Florida Wrongful Termination

February 11, 2020

Five Examples of Wrongful Termination: Do You Qualify?

Were you recently fired? Do you feel that your termination was illegal, but not sure if you qualify for a wrongful termination case? While Florida statutes allow for employers to fire any worker at any time, restrictions exist to protect employees from wrongful termination. Below are five common examples of wrongful termination to help you determine if you have a valid case against your employer. If so, you may be entitled to wrongful termination compensation.

1. Discrimination

All employees should be treated equally and fairly and work in an environment free of harassment and discrimination. Discrimination at work can take on many forms, including being passed over for promotion without merit, withholding overtime pay, or termination for an action where others were only warned. Age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, and pregnancy are protected classes in Florida. If you can demonstrate that a supervisor has a bias against a specific group of people or that you are or were treated differently than others of a different protected class, you may have a wrongful termination case.

2. Hostile Work Environment

Harassment is a type of workplace discrimination that includes offensive jokes or slurs, name-calling or persistent teasing, threats, insults, physical assault, intimidation, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance. Harassment creates a hostile work environment when the offensive behavior creates a workplace environment or culture that a reasonable person would consider being intimidating, abusive, hostile, or unbearable or when tolerating the behavior is a requirement for continued employment.

3. Retaliation

Federal anti-discrimination laws protect employees against retaliatory actions from employers for reporting a hostile workplace. These conditions may include harassment or discrimination, filing workplace discrimination or wrongful termination claims, participating in discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination investigations or proceedings, or refusing to participate in workplace harassment or discrimination.

4. Worker’s Compensation or Family and Medical Leave

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against or terminating employees who file a worker’s compensation claim or take family or medical leave due to bereavement, illness, disability, or serious medical condition of the employee or family member.

A prime example of this type of workplace discrimination involves Christin Pennell, a Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputy who recently filed a discrimination lawsuit against her employer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Rights. Pennell claims that after filing medical leave claims, she and her husband were punished in multiple ways. Including being denied time off from work, being forced to work on scheduled days off, being suspended without pay, being denied pay increases and promotions, having her husband’s worker’s compensation canceled, and ultimately being removed from her position within the department.

5. PTSD or Mental Health Issues

Employers tend to approve worker’s compensation claims for physical injuries sustained while on the job but are less likely to approve claims related to mental health issues stemming from work-related incidents, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which often require many months of treatment. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate or terminate an employee due to an illness, both physical and mental. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated because of a mental health condition, you may be able to file a claim.

Wrongful termination can occur in any industry and at every level of the workplace. Were you recently fired without just cause? Are you unsure if you qualify for a wrongful termination claim? The best course of action is to consult with an experienced employment law attorney to review your case and discuss your options.

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