Federal Agency is Suing a Florida Company for Retaliation
On June 22nd, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it is filing an employment lawsuit against Pediatric Health Care Alliance, a Tampa, FL-based medical practice. According to the federal agency, the medical clinic unlawfully retaliated against a nurse after she reported a doctor for sexual harassment.
Workplace retaliation is strictly prohibited under federal law. Florida workers have a right to report harassment or discrimination without facing retribution. Below, our West Palm Beach employment lawyers provide a more detailed overview of the allegations against the health care company and we discuss workplace retaliation laws.
EEOC Complaint: Florida Nurse Fired After Reporting Sexual Harassment
The EEOC has filed an employer lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. In the complaint, the EEOC alleges that a female nurse at Pediatric Health Care Alliance reported that a doctor at the company inappropriately touched her. Notably, that doctor was also the Vice President of the company. The nurse claims that it happened twice—and that she reported both incidents to her supervisor in a timely manner.
According to the lawsuit, the unlawful retaliation against her for raising a complaint against a high-ranking corporate executive was almost immediate. First, the EEOC alleges that she was transferred to a different location against her wishes. In her new position, she lost many of her job duties and her salary was docked. As a direct consequence of the retaliation, the EEOC contends that the nurse was forced to resign from her position. She could no longer work at the company under those conditions.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Retaliation is Unlawful
Under federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), employees have a legal right to raise complaints about workplace discrimination or workplace harassment. When an employee exercises this right, their company or organization is strictly prohibited from punishing them. Employers cannot take adverse action against an employee in retaliation for protected activities—which includes raising both formal and informal complaints of sexual harassment.
Adverse action is defined in a relatively broad manner. It occurs when an employee is penalized or punished in some form. Transferring an employee to a less desirable location, reducing salary, and taking away job duties are all, independently, examples of adverse action. If the plaintiff in this case (the Florida nurse) can prove that those adverse actions happened because she reported workplace sexual harassment, then her rights have been violated and her employer can be held liable for unlawful retaliation.
Call Our South Florida Workplace Retaliation Attorneys for Immediate Help
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida employment lawyers offer high-quality, client-centered legal services to employers and employees. If you have any questions about workplace retaliation claims, we are here to help. Call us now for more information. Initial consultations are strictly confidential. With offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, we represent clients all over Southeastern Florida, including in Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah, Jupiter, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and Coral Gables.