wait to meet its new co-workers. Two Florida women are part of a sex discrimination lawsuit claiming that the combined companies treat their female financial advisors like “second-class citizens.”

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As an HR professional, you know you can’t ignore legal documents. But what if a new secretary doesn’t know she should forward legal papers to HR, or the papers end up in the in-box of an absent manager? Missing deadlines in those legal documents can mean losing the lawsuit before it really begins.

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The FMLA provides protected leave for employees who meet the law’s eligibility requirements. That protection includes the right to reinstatement to the same or an equivalent position when the employee is ready to return to work. But that right has limits. Employers are entirely within their rights to continue any disciplinary action they began before the employee went out on leave.

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It often makes sense to offer a fresh start to an employee who claims discrimination. By settling her case and moving her to another position, she gets a chance to begin again, and the employer gets a chance to avoid a potentially expensive lawsuit. To make the move effective, make sure that any new supervisors don’t know about the bias complaint.

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Carrying signs that read, “Some cuts don’t heal,” Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1991 members along with an estimated 200 doctors and nurses in March protested proposed cuts to Miami-Dade County’s public health services.

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Carrying signs that read, “Some cuts don’t heal,” Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1991 members along with an estimated 200 doctors and nurses in March protested proposed cuts to Miami-Dade County’s public health services.

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Employees who have diabetes and take insulin may claim to be disabled. And employers frequently make accommodations to help diabetic employees control their conditions. That doesn’t mean, however, that every diabetic will be able to show he’s disabled under the ADA.

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At some point in your HR career, you’ll run into a trainwreck of an employee with problems that just seem to escalate. It may start with a small injury and a workers’ comp claim. That can turn into a dispute over alleged harassment and retaliation. Eventually, she may even claim she has developed deep psychological scars … If she says she can’t work and has a doctor who supports her, you may be able to use the medical assessment to your benefit.

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Miami-Dade County employers now have another reason to properly classify employees: On March 1, failure to pay an employee wages he or she is due became “wage theft.” The ordinance is the first of its kind in the nation. According to a county statement, the intent is to allow employees a forum to quickly address pay issues without joining a federal class-action lawsuit.

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Smart employers carefully track complaints to show that they respond quickly to alleged discrimination and treat it seriously. Done properly, a tracking system gives you ammunition if you ever need it in court. Here are some best practices for handling complaints:

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