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The HR Specialist: Florida Employment Law

Is it protected activity that can’t be punished if an employee who is not yet eligible asks to take FMLA leave? Put another way, can an employer fire an employee who requests FMLA leave before the employee is actually eligible? A federal court has said, “No!” That’s illegal retaliation.

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SunTrust faces a federal sexual harassment lawsuit after three women who worked at the bank’s Sarasota Gulf Gate branch accused a manager of inappropriate touching and making lewd and unwelcome comments about their anatomy, sex lives and dating habits.

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The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered Barton G, the company that owns three renowned Miami fine-dining restaurants, to pay $28,000 to low-wage workers who did not receive minimum wage.

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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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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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“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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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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