Category Archives: Employment Law

What If I Was Furloughed In Florida?

According to Section 110.107(11) of the Florida Statutes, “Furlough” means a temporary reduction in the regular hours of employment in a pay period, or temporary leave without pay for one or more pay periods, with a commensurate reduction in pay, which is necessitated by a projected deficit in any fund that supports salary and benefit appropriations.

What can I do if my employee is not taking sufficient efforts to be re-tested after having Coronavirus?

Five months into the Coronavirus pandemic, it is unfortunately common for one of your employees to test positive for the virus. What do you do? You give them time to recover at home, ensure that they sufficiently isolate themselves, and then request 2 negative test results in accordance with CDC guidelines. Eventually, it will be time for your employee to return to the office—but what do you do if they refuse to be tested?

Understanding Florida Reemployment Assistance

The Florida Reemployment Assistance Program has several eligibility criteria it imposes on individuals who apply.

What is a 1099 form and when do I need to file it?

1099-MISC is an important form that misfiling or failing to file will cost you hundreds of dollars. Be sure to inform yourself on your tax duties as a business owner. Here’s everything you need to know.

When can my Unemployment Claim be Denied?

In Florida, to obtain reemployment assistance benefits, an individual must file a claim with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.  Once the claim is filed, the claim undergoes an adjudication process where the claim is reviewed for potential issues which may disqualify an individual from receiving reemployment benefits such as: reason for termination, individual’s availability, and individual’s ability to work.

Why Are Employment Contracts So Important?

An employment contract is an agreement between two parties – an employee and an employer, that involves terms and conditions of employment. Some employment contracts may be oral, whereas others are written and contain many descriptive provisions. Oral employment contracts are enforceable but could be much more difficult to prove in court.

What Is HIPAA?

The HIPAA stands for The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This federal Act protects the privacy of patient information from third parties. Therefore, most healthcare providers such as healthcare insurance companies, hospitals, etc. can only disclose patient information in cases when the HIPAA allows the disclosure. Under the HIPAA, apart from disclosing the patient’s information for treatment purposes, only “the minimum necessary to accomplish the purpose of the disclosure” can be revealed.

Rehiring Furloughed Employees Post-Covid-19

A furlough is a temporary, unpaid leave of absence, with an expectation that an employee will return to his or her job at a specific time. A furlough could also include reduced hours of work or work weeks. Ultimately, a furloughed employee remains an employee.

Employment Standards During Covid-19

The OSHA wants to ensure certain safety measures in a working environment, yet, also want to make certain that an employee is asserting an issue or concern in good faith. If your employer fails to implement proper guidelines or does not take reasonable steps to safeguard your well-being, then the law offers you, as an employee, the right to refuse to come into your workplace, until the imminent fear is no longer apparent.

Covid-19 Disaster Assistance Update

The measurements taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the US have caused an economic downturn that is dramatically affecting our country’s small businesses. While Congress was able to enact the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid to those applied for one of its programs; unfortunately, it has now been reported that funding for these programs has been exhausted. 

FLORIDA “REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE”: Simple Answers to Common Questions Regarding Unemployment Claims and Benefits

Navigating the complex process of applying for reemployment assistance in the wake of an unexpected layoff is never a simple task.  That difficult process is made even more complicated during a crisis that creates mass unemployment, such as the one which we are currently experiencing as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  This guide is designed to answer some of the most commonly asked questions with regard to the Florida Reemployment Assistance program and to discuss changes in this area of law that have been made in light of the ongoing pandemic.

Who is a Borrower’s Representative?

Borrower’s Representative means an individual or an organization that is designated by the Borrower to act on behalf of the Borrower by a written certificate and complying with the requirements of the applicable state. The borrower’s representative always requires some written proof of authority before being able to act on behalf of the borrower.

How to Ensure you are Compliant with the PPP Loan

Over the past several weeks, thousands of businesses have applied for and (some) have received the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loan. An attractive condition of this loan is the potential it to be forgiven. However, the SBA has continued to issue guidance on how to remain eligible for forgiveness, and there are strict protocols that businesses must follow.

Can an Employer Inquire into Whether its Employees have been Exposed to Coronavirus?

The COVID-19 Virus (“Coronavirus”) is presenting challenges for businesses in a multitude of areas. One particularly concerning prospect is an employee being exposed to the virus and in turn contaminating the rest of the business. While employers may want to ask their employees questions about their health to evaluate the risk of exposure, employers need to be aware of the various laws surrounding this sensitive topic.

Does my Employer Have to pay me if I am Quarantined due to the Coronavirus?

