Answers to your most common employment law questions including wrongful termination and claims of discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
What does the term “employment at will” mean?
The employment at will rule or doctrine is the baseline from which employment lawyers determine whether or not someone may have an employment law case for wrongful demotion or termination. The rule provides that unless an employee is demoted or terminated in violation of a specific anti-harassment, discrimination or retaliation law or was terminated in violation of a written employment agreement for a specific time. He or she can be demoted or terminated for any reason or no reason at all. The reason may even be wrong without violating the law. Florida is an employment at will state. Determining whether one has a viable employment case requires familiarity with the statutes and ordinances prohibiting wrongful termination and demotion.
I sometimes work well in excess of 40 hours per week. Am I entitled to overtime pay?
It depends. The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) gives workers the right to recover time and a half for overtime in excess of 40 hours per week. The FLSA exempts certain categories of workers from these protections so it is important to counsel with an attorney knowledgeable in this area of law to determine whether those exemptions apply.
What criteria do attorneys use to decide whether to take a case?
First, a potential client has to have a viable case i.e. if the facts are true they would state a case. Second, there has to be evidence to support the case be it in the form of supporting witnesses, documents, emails or other admissible evidence. It is not enough simply to have a belief that wrongful conduct took place. Third, an employment attorney will need to show damages. Few attorneys will be able to take even a viable and supported case if only a few thousand dollars are at stake. Gathering proof of income loss is one of several very important tasks early in representation. Finally, an attorney will need to make sure there are not technical defenses to the case. Perhaps the most important is the statute of limitations: the case may be barred because of a lapse of time.