Procedures For Terminating the Agreement
There are no statutorily required procedures for dismissing employees. However, a collective bargaining agreement with a labour union may impose requirements on employers and, of course, employers must follow any termination procedure in any employment agreements with individual employees. Any procedures used to dismiss employees must be applied in a non-discriminatory and nonretaliatory manner. An employee’s complaint about suspected employer misconduct (such as discrimination or harassment) cannot be a factor in the dismissal decision or in the protocol used for discharging workers.
Unless there is a collective bargaining agreement with a labour union, or a “notice” requirement promised by the employer’s policies or contained in an agreement with an employee, there is no advance notice required for dismissal of individual employees. Florida law allows persons employed for an indefinite term (that is, “at will” employees) to be discharged at any time without prior notice for any non-discriminatory, non- retaliatory reason. Any employment contract with an employee for a definite term of employment may limit the employer’s right to “instant dismissal” if the parties have agreed to such limitation. However, federal law provides that employers having more than 100 employees (the “WARN” law, discussed in “USA-Federal, above) have to provide certain affected employees with sixty days’ notice of certain “plant closures” and “mass layoffs” as defined in that law.
Unless there is a collective bargaining agreement with a labour union, employees are not required to provide advance notice of resignation. Florida law allows employees employed for an indefinite term (that is, “at will” employees) to resign at any time for any reason with or without prior notice. However, an employment contract with an employee for a definite term of employment may limit the employee’s right to resign.
Termination On Notice
Unless there is a collective bargaining agreement with a labour union, there is no advance notice required for dismissal of an individual employee. However, federal law (the “WARN” statute, discussed in “USA-Federal, above) requires that employers having more than 100 employees give sixty days’ notice (or sixty days’ wages) to workers affected by certain “plant closures” or “mass layoffs” (as defined in the WARN law).
Termination By Reason Of The Employee's Age
Federal and Florida law prohibits the dismissal of an employee because of age except in very limited and unusual circumstances involving highly-compensated and very senior executives, that is, mandatory retirement based on age is almost always illegal.
Automatic Termination In Cases Of Force Majeure
Employment relationships may be terminated automatically in cases of force majeure unless otherwise restricted by a specific contract with the individual employee or by a collective bargaining agreement between the employer and a labour union (which relationship is governed by federal law).
Larger companies (with more than 100 employees) may have to comply with the federal plant closures and mass layoff statute (the “WARN” statute, discussed in “USA-Federal, above) in conjunction with reductions-in-force of personnel in “plant closures” or “mass layoffs” (as defined in the WARN law).
Termination By Parties’ Agreement
Florida law allows persons employed “at will” (that is, for an indefinite term of employment) to be discharged or to resign, without notice, at any time for any non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reason and, in such circumstances, the employer or the employee need not justify the reason for the separation. Employers and employees may agree by contract to certain terms and conditions which will trigger a termination of the relationship.
Directors Or Other Senior Officers
There are no special requirements regarding the termination of a director or other senior officer’s employment (but certain notices may have to be provided to the federal government in conjunction with the termination of such persons by public companies).
Special Rules For Categories Of Employee
There are no special rules for discharging categories of employees but, of course, an employee cannot be discharged because of his/her protected characteristics (race, sex, age, disability, pregnancy, marital status, etc.) or because the employee has complained about suspected employer misconduct (including discrimination or harassment) or suspected employer violation of law. A collective bargaining agreement with a labour union may require special consideration of certain employees (typically employees with long tenure) as provided by the agreement.
Florida’s whistleblower law prohibits adverse employment action against an employee because (a) he/she has disclosed or threatened to disclose to a government agency any suspected employer conduct that violates a law or (b) he/she gave information to or testified in a government investigation of the employer or (c) he/she objected to or refused to participate in any employer activity, policy or practice which violates a law. Whistleblowing employees subjected to retaliation by the employer may sue for compensatory damages (such as loss of wages) and attorneys’ fees.
Specific Rules For Companies in Financial Difficulties
There are no special requirements for discharging employees applicable to companies in financial difficulties. However, larger companies (with more than 100 employees) may have to comply with the federal plant closures and mass layoff statute (the “WARN” statute, discussed in “USA-Federal, above) in conjunction with reductions-in-force of personnel in “plant closures” or “mass layoffs” (as defined in the WARN law).
Special Rules For Garden Leave
Garden leave is not required by federal or Florida law. The parties may agree to garden leave in an employment contract.
Restricting Future Activities
Florida allows employers to require employees to sign non-competition agreements limiting their post-employment activities, including employment by a competitor, use/dissemination of confidential information, and non-solicitation of customers or co-workers. A Florida statute requires that such “non-competition” agreements be reasonable in both scope and duration. Employees can be required to enter into such an agreement before or during the employment (and, if the applicant/ employee refuses to sign, the job can be denied or the worker discharged). If a non- competition agreement is sought at the end of employment, the employer will have to compensate the employee for it (though not necessarily for the period of non-competition) and, even then, the departing employee cannot be required to sign.
Severance payments are not required by federal or Florida law although they are customary in many industries and in many companies. Of course, if severance payments are offered, they must be provided in a non-discriminatory and non- retaliatory manner. Employers often require that the employee sign a waiver of claims against the employer as a condition of receiving the severance.
Special Tax Provisions And Severance Payments
Severance pay is usually taxed as ordinary income (wages) of the employee and may be treated as a business expense by the employer.
Allowances Payable To Employees After Termination
Florida employers are required to contribute to an unemployment compensation trust fund. Discharged employees may seek benefits from that fund through Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity.
Time Limits For Claims Following Termination
Federal and Florida laws provides their own specific deadlines for the assertion of employment-related claims. The federal deadline for discrimination and retaliation claims is 300 days; the Florida deadline for such claims is 365 days. Employees are allowed two years (and, under certain circumstances, three years) to assert claims for unpaid minimum/overtime wages under federal law and for the denial of leaves required by law. Various other applicable employment laws have individual statutes of limitations for the assertion of claims.