In Florida, as in most states, employment is "at-will." This means that an employee may be fired for any reason, no matter how arbitrary or irrational, or for no reason at all. However, the "at-will" employment power is not absolute and is subject to some exceptions.
Under federal law, employers cannot fire an employee based on a protected characteristic such as race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, age, disability, and citizenship status.
Under Florida law, employers cannot discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, disability, age, marital status, AIDS/HIV, or sickle cell trait.
When Can I Bring a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida?
In Florida, you cannot be terminated for bringing a good-faith claim for workers’ compensation. If you are terminated for this reason, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination suit. If a Florida employer fires an employee for discriminatory reasons, in violation of an employment contract, or in retaliation for exercising their employee rights, the employee may have a legal claim against their employer for wrongful termination.
Also, Florida law does not allow an employer to fire an employee for reporting illegal activities, policies, or practices by the employer to the authorities (i.e. whistleblowing). But for this law to apply, the employee must first bring the matter to the attention of the employer, in writing. Afterwards, the employee can seek a court order preventing further violations of the law, lost wages, reinstatement of employment, and other damages.
How Can I Bring a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Florida?
Before bringing a wrongful discrimination lawsuit against an employer in Florida, you must first file a complaint with the appropriate government agency. In Florida, the Florida Commission on Human Relations enforces state laws that prohibit wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuits.
Also, under Florida laws, employers may not fire or threaten an employee for making a workers compensation claim or retaliate against an employee who wants to file a claim against the employer.
Should I Consult an Attorney?
Wrongful termination is a confusing area of law and navigating the legal system may be difficult. An florida employment lawyer can help you determine whether there is a legal basis for a claim, and if so, she can help you recover monetary damages.