With the current state of the world, you may be thinking about what you can expect if you are unable to go to work due to the Coronavirus. Employment and Labor laws can vary by state, and by county. Additionally, you may have a contract or collective bargaining agreement with your employer that determines what happens when you cannot show up to work due to a public health emergency. While your employer will most likely not require you to come to work if you are under quarantine, your employer may not be required to pay you for the time you are out.

Can I claim Unemployment if I am Laid off because of Coronavirus?

With the pandemic that is the Coronavirus affecting the whole world, many employees may be considering staying home these next few weeks while the virus is spreading throughout the United States.

Can I be Fired if I Stay Home During the Corona Virus Panic?

Many employees across the world are contemplating staying home with the spread of the Corona Virus pandemic. If you are in an at-will state, your employer may have a lot of power if you decide to not to show up for work.

Prevent Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment occurs far more often than one would expect.  Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees in any capacity, whether it is a private workplace or a government agency.

Is it Legal to take Clients away from your Employer?

Client lists are usually labeled as “confidential” and within the company access to them is limited. Other companies divide their client lists by sales/business geographical territory to minimize access of employees to the lists even more.

Can small Start-up Companies Sponsor Foreign Individuals when Their OPT has Expired?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary work authorization, granted to F-1 “International Student” visa holders. OPT is offered to students that qualify under their degree program to engage in work directly related to their major area of study.

What is an ADA Compliant Website?

Businesses, places of employment, and governments serving the general public are required to accommodate those with disabilities of various sorts.

Bullying in the Workplace

Workplace bullying is generally known as the repeated mistreatment of a person by one or more employees that takes the form of verbal abuse or conduct or behaviors that are threatening, intimidating, or humiliating.

How do I know if I am Being Misclassified as an Independent Contractor?

If your employer controls how long your lunch is, how many hours a day you have to come into the office, how many sick days or vacations you have, how the work is done, when the work is done, and where the work is done then you are being misclassified as an independent contractor.

What Happens If A W-2 Employee Finds Out The Employer Wasn’t Withholding Employment Taxes?

Employers are responsible for sending the W-2 form to the IRS and to the employee each year, which reports the employee’s annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from his or her paychecks.

Can My Boss Fire Me for No Reason?

If you live in an at-will state, you can be fired for no reason at all.  However, if you are wrongfully terminated, you may be able to sue.

Discrimination in the Workplace

Federal law recognizes certain characteristics of individuals as immutable and therefore, protected against discrimination. Identical to federal statute, Florida law forbids workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Is it Legal to Record Employees without their Knowledge in Florida?

Do you expect to have a camera watching you while you work? In Florida, for the most part, employers are allowed to record their employees. However, certain exceptions apply.

Can my Employer Force me to show them my Social Media Account?

It seems rather absurd that any employer would dive into their employee’s privacy rights in such a way, nevertheless, what they are doing is completely legal (in about half of the United States).  

Discrimination in the Workplace

Identical to federal statute, Florida law forbids workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Moreover, other types of discrimination that are not particularly immutable, for example, pregnancy, disability, or marital status are also protected classes under both federal and state law.

What to Consider When Hiring

Do you hire someone as an employee or as a contractor?  What is the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?  How do you know if someone is legally able to work in the United States?

What is Workers Compensation Insurance?

If an employer operates their business without purchasing workers compensation even though they are required by Florida Law, then there is a high probability that a penalty will be issued. In order to avoid the penalty, any Florida business operating with four or more employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance, which in Florida will cost your business about $1.32 per $100 wages.

What is an Independent Contractor?

Businesses can choose to hire a person as an independent contractor or as an employee. Some employers rather hire independent contractors because of the reduced costs in payroll and taxes. However, an employer must be certain that the worker that is classifying as an independent contractor is truly an independent contractor.

Are Employees Legally Obligated to Take a Lunch Break?

Lunch Breaks: Are you in Compliance with Federal and State Law?

What are Restrictive Covenants in Employment?

Restrictive covenants (RC), generally, are clauses in a contract that restrict a person’s actions. They can apply to property, in which case the clause could restrict the use of land. However, for the purposes of this blog, we will discuss RCs in employment.

How does Chinese Overtime work?

The Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) provides that employees paid on an hourly basis must be compensated at the rate of one and one-half their regular wage for each hour over 40 worked in a week. It’s fairly simple, if you are paid $10 an hour and you work 50 hours in one week, those extra 10 hours must be paid at a rate of $15 per hour.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate Social Responsibility is a private business self-regulating model that helps a company to be accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and to the public. In essence, when a company adopts CSR policies and practices, its planning and decision-making reflect the potential impact of its corporate actions on various stakeholders and constituencies.

