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Lakeland Legal Issues Blog

What is a Stop-Work Order?

If you work for or are an employer in Florida, you may hear about something called a Stop-Work Order. This is related to workers' compensation and is a serious situation. If your employer gets such an order, you need to know. As an employer, if you get this order, you need to act fast.

According to Florida's Chief Financial Officer, a Stop-Work Order is issued when an employer does not have workers' compensation coverage when required by law. Essentially, if your employer receives this order, you should not work until it is cleared up. As the employer, you have a legal obligation to suspend all work until you clear this up. If you do not cease operations, you face a third-degree felony charge and a $1,000 per day penalty. Do note that if you are an employee, this order is public, so you can find out about it even if your employer does not tell you directly.

Get an early start to your disability application

Maybe you are waiting until you understand the Social Security Disability application process better. Maybe you simply have too much to do at the moment. Regardless of the reason you are putting it off, our team at Kaylor, Kaylor & Leto, P.A., would like to send you one simple message: It would probably be a good idea to act soon. 

If you are like most people who are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits, then you probably have a lot to handle. Any disability would probably have a profound impact on how you live your life. That is exactly why the program exists: To help you get your life back on track.

Why don't more people report sexual harassment?

If you are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace in Florida, you may be one of the many who have not shared it with anyone. There are many reasons why people who experience sexual harassment do not report it, and this continues to be an issue around the country.

Psychology Today discusses what constitutes sexual harassment. It includes

  • Inappropriate touching
  • Lewd comments
  • Jokes of a sexual nature
  • Unwelcome sexual texts or emails
  • Sexual favoritism
  • Offering of sex in exchange for benefit or promotion
  • Showing graphic images

What should I know about genetic discrimination?

Many forms of discrimination involve unfairly punishing someone due to the person's gender, race, nationality or sexual orientation. However, the increasing use of genetic information reveals another way that employers discriminate against current or prospective workers. It is important that Florida residents understand that their genetic information should never be used against them in hiring, firing or promotional decisions.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains that genetic information can include not just information about a person, but also describe the person’s family genetic history. If your employer was to gain access to this information and discover that members of your family through the years acquired a specific disease or ailment, your employer might conclude that you run the risk of manifesting the malady yourself. While this is not true of every employer, some might consider a worker to be at risk for a hereditary health issue and decide to fire the person or sanction the worker in some way.

The FMLA and workplace discrimination

If you had to make a choice between your job and your family, which one would you choose? For almost everyone, the answer is clear. That's why the federal Family and Medical Leave Act is in place.

This set of regulations protects people with medical emergencies or family necessities. If you have to care for a loved one, if you became disabled or if you were having a baby, the FMLA could protect your long-term job — even during extended absences without pay. Here are a few ways to determine whether you are covered, and also how to spot potential workplace discrimination related to this subject.

An overview of workers' compensation wage benefits

If you are employed in Florida, you may well work for a company that is required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This is a special form of insurance designed to assist employees who have been injured in an accident at work or during the course of performing their jobs. One of the types of benefits provided by workers' compensation is the replacement of wages that you may earn if you cannot work because of your injury. 

As explained by the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation, there are four categories of wage-loss replacement benefits available under the program. Two of these categories pertain to injuries that are said to be temporary instead of permanent. If you are able to work in a limited capacity after your injury, you might qualify for temporary partial disability benefits. If you cannot work at all after your injury but are expected to recover, you may qualify for temporary total disability benefits. Temporary benefits may be available for up to 104 weeks.

Age discrimination affects young people too

At Kaylor, Kaylor & Leto, P.A., we understand that age discrimination cases in Florida usually focus on workers over 50. However, the truth is that the younger workforce faces discrimination, too. Many college graduates can share stories of applying for work after school and being met with job descriptions demanding 15 years of experience. Some also share stories of being hired, but then being denied promotions because management did not think an older workforce would respect them as a leader.

In fact, one Forbes article proposes that the negative portrayals of millennials as entitled, self-serving and finicky is to blame. This translates into employers being reluctant to hire workers under 30, citing unpredictability and lack of work experience. Some people may already note that the irony in this is that there are many millennials over 30. In fact, the oldest are now roughly 38 years old. However, the perceived age of millennials seems to be frozen in time when it comes to the media and the workplace.

When is industrial equipment no longer safe?

One of the keys to maintaining a safe industrial workplace in Florida is keeping the equipment used on the job in good condition. However, machinery does not last forever, and when the time arrives, your company should replace the equipment with a new and safe model. Since malfunctioning equipment can seriously injure a worker or possibly cause death, it is crucial to recognize when the machinery at your workplace may be breaking down.

Industrial Safety & Hygiene News explains that industrial equipment has a normal operating lifespan. By checking the documents that come with the machinery, employers can tell how long the equipment will last before it may start to malfunction. However, using machinery for long periods of time or in difficult environments may wear it out even sooner than the documented lifespan. Regardless, being aware of how industrial equipment lasts tells companies and employers when they should consider replacing it before something goes wrong.

SSD benefits: the first step

People change their disability status every day in Florida. A qualifying condition could be the result of an injury, a degenerative illness or any number of combinations of factors. However, having a disability does not automatically qualify someone for benefits. People must successfully apply before they start receiving assistance.

The first step is the initial application. A preliminary measure most people take is to gather required medical information and official forms. Many also seek advice about the application process and its various stages.

Do companies hire younger people on purpose?

With the job market heating up in Florida over the past few years, you may have considered applying for some new opportunities. Perhaps you even acted on the impulse. 

If you got the job, congratulations. If you did not, your limited success may not be your fault. It could have nothing to do with any quantity or quality of openings available in your field. You could be facing age discrimination.

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