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Stuart M. Address
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Stuart Address’s Answers

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  • Can an employer force me to sign off on a half hour lunch taken when I did not have one?

    My employer tells me it is federal law that I MUST clock out after six hours worked, but often I have so much work to do that this impossible. They make me sign a release to take the half hour off anyway. Is this legal?

    Stuart’s Answer

    You must absolutely be paid for all time worked. If you are forced to clock out and work even a minute of your lunch break, the entire lunch break is compensable time. Even if breaks are required, if you don't take one and work, you must be paid. If you violate a company policy, they can fire you but you must be paid for all time worked.

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  • Can a restrictive covenant be presented 23 months into employment with no change in position or salary?

    Am I obligated to sign restrictive covenant? I have been with the company for 23 months and have no change in position or salary. Shouldn't this have been presented when the position was offered?

    Stuart’s Answer

    Yes. A restrictive covenant can be presented at any time. If you are already employed, the consideration for executing the restrictive covenant is continued employment assuming you are an at will employee. All restrictive covenants though can be reviewed for duration and geographic scope in the event you need to take another position. Florida law, though, does favor restrictive covenants so personal hardship would not be a basis for setting one aside. If you do not sign it, you are likely to be terminated.

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  • I need to sue my ex employer i went to jail for no reason for the first time in my life i was 18

    I was blame for kicking the manager car on 11/26/13 on the day i went to go get my 37$ check. He lied on the police report saying that the damage was $1500 (felony) and i was fired on 11/05/13 which was the first day i started working for them aga...

    Stuart’s Answer

    You are certainly entitled to your wages. The issue of timing is generally simple, but given the termination and re-hiring, an attorney would need to examine more detailed facts. As for "perjury", since the statement to the police was not under oath there was no perjury. If the statement was not simply an estimate (as another responding attorney suggested) and was willfully fraudulent and this led to the arrest for a felony, then there may be a basis for a malicious prosecution and/or defamation action. Again, an attorney would have to review detailed facts to evaluate such a potential claim.

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  • I was fired. I got unemployment benefits. My employer appealed, submitting falsified records and testimony and won. My options?

    This is a diagnostic imaging company employing about 35 people. I was an x-ray tech. I worked there three years and was still at starting pay. Several times I requested to be brought to par with the other techs. Instead, I was fired. My boss wrote...

    Stuart’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It sounds as if the hearing you are describing was the "hearing officer" level appeal from the original determination that you were entitled to unemployment. Once the hearing officer has now ruled on the appeal, you can appeal to the Florida Board but that appeal will only determine whether the hearing officer made an error of law. It will not examine the facts or permit new witnesses. The only time new evidence could have been presented or argument made about the falsity of evidence would have been at the hearing. One caveat. If you are truly able to prove that the documents were manufactured and false, you may have a separate claim in circuit court for abuse of process, fraud on the court, defamation, etc.

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  • Is an employer responsible to keep an employee from harms way? While in management I received threats and my empl did nothing.

    In Arizona I received hate mail, death threats, cyber bullying etc..for 2 years. I ended up leaving my good job to get away from it. I came to Florida. My new employer and staff received horrible emails about me from this same person. I have lost...

    Stuart’s Answer

    I agree with counsel's response and would add a few comments. First, while an employer is responsible for protecting you from a hostile work environment that phrase is often misunderstood. You must be protected from a hostile work environment arising from a violation of a statute; i.e. sexual harassment, discrimination, etc. There is no general protection. Second, if an employer knows or has reason to know of a dangerous propensity of another employee, it may be responsible for actions of that employee against another during business hours on business property. Third, what you are describing may be defamation so it would be important that you or an attorney work to ascertain what was actually said, by whom, to whom, and about when.

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  • Should you inform your employee that you have filed an EEOC complaint? Before or after filing or not at all?

    Claim involves co-worker threat and management protected him. Coworker eventually fired. Nothing done to managers.

    Stuart’s Answer

    The response of the other attorney is accurate. I would note that if you filed an EEOC Charge, the employer is going to find out fairly soon when the Charge is sent to it for response. You may want to advise the employer, in writing, perhaps e-mail, so that there is proof of your advising them so that if they take any action against you it is clear that you advised them and you may have the ability to argue that any adverse action was retaliatory.

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  • Can I formulate a legal complaint against a company that fired me because of an unfair reason?

    I was working at a restaurant as busser, there I used to earn money from the service charge that is automatically charge to every check,there is a specific sharing system to share this money between all the employees that earn from this pool, I f...

    Stuart’s Answer

    In addition to the comments of the other attorneys who responded, I would say that if the tip pool was unlawful you may have rights under discrimination laws and perhaps the Florida Whistleblower Act. You should consult with an attorney promptly to determine your rights and how to best preserve any rights you may have which may require certain steps to be taken to protect and/or enhance any claim.

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  • Can I be written up for sexual misconduct if the alleged victim never made a formal complaint?

    Upper management gave me a letter of reprimand. Labor relations recruited witnesses to support their claims and the alleged victim, who was a new hire on probation, claimed I sexually harassed her. The two witnesses did not provide sworn statement...

    Stuart’s Answer

    An employer will often terminate someone upon an accusation to protect itself against the alleged victim employee making a discrimination claim since if the employer takes prompt remedial action it has a defense. Sometimes this results in unfair action against an accused employee, but there is nothing unlawful about it (absent a contract providing more rights than the typical at will employee or some public employee status providing you with additional rights or perhaps a union contract).

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  • My boss is violent , if they fire me, can i sue them

    i work for state, im in probational period of employment, i hired 3 monthhs ago and probation is one year. my boss is very verbally abusive and several times shouted at me violently. if i report him to HR , can he fire me? or is it different for s...

    Stuart’s Answer

    The other attorney's "it depends" response is accurate. Generally, though, a verbally abusive boss does not violate the law. The courts refer to it as "bad boss syndrome" and unless it rises to the level of discrimination, etc., it is usually not actionable. However, if you complain with a reasonable belief that you are complaining about unlawful action (i.e. you think its discrimination but it is not), you still have rights against retaliation. If you are in a union, check with them first as your contract as a public employee may provide you with more rights than the typical private employee.

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  • FMLA job reinstatement problems

    I am currently on FMLA. My employer is a staffing agency. I was under a contract with their client. The client has filled my position when I was in FMLA. I reported one month before the end of my FMLA that I'll return to work. My FMLA is ending in...

    Stuart’s Answer

    This is a complicated issue which I have recently dealt with for another client. Your staffing agency is your primary employer. The job site to which you report is a secondary employer. The FMLA rights are assigned to the primary employer. The secondary employer is only liable for FMLA violations if the primary employer (the staffing agency) asks that you be permitted to return and the secondary employer is still using employees from the primary employer. If not, then it is the duty of the primary employer (the staffing agency) to ensure that it finds you "equivalent employment" otherwise it may be deemed to have interfered with your right to FMLA leave since a return to the same or "equivalent" employment is part of the employer's obligations under the FMLA. You should consult with an attorney promptly.

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