What is an I-9?

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires all employers to complete a Form I-9 to verify the identity and work authorization of every employee hired, regardless of citizenship. It is the employer’s duty to verify employment authorization. Form I-9 must be completed within three days of the first day of employment. This means…   + Read More…

Non-Compete Agreements and Independent Contractors

According to FL Statute 542.335(1)(d)(1), non-compete agreements are enforceable against an independent contractor just like an employee. However, the agreement signed may not be legally enforceable for other reasons. Non compete agreements must serve to protect an employer’s “legitimate business interest.”Florida law sets out a non-exclusive list which includes: trade secrets, confidential business or professional…   + Read More…

FLSA rights to make Mary Poppins proud!

You’re probably wondering why we even mention Mary Poppins. Well, “domestic workers” include live in nannies; workers providing child care, elder care, and care to the disabled; and workers providing household help such as cleaning and lawn care. Effective since January 1, 2015, the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime exemption for “domestic service workers” changed, having significant…   + Read More…

A Mini-Guide for Employers on Writ of Garnishment

Writ of Garnishment, a seemingly familiar term that has been heard through the grapevine and usually regarding a former employee experience. Yet, there are significant repercussions, such as liability for debt, that employers need to be aware of. We first begin by understanding what a Writ of Garnishment is. Essentially, it is an order issued…   + Read More…

How well do you know your FMLA rights?

You’ve probably heard of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in passing when a peer, co-worker, friend, or partner, takes time from work when having a child. Although it is very commonly used during such times, did you know that it also applied to many other criteria? The FMLA was established in 1993 as a…   + Read More…

USCIS New Hire Update

If you’re an employer, this is definitely something you want to note for any new hires that you may be acquiring. On November 14, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use only the new version, dated 11/14/2016….   + Read More…

Maternity / Paternity Leave

As Millennials begin to wait more and more to have children, we have also seen an uprise in demand for maternity and paternity leave. This is largely in part to the emphasis of relationship and connections that has developed over the last decade. New parents want to establish that connection with their newborns and lets face it, that’s not something you can do in a week. Currently, here is where we stand on that legally.

What is Qualified Sick Pay?

A Section 105 qualified sick-pay plan (QSPP).  A QSPP enables a business to continue some portion of an employee’s wages during a disability. It is the company’s official plan to continue wages for certain ill and injured employees.

Misclassification Between Employee And Independent Contractor

Misclassified employees are often denied access to the critical benefits and protections they are entitled. Misclassification also generates substantial losses to the federal government and state governments in the form of lower tax revenues, as well as to state unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation funds.

The Extent of Non Compete Agreements in Florida

If you’re a business owner or have EVER been an employed by a larger or specific field, you’ve probably run into or have a NON-COMPETE agreement. Just like any contract, there are limitations to everything and in case you didn’t know, according to FL Statute 542.335(1)(d)(1), non-compete agreements are enforceable against an independent contractor just like an employee.

Employee or Independent Contractor?

Should I Classify my Worker as an Employee or an Independent Contractor? It is important that employers correctly categorize their workers as either employees or independent contractors. Specifically, misclassification is not only a tax reporting issue, but also affects claims for reemployment assistance benefits. In Florida, whether a worker is an employee or an independent…   + Read More…

What are Background Checks?

Aside from certain situations where Florida law requires that employees be screened, such as law enforcement officers or those hired to work with children or the elderly, requiring an applicant or employee to submit to a screening is also possible.

Why do I need a Non-Compete Agreement?

A non-compete agreement is a contract between an employee and an employer in which the employee agrees not to enter into competition with the employer during or after employment. Non-compete agreements in employment contracts are essential in protecting your business from unfair competition, and safeguarding your trade secrets and confidential information once an employee decides to leave.

What are the Requirements for Workers Compensation Coverage in Florida?

If you are an employee who works for another person, group, or company, you are required to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance. This includes people working under any type of contract and also includes all lawfully and unlawfully employed immigrants and minors.

What if my Employer isn’t Paying me the Minimum Wage?

If your employer for whatever reason is not paying you the applicable minimum wage or the agreed wage for your hours worked, you have a legal claim to recover damages against your employer.

Penalties for Misclassifying Employees and Independant Contractors

The risks involved in the misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees are serious. Federal and state agencies have the authority to impose both monetary and non-monetary sanctions against employers who misclassify their workers. Yet, employers remain subject to civil liability with respect to the claims of their workers, as well as to potential criminal liability.