Experienced Wrongful Termination Lawyers in Florida/
Aggressive Representation If You’re Wrongfully Fired
At the Feldman Legal Group, our Florida wrongful termination attorneys aggressively represent employees for a broad spectrum of claims under the umbrella term of “wrongful termination.” We depend on powerful state and federal laws that protect employees from discrimination, retaliation, harassment — and being fired illegally (Fla. Stat. 760.10(1)(a))1. You can depend on our detailed knowledge of those laws and our experience to ensure you get the justice you deserve if you were wrongfully fired.
Whether a termination is actionable at law depends upon the underlying facts and reasons for the termination. If you have been fired, our attorneys can first investigate the facts to determine whether a cause of action exists. There are many reasons for which an employer cannot fire you legally. If you were truly wrongfully terminated, we are here to help you take legal action.
Why Hire Feldman Legal Group/
When you come to us for assistance, you can expect us to listen to your side of the story regarding your case and give you an honest assessment of your situation. We will then tell you how we can reach the best possible outcome in your case. You will have highly experienced representation from Attorney Mitchell L. Feldman, who has helped thousands of employees get justice.
Our attorneys are passionate about fighting for people who have been subject to illegal
actions by their employers. Learn about how past clients reflect on how we helped them. We are ready to help you, too. We’ll guide you in the collection of necessary evidence of wrongful termination and advise you what’s needed to make a solid case. We’ll review the employer’s policies and procedures to make sure they have held up their end of the employment bargain. If you have an employment contract, we will go over it thoroughly to make sure they were compliant. So that we can help you explore your legal options, speak with our Florida wrongful termination attorney today.
TIPS FROM OUR FLORIDA WRONGFUL TERMINATION LAWYERS
Can You Be Wrongfully Fired in Florida?
Employees in Florida are generally considered to be at will employees, absent an employment agreement. This means that employers may terminate an employee for any reason or no reason or cause at all. However, Florida employers may not fire employees based on protected characteristics such as race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age and gender. Also, employees may not be fired for coming forth with harassment and discrimination claims and for reporting fraud and other illegal activities.
What Should I Do If I Was Wrongfully Terminated in Florida?
If you believe you were fired illegally, the best thing to do is to take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who knows Florida employment laws thoroughly. At the Feldman Legal Group, our attorneys can often quickly determine whether you may have a valid wrongful termination case and give you an idea of the approximate value of the case. Learn more about what to do by following the steps we outline below.
What Can Cause an Employer to Wrongfully Terminate Someone?
There are many reasons, including prejudice/bias and greed. Some employers are woefully ignorant of the law, while others simply believe they can get away with wrongful termination. Many employers do succeed with breaking employment laws, especially when workers are not informed about their workplace rights. That’s why it’s so important to consult with an attorney if you think your employer broke the law when you were fired.
Understanding What Is Wrongful Termination
A termination may seem unfair or even unjust, but that does not necessarily make it illegal. You may have been wrongfully fired if you were in one of the following types of situations:
- An employer prefers a younger workforce and fires a 50-year-old workerto get rid of “dead wood.”
- An employee blows the whistle on illegal workplace activities and is wrongfully fired in retaliation.
- An employee is fired because he or she is disabledand the employer did not want to pay for reasonable accommodations.
- An employee needs to take FMLA medical leave. When the employee returns, the employer concocts a reason for firing the employee.
Whether you have a valid wrongful termination claim depends upon the circumstances. The attorneys at Feldman Legal Group have experience to uncover the true reason you were fired. If you want to know what to do if you were wrongfully fired, we can help you pursue all the legal remedies that are available to you.
If you have been wrongfully fired in Tampa, or anywhere in Florida, our lawyers are here to stand up for your rights. We work diligently on your behalf and are prepared to go to trial if necessary.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE WRONGFULLY FIRED/
If you believe you were fired for illegal reasons, there are steps you can take to right the wrong and obtain compensation from your former employer. First, you need to understand that in many states, including Florida, employers can fire workers “at will,” meaning they don’t have to have a specific reason for letting you go. However, state and federal laws do offer protection to employees who are fired under certain specific circumstances.
WHEN YOU FEEL YOU WERE WRONGFULLY FIRED
You may well have experienced wrongful termination, especially if any of the following circumstances apply to you:
- An employer cannot terminate you for reasons related to your race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, age (over 40), or gender.
- You can’t be legally fired in retaliation for complaining about harassment or discrimination along any of the above lines.
- If you report illegal wage and hour practices or safety violations at work, you cannot be fired in retaliation ( Stat. 448.102)2.
- You also cannot be let go because you need accommodation for a health-related circumstance, such as pregnancy, or because you take a legally protected leave of absence.
