Florida Team Authors Law360 Expert Analysis on Recent Development in Miami-Dade Employment Discrimination Law

Tampa, Fla. (August 2, 2022) - Tampa Summer Associate Shannon Murphy, with Florida Partners Jonathan Beckerman, Cheryl Wilke, and David Harvey, recently authored an Expert Analysis article for Law360 titled, "Fla. Ruling Raises Risk Of Discrimination Suits For Small Cos.," which discusses a recent Florida appellate court ruling that is expected to result in increased employment discrimination litigation for smaller employers in Miami-Dade County.

The authors open the article by describing the business landscape in Miami-Dade County, noting that of the 220,000+ businesses there, roughly 20% of them are on the smaller side, employing between five and 19 employees. The article goes on to explain that due to the recent ruling in White v. AutoZone Investment Corp., these smaller employers “now face the threat of increased litigation regarding employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims.” This is so, according to the authors, because in White, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal confirmed that a private right of action against employers for workplace discrimination existed under a local Miami-Dade County ordinance. The authors, who recently published a legal alert on the White case, describe that the appellate court ruling is particularly significant because previously, “small employers rarely faced litigation as employees could only rely on state and federal law, which limited private civil proceedings to employers with at least fifteen or twenty employees respectively.”

Next, the authors outline the facts in White and discuss how employers may prepare for the decision’s impact, positing that “businesses composed of five to fourteen employees in Miami-Dade County will need to re-evaluate their compliance requirements and invest in policy, training, notice, and reporting requirements.” The authors further describe that smaller employers should consider hiring human resources personnel, establishing processes for resolving complaints, and conducting training programs on preventing workplace discrimination. They also observe that relocating to an area outside of Miami-Dade County might be a less expensive and more attractive option for smaller employers. The authors close the article by predicting that smaller employers in Miami-Dade County “will soon recognize the impact of White v. AutoZone Investment Corp. on their hiring and termination processes,” and that “[t]here will be a financial cost to Miami-Dade businesses.”

Ms. Murphy is a rising third year law student at the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law. She currently serves as an editor of the Florida Law Review and will serve as a Trusts & Estates teaching assistant this Fall.

Mr. Beckerman is a member of Lewis Brisbois' Labor & Employment Practice. A go-to resource in complex employment matters, he leverages his legal experience and deep subject matter knowledge to achieve successful results on behalf of management-side clients.

Ms. Wilke is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Labor & Employment and Complex Business & Commercial Litigation Practices. She specializes in employment law as well as corporate compliance and business litigation for mid-market and national businesses.

Mr. Harvey is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Labor & Employment Practice and is certified by the Florida Bar in labor and employment law. A Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Circuit Mediator, Mr. Harvey represents employers in state and federal courts across the United States, including in Florida.

Read a PDF of the full article here or view it on Law360 here (subscription may be required).

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