Employment Law FAQs
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Employment Law
If you are employed in the state of Florida, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, or New York, you likely know that you have certain rights. However, not all workers know the full extent of their legal rights. At USA Employment Lawyers, we believe that the more informed you are, the better prepared you are to take action when your rights are violated.
Browse our employment law FAQs to find answers to commonly asked employment law questions, or reach out to our firm to schedule a free case evaluation with an employment law attorney in Fort Lauderdale. We are happy to discuss the details of your case and help you devise a personalized plan of legal action.
Can I sue my employer?
Yes, it is possible to sue your employer if he or she has acted illegally. Prior to taking legal action, however, it is important that you understand your rights as an employee. Federal and state employment laws make it illegal for your employer to discriminate against you based on certain protected classes, such as:
- Sexual harassment
- Failing to pay earned overtime wages
- Failing to afford employees adequate breaks
All of the above are all prohibited under employment laws.
If you believe your rights have been violated, you can take legal action against your employer. It is important that you speak to an experienced employment law attorney who can help you navigate this process. Contact the team at USA Employment Lawyers for a free case evaluation today.
How do I know if I have been harassed or discriminated against?
Not all workplace harassment and discrimination is obvious; in some cases, it may be difficult to tell if your rights have been violated. The following is considered harassment:
- If your boss or supervisor requests a sexual favor in return for a promotion or raise
- If your coworkers create a hostile work environment by making inappropriate jokes or comments based on your appearance, sex, race, religion, or age, this also constitutes workplace harassment.
- If you are passed over for a job or a raise due to your sex or race, you have been discriminated against.
What is a hostile work environment?
A hostile work environment occurs when an employer, supervisor, coworker or multiple coworkers make unwelcome comments or advances that result in any reasonable person feeling intimidated, uncomfortable, or threatened in a way that negatively affects his or her employment. Typically (though not always), this conduct is severe and pervasive in nature.
It is important to note that simply feeling stressed or unhappy at your job does not necessarily mean you are the victim of a hostile work environment. It is not illegal for your boss to yell at you, but it is illegal for him to threaten to fire you unless you perform sexual favors. This is a complex and highly nuanced area of law; it is wise to discuss your situation with an employment law attorney in Fort Lauderdale who knows the ins and outs of these types of cases. Contact USA Employment Lawyers for a free case evaluation.
What is an at-will state?
An at-will state is one in which an employer may fire an employee for any reason at any time, as long as the basis for firing is not discriminatory, retaliatory, or otherwise illegal in nature. In other words, employers in an at-will state can essentially fire an employee for any reason, including no reason at all, with some exceptions.
Learn more by visiting our Unlawful Termination page.
What should I do if I suspect my employer is conducting illegal activity?
You may file a whistleblower claim to expose illegal employer conduct, such as fraud. Federal and state laws protect whistleblowers in both the public and private sectors, but it is important that you speak to an attorney before filing a claim to ensure that your rights are protected.
I am pregnant. Do I qualify for maternity leave?
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a piece of federal legislation that allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave due to a family or health-related issue, including childbirth and care of a newborn. If you choose to take an FMLA-related leave of absence, your employer must allow you to come back to work in the same or an equivalent capacity at the conclusion of your leave.
Can my employer pay me less than minimum wage?
In most cases, all employers in the state of Florida must pay their employees the highest applicable minimum wage which, in this case, is the state’s minimum wage of $8.65 an hour. One exception to this involves tipped employees. Employers may pay tipped employees less than minimum wage if they choose to apply the “tip credit.” In such cases, it is assumed that the employee will make up the difference in tips. The tip credit in Florida is $3.02 an hour, meaning employers may pay tipped employees as little as $5.63 an hour.
Do I qualify for overtime wages?
Overtime wages are available to employees who work more than 40 hours in one week. These workers are entitled to receive overtime wages of one and a half times their normal hourly rate of pay. However, there are certain exceptions to overtime, and not all employees are entitled to receive overtime wages.
Visit our Overtime Wages page to learn more about overtime exemptions and whether or not you qualify for overtime wages.
Can I be fired for reporting sexual harassment or discrimination?
It is illegal for your employer to fire you for reporting workplace harassment or discrimination. This is known as retaliation, and it is prohibited by both federal and state employment law. If you believe that you were fired because you complained of or reported harassment or discrimination, reach out to our Fort Lauderdale employment law attorneys right away for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Are unpaid internships legal?
Internships may be unpaid. However, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) they must meet six requirements in order to still be considered legal. They include:
- The internship must be educational
- The intern’s work must benefit only the intern
- The intern is supervised and does not act as staff
- The intern has not been promised a job after
- The employer does not receive any advantage from the intern’s work
- The employer, supervisor and intern understand that the internship is unpaid
Was I wrongfully terminated/fired?
In most states, you can be terminated/fired “at will”. Which means you can be laid off without reason. You may also choose to quit your job at any point without reason as well. However, there are exceptions.
You were wrongfully terminated if you were let go for:
- Illegal reasons
- In violation of public policy
- In violation of company policy
- In violation of a written contract
- After filing a claim against company
- Refused illegal actions