STEPS TO TAKE AFTER YOU WERE WRONGFULLY FIRED/
Step 1: Try not to overreact
Although losing your job is certainly a stressful experience, it is best for you to remain calm, if possible. Making a memorable scene is never in your best interests. It is possible you could regain your job with help from an attorney, so you want to act carefully and with dignity.
Step 2: Gather evidence
Documentation is often the key to a successful wrongful termination case. Gather and secure any computer files, text messages, voicemail messages, journal entries, photos, and other documentation relevant to your firing. Especially important is evidence that demonstrates harassment, discrimination, or hostile retaliation.
Step 3: Refresh your memory of events
Sit down and write out a timeline of events that occurred leading up to your termination. You can use the documentation you have gathered to help you with this step.
A written timeline will ensure you are clear about what has taken place and will help you demonstrate a pattern of illegal action to strengthen your case.
Step 4: Consider filing a complaint with the EEOC
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accepts and documents wrongful termination complaints, and they can investigate and attempt to resolve the matter for you3. You have a right to representation by a lawyer during the complaint process and when your case is heard by the EEOC administrative judge.
Step 5: Talk to an employment lawyer
You may be able to sue if you were wrongfully fired. Our experienced employment lawyer can assess whether or not you have a wrongful termination case and, if so, can often maximize the compensation you receive. With legal help, you may be able to get your job back, if desired, or receive restitution to make up for your lost income, lost opportunity/reputation, termination-related costs, and more.
GET THE JUSTICE YOU DESERVE IF YOU WERE FIRED WRONGFULLY
The Feldman Legal Group law firm is dedicated to fighting for justice for workers. Our wrongful termination attorneys have achieved substantial settlements for many past clients. If you believe you have been wrongfully fired, we encourage you to contact us today. Call (813) 639-9366 for your free case assessment.
WHAT CAN I GET IN COMPENSATION FROM A WRONGFUL TERMINATION LAWSUIT?
Once our wrongful termination attorneys in Florida are able to examine the factors that led to your termination, we can determine what damages you are entitled to receive. The amount we can win for you if we represent you in a wrongful termination case varies. Rewards depend on how long you were out of work because of the termination, your earnings at the time, whether there are punitive damages in the offering and other factors. Awards can be as high as six-figures or more if there has been an award of punitive damages. However, you should temper your expectations regarding a monetary amount.
We will fight hard to get you the full compensation you deserve. We get justice for workers and will be sure we aggressively pursue what amount is just in your case. Generally speaking, compensation for wrongful termination can include the following:
If your employer is also guilty of wage and hour violations, you should be able to collect the back wages that are owed to you. Florida law allows you to collect penalties in addition to your earned wages, effectively doubling your potential legal award.
Damages for wrongful termination often include loss of the income you depend upon to meet daily expenses. Lost wages are calculated from the date of termination until the present and can include lost benefits such as health insurance or stock options.
If your case goes to trial and you prevail, you can be awarded coverage of your attorney’s fees. Attorneys’ fees are typically awarded whenever an employer is determined to be guilty of violating the law at the employee’s expense.
A company that unlawfully terminates you may be ordered to compensate you for wages you will miss in the future. You can receive compensation for reduced wages if you are unable to find a job that pays as well as the one you lost.
Although rare, some wrongful termination cases will include punitive damages. These are meant to punish the employer for particularly egregious acts and to compensate the employee for emotional distress suffered because of the experience.
In some cases, a fired worker must relocate in order to obtain affordable housing or accept a new position. If this applies to you, termination-related moving expenses can be included in your compensation award.
What You Can Expect in a Successful Wrongful Termination Lawsuit/
Florida statute clearly lays out what you can recover if you win a lawsuit when you were wrongfully fired (Fla. Stat. 448.103(2))4. The law provides that you can…
- Receive full compensation for all lost wages and benefits during the time you were not working because you were wrongfully terminated. Your employer would be required to pay any other compensation you would have received, too.
- Get a legal injunction that prevents your employer from continuing in illegal practices, such as firing employees in retaliation for making discrimination claims.
- Be reinstated in the position you held before you were wrongfully fired or be given an equivalent position.
- Have reinstated all the benefits you received and seniority you held before you were illegally fired.
What Can I Get if I Decide to Settle a Wrongful Termination Case?/
We understand that you may prefer a quick resolution to your case and are prepared to be tough-minded negotiators to get just compensation in your case. If we agree that a settlement is the best course of action, we will negotiate from a position of strength, having built a strong case to support your claim. Moreover, in cases where there have been truly egregious acts on the part of the person responsible for your wrongful termination, the employer may be eager to reach a settlement.
