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Questions Answered by Jay P. Lechner Esq.
1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: If a worker is fired for asking employer to follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19 is there a case?

My mother works in a small office and the owners have been getting lax in taking precaution when it comes to COVID-19. First, they came into the office to work sans mask, despite being in contact with COVID positive people and tried to hide it. They let my mom work from home for a bit while she got... Read more »

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Oct 22, 2020

Generally, your mother would not have a cause of action unless there was an actual law, rule or regulation (as opposed to a non-promulgated guidance) requiring the wearing of masks and the company had a practice of violating it. On the other hand, if she were to join with a group of employees to... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: Is it illegal to fire someone for taking a political survey the company offered, and them not liking the my answers?

So, about 4 days ago I was at work in my cpu and a survey popped up from my company. I take this survey, and to my dismay, it's about politics, Amy Coney Barret, Trump, who will you vote for, etc. I am a Republican so I filled it out as such. I moved from Texas to Florida 1 month ago to take... Read more »

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Oct 22, 2020

The previous response is correct (albeit unnecessarily politically-tainted) that Florida does not recognize a civil cause of action in this scenario. However, Florida Statute § 104.081 makes it a felony for an employer "to discharge or threaten to discharge any employee in his or her service... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: Is there any action one can take against a boss putting employees in unnecessary danger?

If a boss comes into work and multiple of his family members including his wife have tested positive for COVID-19 and have told him he needs to quarantine but he comes in anyway and takes his mask off, is that creating a risky work environment? Is there any sort of legal action one could take... Read more »

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Oct 23, 2020

One option, as correctly noted by the previous poster, would be to quit. Of course, then you are suffering the full brunt of your boss's callous actions, losing your income and possibly the ability to support your family, even though you did nothing wrong.

Another option would be to...
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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: If I don't like the outcome of the Labor Board, can I take my old employer to court instead?

I am owed $5000 from my old employer. I went to the Labor Board and since I didn't work over 40 hours I only can get 7.25 minimum wage which means my old employer would only owe about $1500. He was supposed to pay by August 7th, but still hasn't. I am unhappy with the amount I am getting... Read more »

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Aug 28, 2020

Yes. If by "Labor Board" you mean the U.S. Department of Labor, they only have jurisdiction to enforce the federal overtime and minimum wage laws. The state minimum wage in Florida is $8.56 per hour. You could pursue a civil action for the higher state minimum wage amount plus potential... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: Is an employer responsible for supplying equipment/gear needed to do the job required?

I work in a freezer warehouse. With below 0 temperature for a minimum of 9 hours a day. My employer tells me that I have to supply my own boots, suit and gloves.

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Aug 28, 2020

Federal OSHA regulations provide that personal protective equipment (PPE) used to comply with the OSHA law "shall be provided by the employer at no cost to employees." Clothing used in artificially-controlled environments with extreme hot or cold temperatures, such as freezers, generally... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: Grant scam from my employer

I work in a small business and when covid 19 started I had a pay cut with out any warning un till I say my paycheck short by 1200 a month. I was told I’ll get pay back my money after he gets a grant no he told me he didn’t get it and won’t give me the money I was owed in the last 2 mibths... Read more »

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on May 12, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Fraud may be actionable under the federal False Claims Act. Examples of potential fraud include: (1) an employer applying for a SBA PPP loan, despite not meeting the financial criteria; (2) the employer misrepresenting its payroll numbers to obtain a PPP loan; (3)... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: Can an employer make me get tested for Covid-19 on my day off without pay?

*No signs or symptoms, just requiring everyone to do so

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on May 1, 2020

The EEOC has opined that employers may require COVID-19 testing for employees if conducted in a non-discriminatory manner. The DOL has opined that time spent by current employees traveling to and from required (non-voluntary) medical tests, waiting for and undergoing these tests is... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: I drive my Personal vehicle to the office then get in the Company truck and drive to job site my company dont pay me

For the 1st hour to the job site and from the job site to my personal vehicle Is this legal

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Apr 29, 2020

But see 29 C.F.R. § 785.38 (“[T]ravel from job site to job site during the workday, must be counted as hours worked. Where an employee is required to report at a meeting place to receive instructions or to perform other work there, or to pick up and to carry tools, the travel from the designated... Read more »

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5 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation, Employment Law and Personal Injury for Florida on
Q: I slipped and fell at work. Company provide no non slip mats in kitchen. Are they grossly negligent?

They provide no non slip mats for wet floors that they know always get wet, from ice to drinks to spills. They also don’t have good enough drainage as it’s under a fixture blocked by ice bin. It’s a kitchen. Also my back already has been hurt before so because of them not taking proper care... Read more »

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Apr 18, 2020

I agree with the previous responses that this may be covered under workers' compensation. In addition, OSHA recommends restaurants use non-skid mats and/or other non-slip floor surfaces in areas that tend to get wet. A complaint could be filed at www.osha.gov.

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: Am I entitled to renewed PTO on my work anniversary date if I am under furlough and use it during furlough?

