Employment Case Trends December 2023

I’m Florida employment lawyer Jonathan Pollard. As some folks know, our firm Pollard PLLC focuses on plaintiff-side employment cases. That generally includes wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment. This is my update for December 2023.

Age discrimination is rampant. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again: Over the next five years, there will be an explosion in age discrimination cases. Why? The American workforce is getting older. Many people are working well into their 60’s and even their 70’s. And, unfortunately, discrimination against older employees is fairly common. We get hundreds of calls and inquiries every week. Dozens of these involve age discrimination. And a trend that I see: Age discrimination really starts hitting women earlier than it hits men. For women, it creeps in at age 50. Expect this trend to continue and get worse over the next several years.

Construction industry a hotbed for everything illegal. The broader construction industry continues to deliver some of the absolute worst employment cases. This ranges from the ugliest, most malicious racism (against black people) to sexual harassment and sexual assault.

These cases aren’t coming out of very small, mom-and-pop type companies. They are coming out of companies that do at least $50 million in revenue each year.. companies that have at least 100 employees.. and companies that should know better. We’re even seeing cases out of the construction industry where the company does $200 million++ a year in revenue and clearly hasn’t invested any money in setting up a proper HR department.

One particular note: Sexual harassment and even outright sexual assault is incredibly common in the construction industry. And the perpetrator or bad actor in these cases is often (a) a supervisor or (b) someone who is very close to the people in charge.

Calling something or someone racist = misconduct. You read that correctly. We now have multiple cases with the following general fact pattern: Employee A deals with racism in the workplace. Employee A reports this racism to HR. In speaking with various colleagues, Employee A says something like, “This behavior is racist.” or “Employee B said X. That is racist.” Employee A subsequently gets disciplined for — wait for it — calling someone a racist. We have multiple cases where Employee A was fired. And the reason for their termination? They called someone a racist — and calling someone a racist was considered a violation of company policy. How wild is that? I’m not talking about so-called “micoraggressions”. I’m talking about cases involving blatant racism. Where an employee stands up and calls it out for what it is. And the employee gets fired. That’s retaliation. Retaliation is illegal. And – most significantly – retaliation cases can be pursued under 42 USC 1981 instead of Title VII (the main discrimination law at the federal level). Unlike Title VII, 42 USC 1981 does not cap compensatory (non-economic) or punitive damages in race discrimination or retaliation cases.

Restaurant industry wage & hour cases. We don’t really focus on FLSA cases. We’ve litigated a bunch of them. And we’ll take them if they come in. Quite often, when we get a real FLSA case, it comes out of the restaurant or hospitality sector. (1) Restaurants and hospitality companies pull all sorts of shady tricks re staffing and job duties in an effort to avoid paying (a) minimum wage or (b) overtime. (2) Not only that: Lots of restaurants just blatantly violate wage and hour laws. I’ve seen several cases out of pretty big restaurants (either 1 location that does several million dollars in annual revenue or a regional chain) where dishwashers or line cooks were working 60 or 70 hours a week and not getting paid ANY overtime.

What to do if you believe you have a case. If you believe that you have been discriminated against, retaliated against, sexually harassed, or that your rights have otherwise been violated at work, you are welcome to contact our office. Please understand: The law protects rights, not feelings. There is a big difference between having hurt feelings and having your legal rights violated. If you believe that your rights have been violated, feel free to send us a message through our website or call the office during normal business hours at 954-332-2380. Our firm has offices in Florida and Missouri — but we will accept particularly strong cases anywhere in the country.

Jonathan Pollard

About Jonathan Pollard and Pollard PLLC

Jonathan Pollard is an employment lawyer and writer. He is the founder of the Fort Lauderdale employment law firm Pollard PLLC. Pollard has appeared in or on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, NPR, PBS News Hour, Inc. Magazine, The Guardian, The Times (London), Business Insider, and more. Pollard routinely posts about litigation, business, and life on LinkedIn, where he has 80,000+ followers. Pollard and his colleagues at Pollard PLLC have litigated, arbitrated, or mediated hundreds of employment cases. The firm and its lawyers have been recognized by Super Lawyers and Chambers & Partners. The firm has offices in Florida and Missouri, but pursues cases nationwide. The firm can be reached at 954-332-2380.