I was just fired today for what they said "tardiness, not completing work on time, and being disruptive". This happened one week after I found out I was pregnant and 2 days after they legally documented the fact that I'm epileptic. I was written up 1 time for being tardy (on 4 occasions each less than 5 minutes late). Every other day I'm there at least 20 minutes early, stay late, and bring work home. On average I worked 50 hours/week. The only time I didn't complete my work on time was due to an epileptic episode. However, I worked 12 hours the next day to get caught up. I never hit 90 days, but they offered me severance if I agree to sign a waiver releasing all liabilities/claims arising from employment. This makes me feel they are lying about the reason behind firing me. Is this legal?
In Florida, employees are presumed to be "at will." At-will employees may be terminated for ANY reason, so long as it's not illegal. Generally, employees who work under an employment contract can only be terminated for reasons specified in the contract. In Florida, it is very difficult to overcome the at-will presumption.
In Florida, you can be fired for anything as long as it's not one of the following reasons. Employers are not allowed to terminate or discriminate against employees for age, race, sex , religion, national origin, disability or pregnancy.
It's also illegal for an employer to terminate an employee for refusing to break a law, in retaliation for filing a discrimination or safety claim, for taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, without following its own stated procedure or policy, or for reasons not contained in the employment contract, if one exists.
If you feel that you were actually fired a reason other than being tardy, then you should speak to an attorney in your area that handles employment discrimination claims. I wouldn't sign any release until you speak to an attorney. It's weird to me they are offering you severance and you were only employed there less than 90 days.
Zonald Spinks, Esq. Phone: (813) 413-5352 Fax: (813) 658-5893 Twitter: @ZonaldLaw Skype: Zonaldlaw Disclaimer: legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. This information is not intended as legal advice for an individual situation, it is only provided as information.
I generally agree with other counsel here and think you need to consult an attorney now. Do not sign or waive without talking to an Employment Law attorney in person with a copy of the waiver document.
We can't give a definitive opinion because that would require facts we don't have here.
You may or may not have a Pregnancy Discrimination Act claim, and ADA claim, or both with additional claims for retaliatory firing.
You may have been lawfully fired in an at-will termination.
Spending an hour with a local Employment law attorney will shake this out.
Sorry for your troubles, congratulations on the new life, and good luck.
[Here Comes The Disclaimer] Avvo is a great place for people to share information and that's what we are doing here. Nothing in the answer above should be construed as retaining an attorney or receiving the benefit of retained counsel. We encourage you to retain an attorney and dig into you particular concerns. I urge you to consult another lawyer if you wish a second opinion. Time limitations may affect your rights to pursue a claim; therefore, you should act promptly in consulting another lawyer, or otherwise pursuing your claim. That said, thanks for reading this far and best of luck in all you do.
Do not sign a release until you speak with a lawyer. This doesnt sound right.
Mr. Pascale is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and time-lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Pascale strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to insure proper advice is received.
I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are for information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, do not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.
Some of the guides I have posted on Avvo may be helpful to you.
Please look at my Avvo guide to at-will employment which may help you understand your rights now and in the future: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/an-overview-of-at-will-employment-all-states.
Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA: http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=disability-discrimination-in-employment.
Please look at my Avvo guide on pregnancy discrimination: http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=pregnancy-leave-federal-and-california-rights
Employment law is complicated and fact specific. You may wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney in your state. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in your area, please go to the web site of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.nela.org, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.
Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and in many cities. On the NELA web site, you can look at the list of affiliates. Some attorneys will be listed in the affiliate membership list, some in the national organization membership list, and some in both. Being listed in one or both lists should not influence your selection because attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase the listing in the national directory. Each local affiliate has its own rules for listing.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
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