Florida News & Analysis

  • Holding supervisors to higher standard

    One of the keystones of most progressive discipline systems is that context matters. The overarching goal of a successful system is consistency and fairness in meting out the discipline: Like offenses should be treated alike. But the system also provides leeway to recognize that not all violations of the same rule are equal. Some insubordination may be minor back talk because the employee is having a bad day; other insubordination can be flagrant and even pose a safety risk. The offending employee's role also can make a difference. Supervisors are paid for their good judgment and therefore can be held to a higher standard. Read on as our federal court of appeals approves how a Jacksonville-based employer considered context in determining the appropriate level of discipline.

  • Florida courts requiring personal attendance at mediation

    If you or your company is involved in a lawsuit in Florida, at some point you will be required to mediate it. Increasingly, Florida courts are requiring that this conference be attended in-person by representatives who have authority to resolve all the issues in the case. A recent order by a Tampa federal magistrate judge in a case involving wage and hour law claims continues this trend. In the order, the court denied a joint request by the parties to conduct a settlement conference by telephone.

  • Now's the time to consider marijuana policy

    State laws legalizing the use of marijuana—whether for medical or recreational use—have been a fast-moving target over the last several years. Currently, there are only 16 states in which marijuana is still illegal for both medical and recreational purposes. And out of those 16, most allow products that contain small amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

  • Do you have a ghost of a chance against ghosting?

    If you're like us (and Seth Meyers), you might have a hard time keeping up with all the latest slang terms having to do with new technologies and trends in social interactions and other aspects of modern life. One such term is "ghosting," which is when a person just stops responding to text messages, usually from someone they recently started dating. The term has slowly spread to other situations in which one person suddenly disappears from another person's life, including—you guessed it—when an employee or job applicant is a no-show with no communication or explanation to the employer.

  • Brackets, buzzer-beaters and . . . criminal liability?

    Super Bowl LIII has passed, but March Madness is right around the corner. You know what that means—betting, brackets, office pools, . . . and potential civil and criminal liability. So sorry to spoil the fun.

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey finds lack of understanding of when workers will retire. U.S. employers are rethinking their approach to managing the retirement patterns of their workforces, according to a study from Willis Towers Watson. The 2018 Longer Working Careers Survey found that 83% of employers have a significant number of employees at or nearing retirement, but just 53% expressed having a good understanding of when their employees will retire. Additionally, while 81% say managing the timing of their employees' retirements is an important business issue, just 25% do that effectively. The survey found that 80% of respondents view older employees as crucial to their success.

  • Drug testing all substitute teacher position applicants is constitutional

    In a case of first impression (meaning, the first time the court has considered the issue), the federal appeals court over Florida has ruled that a county school board may require all applicants for substitute teacher positions to submit to and pass a drug test as a condition of employment. This may sound like a no-brainer, but the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits government searches without a reason, which complicates a public-sector employer's ability to test for drugs.

  • A 2019 refresher on paying tipped employees

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) continues to devote substantial resources to investigating certain low-wage industries each year. Among those regularly targeted are fast-food establishments and other restaurants, grocery stores, and construction companies. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) conducted 5,751 investigations of food-service establishments during fiscal year 2018, resulting in more than 41,000 employees being paid almost $43 million in back wages. A large part of the back wages resulted from improper use of tip credit provisions. Although this article will address only the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you should be aware that several states don't allow tip credits. Florida, however, does allow employers to use tip credits.

  • How to claim paid family and medical leave tax credit

    The tax reform law passed late last year contained a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide employees paid "family and medical" leave and meet certain other requirements. While the IRS hasn't finalized regulations pinning down the specifics of the new credit, it recently issued some helpful guidance. Let's take a look.

  • Adhere to scout motto: 'Be prepared' (during interviews)

    An online CNBC article that we read last week, written by Ruth Umoh, got us thinking. The article discussed the three interview questions that General Motors' CEO Mary Barra asks of every job candidate: