Category: Labor Law

Hurricane Irma: What’s legal isn’t always good for business

By 08/09/2017 Posted in News, Labor Law

  GunterFirm has received several calls from individuals, companies and the media regarding employee rights if terminated as a result of an absence while preparing for Hurricane Irma. Under Florida law, there is no “legal” claim for “wrongful termination” if an employee is terminated for failing to report to work during the hurricane. There is no exception to Florida’s “employment at will” doctrine for terminating an employee who does not report to work before, during, or after a hurricane or any other natural disaster. This includes terminations that occur during a state of emergency, a voluntary evacuation or even a mandatory evacuation. This applies to public sector employees as well as private sector employees. All emergency personnel and healthcare providers at hospitals are generally under an affirmative duty to report, and plans for emergency personnel and healthcare providers are generally known and made in advance. GunterFirm is advising our clients not to terminate employees or take other adverse actions due to hurricane related absences. Although legally permissible, such terminations are perceived as morally reprehensible and can cause serious harm to the company’s image. These terminations may result in immediate negative media exposure, including negative social media campaigns and negative online reviews. Both employers and employees should take a deep breath and take into consideration each other’s needs. Employers who provide nonessential services to the public should exercise great caution before putting profits above employee safety and well-being. Likewise, employees should make all efforts to cooperate with employers to ensure that […]

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Linda McMahon to head SBA

By 12/12/2016 Posted in News, Labor Law, Small business

President Elect Trump made several news-worthy selections to head governmental agencies over the past week. One selection in particular should stand out to Southwest Florida employers and entrepreneurs. That is, the selection of Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration (“SBA”). The SBA was founded in 1953 and provides small business loans, loan guarantees, and small business counseling to help bolster small businesses, including those throughout Florida. If you own your own business in Fort Myers or Naples, or if you are an entrepreneur that has sought funding to launch your new idea, it is likely you are well aware of the useful resources the SBA provides. McMahon is the co-founder and former CEO of the well-known wrestling behemoth, WWE. This appointment shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to those who are familiar with McMahon’s history and political aspirations. She previously ran, albeit unsuccessfully, for US Senate in 2010. Additionally, President-Elect Trump’s ties to the WWE are also well noted. In fact, Trump made regular appearances on the WWE’s various programs throughout the years, including a few dust ups in the ring. Trump seems to be taking care of those that he has identified as loyal followers, and folks that did not waver in their support during the tumultuous campaign. It has been reported that McMahon donated $7 million, including $1 million in the closing days before the election. McMahon is the third consecutive woman to be nominated to this post following in the footsteps of President Obama’s nominees […]

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GunterFirm Founds LCBA Solo & Small Firm Practice Section

By 08/01/2016 Posted in GunterFirm News, Labor Law

In conjunction with the Lee County Bar Association, Jason Gunter and Conor Foley founded the Solo and Small Firm Practice Section to provide solo and small firm attorneys with valuable information regarding practice management, technology, and marketing. The Section has garnered a tremendous response, thanks in part to the cover feature in the May 2015 Res Gestae. You can find the entire article with more information on the Section here: http://issuu.com/leecountybar/docs/rg_2015may_lr_final/1 If you are a Lee County, Florida attorney and interested in learning more about the Practice Section, please reach out to Jason Gunter or Conor Foley.

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What is at-will employment?

By 18/06/2015 Posted in FAQs, FLSA, Labor Law, Retaliation, Whistleblower Law, Workplace Discrimination Law

In Florida, an at-will employee is one whose employment has no specified term and who may be terminated at the will of either party, with or without cause and with or without notice. However, an employer is not permitted to terminate an employee in violation of a state or federal statute, such as: retaliation, discrimination, or whistle blowing.

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Florida Employment Laws

By 04/06/2015 Posted in Labor Law, Whistleblower Law

Florida and federal laws govern the rights and obligations of workers and employers in the state. Several Florida laws codify federal regulations. However, conflicts in the statutes can create confusion about which law applies to a given employment circumstance. When a dispute arises, a litigant may consider whether the state or federal forum is most favorable.

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About the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

By 04/06/2015 Posted in FMLA, Labor Law

Time Off for Medical and Family Matters The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993 to provide certain employees with the right to take time off to obtain medical treatment, give birth or care for a sick loved one. During the leave period, the worker’s job is protected and the employer is required to maintain the employee’s health insurance under the same terms as if he or she were continually employed. The FMLA statute is intended to help employees appropriately balance work and family life. FMLA Worker Eligibility To be eligible for FMLA benefits, a worker must have been employed by the covered employer for at least 12 months, which do not have to be consecutive, and have performed at least 1,150 hours of work for the employer within the immediately preceding 12 months. The FMLA permits eligible workers of covered employers to take unpaid, protected leave for up to 12 workweeks within a 12 months period to: Give birth and to care for the newborn baby Adopt or foster a child and to take care of him or her Care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious injury or illness Take medical leave associated with the worker’s serious medical condition Deal with an emergency arising out of active military duty of the employee’s spouse, child or parent In addition, the FMLA provides for military caregiver leave, which entitles the worker to up to 26 workweeks of leave within a 12-month period to care for a sick or […]

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Civil Rights Act & Discrimination

By 04/06/2015 Posted in Disability Discrimination, Labor Law, Pregnancy Discrimination, Retaliation, Workplace Discrimination Law

The Foundation of Anti-Discrimination Laws Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their inclusion in a protected class. This landmark legislation is the foundation for anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws in the workplace. Title VII generally applies to businesses and organizations that employ 15 or more workers, labor unions, employment agencies and local, state and federal governments. Protected Classes Since the law was enacted, more than 50 years ago, amendments have expanded the reach of the Civil Rights Act to additional protected classes. For example, genetic information is a new class that has recently been added to the protected classes of race, gender, pregnancy, national origin, religion, disability and age. An employer who has a connection to a protected class, such as through marriage or membership in an organization, may also be protected under the Act. The impression of being in a class may also be enough to trigger protection. Discriminatory Employment Decisions A business is not permitted to consider a worker’s inclusion in a class when it makes such employment-related decisions as: Recruitment and hiring Firing or layoff Compensation Promotion or transfer Shifts or assignments Benefits package Training An employer may be considered in violation of the Civil Rights Act for policies that have no legitimate business purpose and cause a discriminatory result. For instance, requiring workers to wear a skirt as their only uniform option would tend to discriminate against men. Similarly, designating the auto repair department […]

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By 04/06/2015 Posted in FLSA, Labor Law, Overtime Law, Overtime and Unpaid Wages

About the Fair Labor Standards Act Wage and Hour Laws The Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted more than 75 years ago to establish workplace hours, wages and child labor standards in the United States. The FLSA sets the federal minimum wage, which is updated periodically by legislative action, and determines what is considered compensable hours of work. In addition, the statute contains a variety of exceptions to minimum wage, overtime pay rights and the hours that constitute a workweek. Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Florida’s minimum wage is $8.05, which prevails because it is more than the federal amount. Businesses are permitted to pay their tipped employees $5.03 per hour and take a tip credit of $3.02. In most circumstances, employees are subject to a 40-hour workweek. Businesses must pay employees at a rate of time plus time and one-half for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Businesses are not required to pay extra for holidays or weekends unless the employee is working overtime on those days. Exceptions exist for certain types of occupations, such as first responders, military servicemembers, nurses, construction workers, technicians and certain blue-collar workers. In addition, executives, professionals, administrators, computer-related occupations and outside sales representatives are not subject to the overtime requirements. For this reason, correct classification is crucial. Compensable Hours Determining which hours are considered work is not always straightforward. The FLSA provides some guidance, but a business must also adhere to its own […]

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