There are several alternatives to going to court. The most common sense way is to either directly try to resolve it with the other party, or have the party’s attorneys discuss it with each other. Other means of resolution are mediation, that’s a very common method, and also, arbitration. Both are alternatives that have some favorable aspects, as opposed to going to court. Mediation involves voluntarily discussing the dispute with a neutral third party, and whatever they agree upon is mutually agreeable. Arbitration is the party’s hire a third party, another lawyer, and the lawyer will decide the case in sitting as a private judge. The parties will split the expense of this private judge deciding the case. …
An oral agreement is usually binding but not always. Florida has a statute of frauds so certain types of contracts are not binding unless they’re in writing and signed by the party against whom it’s charged. For example, selling a house or a piece of real property requires a written agreement. It has to be signed by the other party. Commercial leases exceeding a year’s length will need to be in writing. There’s a witness requirement of 2 witnesses to the execution of the lease. Many other contracts can be enforced simply because they’re oral contracts where one part has agreed and as somebody has often said, its simply a handshake where they’ve mutually agreed orally as to what the contract is.
A protected characteristic would include things such as the age of the person or their gender or their race or their ethnicity. Those are factors that the low considers to be typically irrelevant to whether a person is really doing a good job. Most employers aren’t going to be interested in what the person’s race is or their ethnicity is, they’re going to be interested typically in whether they’re doing a good job. That’s where the law forbids employers from taking into consideration certain protected characteristics such as those I’ve described.
The Temporary employees can file discrimination claims, but only certain types of discrimination claims. Some claims require a certain period of employment for the employee to bring the claim. In other words, they had to be with the employer for a certain period of time to be able to have rights under that. An example would be under the Family Medical Leave Act where it would require a certain hours of employment and certain duration of employment to be able to have rights under that particular statute. Many employees can bring discrimination claims simply as temporary employees. There is no time period that they had to be employed by the employer, particularly if there is discrimination based on for example race or age or ethnicity.
Typically no employee is entitled to severance pay unless there is a contractual obligation during the employment relationship where the employer and the employee had agreed that earlier in the relationship that when the relationship ends the employee is entitled to a certain amount of severance.
Not all employers are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. There are 2 basic types of coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. One type, the typical type is enterprise coverage meaning that the employer has to have at least $500,000 in revenues, and it has to have at least 2 employees. There are other types of coverage, which are called traditional coverage where there’s certain businesses that are going to otherwise be covered in the Fair Labor Standards Act regardless of the revenues and the number of employees.
There are many exceptions to employment at will, and these are what are called discrimination laws. When an employee is being discriminated against based on race, on age, ethnicity, whistle-blower status, worker’s compensation status, these are exceptions to the at will rule that have been created by the courts as well as by the legislatures. These allow the employees to enjoy protections where the employer cannot simply saying, “You’re an at-will employee because I’m terminating you.” The laws say you’re not allowed to fire somebody for these particular reasons, and if you do you’re subject to damages for those claims.
An employer can require an employee to arbitrate claims after they’ve been hired, but there has to be a written agreement signed by both the employer and the employee. Courts will typically honor those agreements because courts encourage arbitration to minimize the impact in courts and allow the parties, both the employer and employee to resolve the claims in the matter they’ve contracted for.
If there are untrue statements made by the former employer, the question is, were these defamatory statements? If they’re defamatory or they cast the employee in a false light, then there can be a claim for defamation. There also might be a claim for retaliation. That’s why it’s typically advisable for employers to be very careful about what they say about an employee to others after the employment relationship had ended.
An employer typically cannot hold your paycheck until you return equipment because the employer always has to pay at least the minimum wage. Some employers attempt to do this where they withhold a paycheck. In that case, the employee can bring a claim for minimum wages as well as for their withheld paycheck. Employer, however, may counter claim for whatever its losses are for these items that it claims need to be returned.