Often settlement amounts are unknown because the settlement agreement contains a requirement that the parties not discuss the specifics of the settlement. However, some information is public, and we know that employers have had to pay out six-figures in compensation to the victims for illegally firing them.
Tampa Wrongful Termination Lawyer Available to Help You/
WHAT IS WRONGFUL TERMINATION?/
Federal law protects employees from discrimination based upon race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age (over 40), disability, or gender. (Sexual harassment falls under the umbrella of gender and is legally considered to be a form of discrimination). If you are in a protected class and are terminated for this reason, or discrimination is behind the excuse given for your firing, this constitutes wrongful termination.
Florida and the Federal Civil Rights Act also make it unlawful to retaliate or terminate an employee for filing a claim of discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace. Many employees recover damages under a whistleblower claim. This may occur if you report, object to, or refuse to participate in discriminatory conduct, retaliation, or harassment and then are terminated or demoted because of this. You are also protected as a whistleblower if you report illegal wage violations or infractions of federal Occupational Safety and Health laws5.
Employees also suffer unlawful termination because of a disability or health condition. For example, your boss may decide your announced pregnancy is inconvenient and find an excuse to let you go Or, your employer may fail to provide you with a job after you exercise your right to paternity leave under the Family Medical Leave Act6.
WERE YOU ILLEGALLY FIRED?/
UNLAWFUL TERMINATION IN FLORIDA/
Like many other U.S. states, Florida’s employment laws follow an “at-will” rule. This means that unless you have a written employment contract that says otherwise, your boss is allowed to let you go without cause. However, the laws differ based on the number of employees. Florida employers with 15 or more workers are bound by federal and state laws that prohibit unlawful termination under protected circumstances.
In addition to the above-mentioned discrimination laws, Florida makes it illegal to discriminate based upon HIV/AIDS status and other health conditions. Also, in Florida, you cannot be fired because you make a legitimate workers’ compensation claim or take leave to participate in jury duty or military service. If you make a claim about unpaid overtime wages, it is illegal to fire you in retaliation for that claim. You can read about other examples of when employees are wrongfully fired here.
COLLECT EVIDENCE OF WRONGFUL TERMINATION/
An employee who feels he or she is in danger of wrongful termination should begin to collect evidence of events leading up to the firing. This might include text, email and/or voicemail messages, annual review paperwork, witness contact information, employee handbook, and a written timeline of events as they occur. You may not have a “smoking gun” of evidence where the employer lays out in explicit detail that they will fire you for reasons that are unlawful. However, courts will consider a collection of circumstantial evidence that may lead to a decision in your favor. Contrary to popular belief, cases can turn on circumstantial evidence, especially cases involving unlawful discrimination or harassment.
STATISTICS ABOUT UNLAWFUL TERMINATIONS IN FLORIDA/
If you experience wrongful termination, you are certainly not alone. The EEOC compiles statistics for lawsuits filed for discrimination and retaliation, many of which include wrongful termination as a cause of legal action. These statistics show that in 2020 alone, there were 5,868 total charges of wrongful termination related to various forms of discrimination in the state of Florida, and over 67,000 nationwide7. And of that total number of charges brought for illegal firings based on discrimination, many were cases brought because the employer retaliated against the employee for filing discrimination charges. That number totals 3,556 for the year 2020. It is unlawful to fire an employee in retaliation for making a discrimination claim.
If you were fired or experienced retaliation upon filing a claim of sexual harassment or discrimination, your employer violated both the Federal Civil Rights Act and Florida law. Perhaps you refused to participate in discriminatory conduct or retaliation. Or you refused to ignore reported harassment. If the outcome of filing a claim or refusing to participate in any of these actions was getting fired or demoted, your employer may have broken the law. You may be able to recover damages under the whistleblower theory.
You can also be forced to quit and still sue your former employer for the unlawful act. This is called “constructive discharge.” Under Florida law, this happens if the conditions of your employment are such that a reasonable employee in your position would feel they had no choice but to quit8. Circumstances could include a situation where your employer allowed illegal harassment to occur without addressing it, or made working conditions so unsafe that you had to leave the job. The Florida Supreme Court has said this is when “an employee involuntarily resigns in order to escape intolerable and illegal employment requirements” (Morgan v. Ford)9. Actions that can cause a constructive discharge are the same as those for a wrongful termination.
At times, wrongful termination cases can be resolved through negotiation or mediation, but it takes a skilled lawyer to get to the underlying facts. If negotiation fails to achieve the result you deserve, our lawyers are always prepared to represent you in court.
