PRACTICE AREAS

EMPLOYMENT LAW

Fantetti Legal represents employers in all areas of employment law: discrimination, harassment, disability, pregnancy and religious accommodation, medical and military leave requirements, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour requirements, reductions in force/layoffs, privacy issues and covenants restricting competition or disclosure of trade secret and other confidential information. We also work closely with our client’s to assist with employee severance agreements and other compensation issues.

A substantial part of the employment and labor practice involves day-to-day counseling to resolve problems and reduce the risks that are inherent in virtually every employment decision a company will make. We provide advice on strategies for discharges, discipline and reductions in force, drug testing, harassment allegations, Family Medical Leave Act compliance, wage and hour issues, requests to accommodate disabilities and religious practices, breach of contract; and employment torts such as defamation, tortious interference with business relationships, contract rights, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Fantetti Legal handles legal matters involving non-competition, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements, as well as employee theft of confidential information and trade secrets, and experience in mediation/dispute resolution for contract negotiations and employment claims.

Fantetti Legal can comply with assisting its clients requests for employer practices and documentation. The firm drafts employment agreements, separation agreements, personnel policies/procedures, employee handbooks, human resources manuals and other tools to ensure compliance with federal and state law, and to minimize exposure to lawsuits. Fantetti Legal also offers training for executives, managers and human resource professionals, while providing assistance to employers during investigations by agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and corresponding state and local agencies, including preparing appropriate written submissions to the investigating agency, such as EEOC position statements.

Pre-suit handling of alleged civil rights violations (Title VII Claims)

Pre-litigation is the term used to describe activity that happens regarding a legal claim before a lawsuit is officially filed. It is the process used before a lawsuit is filed and parties often spend a significant amount of time working on a case in the pre-litigation stage in the hopes of settling it fairly without having to file a suit. Several pre-litigation protocols must be followed during this stage of conflict.

Allegations of Discrimination and Harassment

All employees must establish workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment. Employees must not harass anyone because of race, color, gender, national origin, religion, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, or because the person is 40 years old or older. It is important that an employer takes the necessary steps required by state and federal law to deal with an employee, whether to terminate an employee, discipline an employee, and to deal with EEOC complaints and other issues that can arise in Title VII matters.

Drafting Employment Agreements

Employment contracts are written or implied agreements between employees and employers setting forth the terms of a worker's employment. Employees can be hired to be at-will employees (terminate at any time and not working pursuant to a contract) or contract employees. Contract employees work pursuant to an employment agreement that outlines details of their obligations to perform their jobs, compensation, benefits, and it contains terms reflecting separation from the employer. Before negotiating an agreement, it is important for an employer to draft specific terms that eliminate risk to the employer and that are in compliance with state and federal law.

Breach of Employment Agreements

An employment contract can be breached by either an employee or an employer. A breach occurs when one side fails to live up to the obligations provided by the contract, such as when an employer wrongfully discharges an employee in violation of a valid employment contract. Breach of employment contracts often lead to one party seeking legal remedies in the form of damages that can be for emotional distress, compensatory, restitution, punitive or other forms depending on the agreements and the conduct of the parties. It is vital for an employer to seek legal counsel to limit or nullify the damages that an employee may be seeking in the event a claim for breach of contract is sought against an employer. In the alternative, an employer will want to seek legal counsel in the event an employee has breached an employment agreement in order to recover damages and protect the company from other liabilities.

Employee Defection and Trade Secrets

Over past two decades, the economy has becomes more technology-based and information-driven, issues of trade secrets and unfair competition have become an increasingly important part of employment law and create never-ending challenges to businesses. This includes litigating and advising clients on covenants not to compete; non-solicitation, non-recruitment, non-use and non-disclosure agreements; trade secrets and confidential business information; unfair competition and employee raiding; fiduciary duty and duty of loyalty claims.

Employee Leaves (Family Medical Leave, Disability)

The FMLA is a United States federal law requiring covered employers to provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. The FMLA only applies to certain employees. The employee must work for a covered employer (a specific statutory definition), the employee must work for the employer for a minimum of 12 months and at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before taking leave. The employee’s job must take place at a location where at least 50 employees work, or within 75 miles of such a location. The reasons to grant such benefits can vary depending upon the employee’s situation and if it can qualify under the statute.

Employment contract drafting, including non-competition agreements and severance agreements

With today’s increasingly mobile workforce, employers are continually at risk of losing their key employees to a competitor. In order to minimize the risks associated with departing employees, many businesses rely on written non-compete agreements to help maintain their competitive position in the marketplace. Nevertheless, whether employees are exiting a company and need a severance agreement, or are exiting a company and may be going to work for a competitor, it is imperative that courts do not disfavor agreements that primarily limit competition or restrain the right of an employee to receive fair benefits or engage in a common, or non-specialized occupation.

Severance Packages

A severance package (usually put into a written agreement) sets forth pay and benefits an employee receives when he or she leaves employment at a company. In addition to the employee's remaining regular pay, it may include some of the following: An additional payment based on months of service. Payment for unused vacation time or sick leave.

Confidentiality Agreements

These agreements are also called a nondisclosure agreement (or NDA). They are a legally binding contract in which a person or business promises to treat specific information as a secret and promises not to disclose the secret to others without proper authorization. The information in confidentiality agreements can vary from a broad range of topics and are narrowly tailored to fit the business and purpose for which protection is required.

Employment Discrimination and Harassment

Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA). Additionally, certain forms of discrimination and harassment can fall under Florida Discrimination and Harassment statutes. Harassment and discrimination can be defined as unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.

Wage & Hour Compliance

Fantetti Legal advises employers regarding compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, It is important employers provide a focus in determining whether employees are truly exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements, and advise employers on the recordkeeping requirements under the various wage and hour laws.

Human Resources Counseling, Consulting and training for compliance with State and Federal employment laws.

It is very challenging for a small and mid-sized business to stay abreast of the every-changing status of various federal, state, and local employment laws. Given the pace at which courts are making decisions and legislatures are debating new legislation, the meaning an scope of existing employment laws can change overnight. Therefore, it is vital that employers have experienced counsel to guide them to a path of legal compliance. Services in this area can include: counsel regarding employee terminations, employment contracts, restrictive covenants, dispute resolution matters, Title VII compliance, and more.

Human Resources Policy drafting and drafting Policy Manuals

Fantetti Legal gives practical information to businesses and organizations on how to develop HR policies and procedures. It is useful to new companies, those who are just beginning to develop policies, and those who are reviewing and updating existing policies to ensure policies are in place, consistent, and in compliance with the laws. Fantetti Legal has assisted businesses in the Tampa Bay area with establishing policies and Human Resources Manuals for their operations.

Document Review

Fantetti Legal will review any documentation an employer may need reviewed that pertains to all matters of business; this includes assistance with document review for litigation and discovery. If a subject matter arises that may not be listed on this website, Fantetti Legal can still provide assistance – this is not an exhaustive list.

We frequently provide proactive solutions for clients on issues concerning employee handbook reviews, compliance audits, and training in all of the subject areas identified above.