15 Things That Your Florida Boss Cannot Do

When it comes to your job, it might seem like your boss has all the power. It can be hard to have a level playing field. However, laws and regulations apply to your boss and your entire place of employment. Here are 15 things that your Florida boss cannot do explained by our Tampa employment law attorneys.

1. Hand Out Job Assignments Based on Gender

Under United States civil rights laws (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964)1 and the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA)2, it is illegal to discriminate against employees based on gender. Discrimination can take a lot of forms, including making job assignments based on gender.

For example, your boss can’t assume that one gender would rather do the heavy lifting and the other would prefer to take service positions. Mangers may not decide job assignments and other aspects of employment based on the gender of employees.

woman attorney working with a male attorney

2. Refuse To Make Someone Customer-Facing Based on Their Race or National Origin

Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based on race or national origin. The boss may not refuse to hire an employee or put them in a certain position based on race. Some exceptions may exist in casting calls for actors, but in general, discrimination based on race or national origin is prohibited.

3. Stay Silent on Sexual Harassment

If you report sexual harassment at work, your employer has a legal obligation to respond appropriately. Sexual harassment laws prohibit inappropriate behavior from bosses, coworkers and even clients. Even subtle comments may be enough grounds to require your boss to take action. Your employer must take appropriate action to stop the harassment.

4. Make You Work Off the Clock

When you work, you get paid—period. There’s no way to skirt minimum wage laws or get more from workers by requiring employees to work off the clock. Some employees are classified as exempt from overtime if they are paid a salary. However, for non-exempt employees, when you work, you are paid accordingly. Asking employees to clock out while still working is something your boss cannot legally do.

5. Ignore a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Florida’s workers’ compensation laws are found in Florida Revised Statutes Chapter 4403. If an employer falls under Florida workers’ compensation laws, they must file claims appropriately and follow a timeline for processing the claim. Your boss may not try to ignore a workers compensation claim or talk someone out of reporting a work-related illness or injury.

Workers' Compensation Claim

6. Fail To Allow FMLA Leave

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows covered workers to take leave for bereavement, sickness, disability, adoption, the birth of a child or a serious medical condition of a family member. In general, workers with a one-year or longer work history with an employer with 50 or more workers must allow FMLA leave.

7. Deny an Applicant Who Is Pregnant

Applicants who are pregnant must be treated the same as all other applicants. An employer may not refuse to hire an applicant because they are pregnant. Similarly, your boss cannot prohibit a mother from taking a reasonable amount of time to attend to a nursing child. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1964 prohibits discrimination because of pregnancy and childbirth.

8. Treat You Differently if You’re Married

Several airlines in the United States used to have a no-marriage rule for flight attendants. They used to force flight attendants out of their jobs if they got married. Today, anti-discrimination laws prohibit your boss from treating you differently, whether you’re married or single.

9. Fire You for Being Over 40

Discrimination laws prohibit the mistreatment of older workers. The Age Discrimination Act of 1967 and The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibit discrimination against people over the age of 40. Your boss can’t refuse to hire you or deny you a promotion because of your age. Plus, there are prohibitions against special treatment for people of all ages for programs and activities receiving federal assistance.

10. Discriminate Against a Person Who Identifies As LGBTQ+

When the Supreme Court decided Bostock v. Clayton County4, they banned discrimination on the basis of LGBTQ+ identification. The court said that because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sex, discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community is a form of sex discrimination.

11. Retaliate Because You Cooperate in an Investigation

Just like it’s illegal for your boss to engage in unlawful discrimination, it’s illegal for your boss to prohibit you from cooperating in an investigation. When someone else makes a complaint of discrimination, you may participate without fear of retaliation from your boss. They may not silence you by targeting you for being cooperative.

12. Refuse Reasonable Accommodation of Religion

Your employer must accommodate your closely held religious beliefs. When there is minimal impact to the employer, they must take steps to allow you to participate in your religion. That may mean flexible scheduling. They may not give out job assignments based on perceived customer preferences for one religion or another. Anti-religious discrimination laws are not only applicable to the major religions but anyone with a sincerely held religious belief.

13. Pay You Less Than Minimum Wage

The State of Florida and federal minimum wage laws apply to all workers. There may be different standards if you’re a tipped employee. However, in general, your boss does not have a legal reason to pay you less than the minimum wage.

14. Ask Illegal Questions on Job Applications

Your boss may try to discriminate against you right at your job interview. They may not ask you illegal questions about personal things that are in protected categories like your marital status, children or religion.

15. Claim Too Much on a Non-Compete

Your boss may try to keep you locked into your job with a hefty non-compete agreement. They may try to use an employment contract with a non-compete to essentially prohibit you from working anywhere, ever again. Fortunately, your boss can’t do that. Claiming too much in the scope of a non-compete is something your boss can’t do.

Attorney for Illegal Activity From a Boss in Florida

Has your boss done something illegal? Do you think you may be the victim of unlawful activity or treatment from a boss? You have rights. Let us help you enforce them. Contact our employment attorneys in Tampa today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your case.

Legal References:

1Civil Rights Act, 19 U.S.C. § 2000e-16 (1964)

2FLA. STAT. § 760 (2020)

3FLA. STAT. § 440 (2020)

4Supreme Court of the United States, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, decided 15 June 2020

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