Our lawyers for wrongful termination cases at the Feldman Legal Group can help you determine whether you have been fired in violation of Florida law. We have years of experience in the field and a strong grasp of caselaw. Once we are apprised of the facts of your situation, we can help you decide whether to move forward with a legal action. Our priority is making certain that our clients receive justice; we are passionate about this, something we hope to reflect when you speak with us about your case. Call (813) 639-9366 to discuss how we can help.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
WRONGFUL TERMINATION - CLIENT REVIEW
Could You Have Been Legally Let Go?/
Legitimate Reasons for Termination /
An employer in an “at will” employment state (such as Florida) has many legitimate reasons to dismiss an employee without notice. These include: unexcused absence or tardiness, insubordination, missed deadlines, poor quality of work, negative attitude, and more. As long as the business is not violating laws protecting employees from discrimination or retaliation, an employer is essentially free to replace you at will.
Employee Contracts /
If a written (or in some cases, verbal) employment contract exists between a business and hired worker, both can be legally held to the terms of the contract. So then, if an employer has guaranteed you a job for a designated period, sudden dismissal may be a breach of contract and wrongful termination.
Employer Policies /
If an employer has an employee handbook or written human resources manual, the described policies should be applied to all employees equally. If an employee is treated differently regarding discipline or dismissal, the employer’s handbook or typical HR procedures can provide evidence of wrongful termination.
If two employees who essentially perform the same duties are treated differently at work, this differential treatment may be in violation of employment laws. An example is when employees over the age of 40 are “laid off” while younger workers are kept on; this may be discrimination-based differential treatment and, thus, wrongful termination.
How Can an Employer Defend Against My Wrongful Termination Lawsuit?/
There are legitimate reasons for firing an employee, but even if it appears clear that you were wrongfully terminated, your employer may still offer a defense for their conduct. For example, your employer may allege that you were not fired in retaliation, but because your tardiness violated workplace policy. If you allege that they made it impossible to continue working there because of a hostile work environment, they may argue that they followed workplace policy regarding discriminatory conduct to the letter and did all they could to prevent the conduct.
Remember that these laws may not apply to businesses with a small number of employees. There may still be ways to help you get justice if you were, in fact, wrongfully discharged. If your claim involves whether you were paid less because of your gender, Florida law still protects you from discrimination. If you were discharged in retaliation for complaining about unequal pay practices, you may be able to file a legal action for being wrongfully fired.
Our Florida wrongful termination attorney has decades of experience in these cases and will be essential to help you overcome any of your employer’s defenses. We’ve been around the block. We know what defenses employers often present in wrongful termination cases and can build a strong legal argument that you were fired illegally.
Your employer is likely to hire an attorney to fight against you and may argue your claim is frivolous. Get the upper hand in the fight: make sure Feldman Legal Group is on your side.
WORK WITH EXPERIENCED WRONGFUL TERMINATION LAWYERS IN FLORIDA/
If you were wrongfully fired and wonder what can you do, your first step is to get help. Don’t hesitate to take steps to protect your rights. Qualified legal representation can make the difference to your case outcome and to your future. At the Feldman Legal Group, our success record includes six-figure results for clients who were fired illegally.
At times, wrongful termination cases can be resolved through negotiation or mediation, but it takes a skilled lawyer to get to the underlying facts. Many, if not most, employment law cases are settled without going to trial. But if negotiation fails to achieve the result you deserve, our lawyers are always fully prepared to represent you in court.
If you believe you have been fired in violation of the law, contact us at the Feldman Legal Group. We are keenly aware of the stress caused by being let go. When you’ve been fired unfairly, the stress can be worse. Bills can pile up while you struggle to get justice. We can help get you back on your feet. Find out how. Call us at (813) 639-9366.
1 Florida Statute 760.10. Title XLIV. Civil Rights. Chapter 760. Discrimination in the Treatment of Persons; Minority Representation. Unlawful Employment Practices. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0760/Sections/0760.10.html
2 Florida Statute 448.102 Title XXXI. Chapter 448. General Labor Regulations. Prohibitions. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0400-0499/0448/Sections/0448.102.html
3 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Filing a Formal Complaint. https://www.eeoc.gov/federal-sector/filing-formal-complaint
4 Florida Statute 448.103. Title XXXI. Chapter 448. General Labor Regulations. Employee’s remedy; relief. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0400-0499/0448/Sections/0448.103.html
5 OSHA United States Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSH Act of 1970. https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/oshact/toc
6 U.S. Department of Labor. Wage and Hour Division. Family and Medical Leave Act. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla
7 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Enforcement and Litigation Statistics. https://www.eeoc.gov/data/enforcement-and-litigation-statistics-0
8 Barbara J. Henson v. City of Dundee. U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit. 1982. Case 682 F.2d 897 https://casetext.com/case/henson-v-city-of-dundee
9 Jacqueline R. Morgan v. John Ford. U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit. 1993. Case 6 F.3rd 750 https://casetext.com/case/morgan-v-ford