Archive for August, 2011

In Florida and most other states, where an employee quits his/her job, they are typically not entitled to recover unemployment benefits. The exception to this rule is where an employee quits based upon good cause attributable to the employer.

Believe it or not, in a case in Miami, a female employee quit her employment based upon the sexual harassment of her employer, and sought unemployment thereafter. Florida unemployment refused her unemployment benefits questioning whether or not she was sexually harassed because she did not go to the police or seek counseling. The employee claimed that she tolerated the actions of her employer for a while because she needed her job, but could not tolerate it any longer and quit.

The Third District Court of Appeal in Miami, thankfully, ruled that this employee was entitled to her unemployment benefits. The Court ruled, “Additionally, sexual harassment can continue for several years before the victim makes public her complaint . . . . Considering a job is usually a person’s economic lifeline, the claimant’s failure to contact outside authorities regarding her complaint cannot be called unreasonable or inherently improbable.”

The case is 940 Lincoln Road Enterprises v. Margarita Hernandez.

If you are refused unemployment benefits by your employer or the unemployment office, seek the advice of an employment lawyer. There are many deadlines to be observed to protect your legal rights so don’t let them slip by. Feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm with questions on your unemployment benefits.

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Long time no blog, now that summer vacation is over its time to getting back to updating my readers on whats the latest and greatest in employment law issues. A fitness companies recent settlement with the EEOC, shows that sexual harassment of employees is bad and even worse is when you retaliate against them rather than attempt to remedy their complaints of discrimination and harassment.

Allstar Fitness, Seattle, has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The agency claimed that a Latina janitorial worker who worked at two Allstar Fitness clubs in Seattle was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her immediate supervisor. The EEOC also said that the supervisor forced her to have sex with him on a regular basis and warned her to keep quiet about it.

When the worker told the supervisor not to harass her anymore, he fired her the next day, according to the EEOC investigation. After she reported the supervisor to the company’s upper management, the EEOC and the worker claim that Allstar Fitness failed to investigate the matter and expressed disbelief in her allegations.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in July 2010 on behalf of the 38-year-old worker, a mother of three.

EEOC District Director Michael Baldonado said the settlement will ensure that Allstar Fitness implements employee training, written workplace policies and a complaint procedure “to help prevent this from happening again.”

“No one should be forced to choose between personal dignity and the paycheck that feeds your family,” Baldonado said.

If you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace report it to your Human Resources Department or the EEOC. If the situation does not get fixed or if you suffer retaliation as a result, speak with a lawyer that handles employment law matters. Feel free to consult with the Behren Law Firm and Scott Behren on these types of issues.

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