Here's everything you need to know about the right-to-work law, at-will employment and these mean in Florida.
What is right to work?
The right-to-work law, which is also known as the Workplace Freedom or Workplace Choice law, is a law that grants workers the right to choose whether or not they'd like to join a union in their workplace. Likewise, it also makes it optional for workers already in unionized workplaces to pay union dues and other membership fees that are required for union representation (whether they're involved in the union or not).
What is at-will employment?
Every state with the exception of Montana is an at-will employment state. Under the at-will employment policy, either the employer or the employee can terminate employment at any time for any reason (unless it's illegal and proven wrongful termination, which is hard to do) without consequence — unless the employee has a contract or a union agreement that states otherwise.
Is Florida a right to work state?
Florida is indeed a right-to-work state. Indeed, Article 1, Section 6 of the Florida Constitution sets forth every citizen's right to work in the state.
Specifically, the law states: "The right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union or labor organization. The right of employees, by and through a labor organization, to bargain collectively shall not be denied or abridged. Public employees shall not have the right to strike," according to the Constitution.
Can you be fired for any reason in Florida?
Florida is an at-will state, which means that you can be fired for any just reason at any time. Again, proving wrongful termination isn't always an easy feat, but your employer can only fire you for legal reasons.
What are important Florida labor laws?
Here are three important labor laws in Florida of which you should be aware.
1. Minimum Wage Law
Employees in Florida have the right to earn a specific minimum wage for regular hours that they each work. "The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour; however, as of January 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Florida is $8.25 per hour," according to My Florida Law. "Thus, an employee in Florida covered by the minimum wage laws must be paid a minimum of $8.25 per hour worked. (If you are a tipped employee, such as a waiter or waitress, you, too, are entitled to a minimum wage. However, because the tips you receive form a part of your wages, the minimum wage to which you are entitled is less.)"
2. Domestic Violence Leave
Florida law boasts "domestic violence leave," which allows employees who experience domestic violence to take up to three days off per the calendar year to consult with an attorney, seek medical treatment or relocate because of the domestic violence they endure. That said, this required leave only applies to employers with 50 or more employees.
"'Domestic violence' means domestic violence, as defined in s. 741.28, or any crime the underlying factual basis of which has been found by a court to include an act of domestic violence," according to the law.
3. Insurance After Leaving
"If you lose your job because of a layoff or other reason not caused by fault on your part, unemployment benefits will likely be available; if eligible, unemployment benefits will provide payment of a percentage of your prior wages," according to Up Counsel. "These payments will last for a period of time from 12 to 23 weeks as long you are actively seeking new employment."
In fact, according to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), displaced workers are allowed to maintain their formerly held group health insurance coverage for at least 18 and up to 36 months after they leave their jobs. That said, they will indeed have to pay the insurance premium—including the employer’s part.
What are some resources for Florida employees?
To learn more about employment laws in Florida, check out these resources:
- Florida Employment Laws — Find Law
- Florida Laws — Find Law
- Unions — Find Law
- Employment Law — Find Law
- Florida Employment and Labor Laws — Employment Law Handbook
- Florida Department of Labor
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.