My employer is a hospitality corporation that put everybody on furlough until further notice due to covid-19. I am an hourly employee in Florida. The corporation paid out all of available PTO prior to April but my anniversary was on April 11 and I should have had the number of PTO Days renewed. Am... Read more »

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Apr 18, 2020

If the company has less than 500 employees, you may have a case based upon the company's interference with your paid leave rights under the CARES Act. Contact a qualified employment attorney.

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: As an exempt, salaried employee can my employer reduce my salary without reducing hours or expected output?

No disciplinary action

No unapproved time away

This is in response to maintaining the organization's cash position in response to covid-19

This action is being levied against several hundred salaried employees.

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Apr 8, 2020

Unless you have an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, your employer can reduce your salary based on these extraordinary circumstances. If the salary falls below $684 per week, you may he entitled to overtime compensation.

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Civil Rights for Florida on
Q: Can you be furloughed if you are on fmla like me?Of 4 managers in my department, I was the only one furloughed.

I am on approved intermittent fmla from my company ( a large publicly traded one) to take care of my elderly mother. I would come in to work about 2 hrs later than regular start time daily to care for my 94 yr old mom before her caregiver arrived. We had been working from home for 2 weeks due to... Read more »

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Apr 8, 2020

You can be furloughed if you are on FMLA leave, but you cannot be furloughed because you are on FMLA leave. There are a number of other potential issues raised by your message too complex to be addressed in an on-line response. Contact an employment attorney.

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: What if you work for an employer that is considered an essential business and...

What if you work for an employer that is considered an essential business and you work in close contact with other employee's and there is not adequate safety protection like Masks, Gloves, disinfectant, can you refuse to go to work, if the employer refuse to provide the safety items?

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Apr 2, 2020

If you believe working conditions are unsafe or unhealthful, you may file a complaint with OSHA and ask for an inspection. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for filing an OSHA complaint. Moreover, if an employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: Yesterday I was told I’m being furloughed due to Coronavirus. I am 8 months pregnant - does my job have to honor my LOA?
Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Apr 1, 2020

If you were singled out for furlough while other non-pregnant employees were not, the company may be liable for discrimination. You may also qualify for unemployment benefits. Moreover, if the purpose of furloughing workers is to avoid paying paid leave under the new Coronavirus Paid Leave Law,... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: Im a salary paid director of a child care in clearwater, FL The business temporarily closed Coronavirus do they pay me?

I have been paid on a salary basis for at least ten years now they do not want to pay me due to covid19 closure

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Apr 1, 2020

In the absence of an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, a company may cease operations due to business necessity caused by the pandemic and not pay employees who are not performing work. You may be eligible for unemployment benefits. On the other hand, if the purpose of... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: My wife was sent home from her job without pay due to a positive COVID-19 test result at my hospital. Is this legal?

I work in a hospital and do not have direct contact with an patients. We recently had a positive test result at the facility, and the patient is already discharged.

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Mar 31, 2020

It is legal for an employer to take reasonable actions to protect the health and safety of its employees and customers. However, if an employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19, that employee would be entitled to up to two weeks of... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Florida on
Q: I resigned from my employer, a large engineering firm, and they refuse to pay me for my last weeks of work.

The amount could be settled in small claims court, but I am unsure where to make that claim, my local office location (Orlando), corporate HQ office (Dallas), or payroll processing office (Pasadena, CA). Would an attorney help me for less than $10,000 owed.

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Mar 24, 2020

This is a type of matter for which an employment attorney could help you. Often these disputes can be resolved prior to filing suit. If not, your actual place of employment generally is the correct jurisdiction. There may be other issues, so you should probably speak with an attorney.

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Health Care Law for Florida on
Q: there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 at my workplace, and the management team has not notified any staff

My management team has not notified any staff members of the cases of COVID-19, and have hidden the cases to an extent. The employees have found out due to word of mouth from close friends of the effected individuals, and I am working on getting contact with the individuals themselves. Assuming the... Read more »

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Mar 19, 2020

This morning, the President signed into law the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, which provides 2-weeks paid leave to certain employees (not in the health care field) for a number of reasons, including if they have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: i was just informed by my supervisor that hr is investigating me for working off the clock.

i was unaware this was illegal . i don't want to be fired . what can i do?

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Dec 24, 2019

It’s not illegal for you to work off the clock, but it is illegal for a company to not pay an employee for time worked off the clock. A company can discipline an employee for working off the clock, but must pay him/her for that time, including any overtime if it pushes the work time over 40 hours... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Florida on
Q: I'm on 1099, but I'm just an employee. The owner offered to change to w2, but at a reduced rate of pay. Is this legal?
Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq. answered on Dec 18, 2019

Misclassifying employees as 1099 independent contractors is a common tactic used by employers to avoid various expenses, including taxes, unemployment and workers's compensation costs and overtime compensation. Changing you to a W2 is not illegal, nor is reducing your pay. The real question is... Read more »

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