Employment Law Attorney
From our office in Ocala, James P. Tarquin, P.A. maintains a comprehensive employment law practice representing employees throughout Citrus County and Central Florida. Our attorneys handle legal claims dealing with employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, FMLA, employment contract disputes and more. If you’ve been fired or treated unfairly at work for illegal reasons, or if workplace conditions are being made intolerable for you because of your race, religion, gender, disability or other protected factors, we want to hear from you. Our dedicated and experienced Inverness, Florida employment lawyers fight every day to vindicate the rights of Florida employees and make sure their rights are respected or that they are fairly compensated when their rights are violated.
See below for some of the firm’s main areas of practice in the field of employment law. If you’ve been wrongfully discharged or had your legal rights violated at work, call us at 352-401-7671 for a free consultation to discuss your situation and find out how we can help.
Florida state and federal laws prohibit discrimination in employment against people based on certain characteristics, including race, national origin, sex/gender, age, disability, and more. Laws like Title VII, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disability Act, the Florida Civil Rights Act, and others prevent employers from making adverse employment decisions based on prohibited factors in the application and hiring practice, and throughout the course of employment up to and including termination.
Workers who have been unlawfully discriminated against can sue to get their jobs back or reverse other unfavorable employment decisions and can also recover money damages for any harm done. Our skilled and experienced employment lawyers take the time to understand the situation, identify the applicable law, and pursue a case that vindicates employee rights and holds employers accountable for their failures to follow the law and protect their workers.
The EEOC and the courts recognize two different forms of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor conditions favorable or unfavorable working conditions on the employee’s acceptance or refusal to engage in sexual activities or a romantic relationship. A boss who promises a promotion, raise or other favorable treatment in exchange for sexual favors engages in quid pro quo sexual harassment, just as does a manager who negatively transfers, reassigns or denies a promotion or raise to an employee who refuses to go out on a date.
A hostile work environment is created when an employee is subjected to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is so severe and pervasive that it makes the workplace a hostile place to be. A hostile work environment can be created by comments, gestures, unwanted touching, telling dirty jokes, allowing pornography in the breakroom, graffiti in the bathroom, etc. A hostile work environment can be created by supervisors, co-workers or even customers. The employer has a duty to investigate and remedy hostile work environment claims and to have a policy in place that prohibits sexual harassment and provides a procedure for employees to complain.
Sexual harassment can be male-on-female or female-on-male, and courts have also recognized that same-sex sexual harassment is actionable as well. Harassment is not just limited to sexual harassment either. Hostile work environment claims can be based on race, religion, or other protected characteristics.
Over half of all complaints made to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) involve retaliation claims. Retaliation occurs when an employee is adversely affected in employment because the employee complained to the employer or a government agency about discrimination, unpaid wages, safety concerns or other workplace violations, or the employee participated in a government investigation. Retaliation includes if the employee was terminated but also if any adverse employment decision regarding wages, workings hours, assignment or any other terms or conditions of employment was made in retaliation for opposing discrimination or other wrongful acts.
James P. Tarquin, P.A. protects whistleblowers and other employees who come forward with questions or concerns about working conditions and are penalized for their protected activity.
Most private-sector workers in Florida are hired at will, meaning they can be summarily fired for reasons that don’t seem fair, and they can’t really do anything about it. But even at-will employees have legal protections, and there are many reasons for termination that are not only unfair but unlawful as well. For instance, employees cannot be fired due to unlawful discrimination or in retaliation for exercising protected rights. Also, some employees may be told their employment is at-will when actions by the employer have actually created a contractual relationship granting certain employment rights.
It can be hard as an at-will employee to know whether a termination was legal or unlawful. If you suspect the termination was wrongful, give our dedicated Central Florida employment law attorneys a call at our office in Ocala. We offer a free consultation to learn the facts about your termination and let you know whether we think you have a case.
Family and Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) gives employees the right to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave every year due to a serious health condition of the employee or to take care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or for the birth of a child or placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care. Some of the legal issues that swirl around FMLA claims include covered employers and employee eligibility, the right to return to work at the same position or an equivalent position, and the ability to take leave on an intermittent basis. Our attorneys pursue claims for employees whose FMLA rights have been interfered with by their employers or who have been retaliated against at work for taking or requesting FMLA leave or otherwise exercising their rights under the FMLA.
Employment Contract Disputes
Most employees in Florida are hired on an “at-will” basis. This means there is no employment contract in place, and employees can quit or be terminated at any time for any reason or without giving or being given a reason (so long as the reason is not discriminatory or a pretext for hiding unlawful discrimination). Where a contract does exist, though, employees cannot be terminated except according to the terms of the contract. For instance, contracts might include a duration of employment or provide that termination can only be effected “for cause” or for specifically listed causes. Litigation can arise when either party alleges that the other has breached the contract by failing to abide by its terms. The office of James P. Tarquin, P.A. can help.
Free Consultation and No Recovery, No Fee
At James P. Tarquin, P.A., we offer a free initial consultation to understand the facts in your situation and let you know whether we think you have a claim. We also take cases on a contingency fee basis in appropriate circumstances, meaning we advance the costs of litigation and only charge a fee if we are successful on your behalf. Call 352-401-7671 to discuss your concerns with a knowledgeable and experienced Florida employment lawyer. We are at your service, including evening or weekend telephone consultations available by appointment.