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Employment Discrimination (Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Age, Pregnancy, Sexual Harassment, Retaliation)

The Employment Discrimination Defense Practice Group is co-chaired by Lloyd Glasser and Chris Kleppin. The Practice Group is actually involved in litigation relating to claims of discrimination and/or harassment and/or retaliation by employees based on all of the recognized suspect classifications under federal, state, and local law including but not limited to race, gender, age, pregnancy, disability, ethnicity, and religion. We also specifically defend claims of racial and sexual harassment and retaliation. The Practice Group has also been involved in litigating issues pertaining to wrongful termination, whistleblower, the Equal Pay Act, family medical leave, workers compensation, retaliation, Fair Labor Standards Act retaliation, qui tam suits, and defending claims for unemployment compensation.

Clients such as the Broward Sheriff's Office, Broward County, Town of Davie, Florida, City of Pompano Beach, Key College, Bennett Auto Supply, Inc., Rustic Inn, Nanak's Landscaping, Inc., Pediatric Associates, K.S.M. Electronics, Inc., and Tecta America have utilized the services of our firm to represent them against claims of discrimination and/or retaliation.

Unfortunately, a significant number of employment discrimination suits are filed in Florida, because there are many plaintiffs' attorneys in the district who advertise heavily. Some of the cases brought are completely frivolous. We have successfully defended them by either obtaining dismissal or for those few that have gone to trial, the vast majority of the verdicts have been in favor of the defendants, primarily on the grounds that the plaintiff could not prove any discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation.

When determining which attorney to use in this area, you should ask the attorney you may use the following questions:

  1. Have you ever gotten an employment discrimination case dismissed?
  2. Have you ever gotten a court to grant summary judgment in your client's favor in an employment discrimination case?
  3. Have your ever litigated against the attorney suing me, and if so, what is your record against him?
  4. Do you have any suits pending in which the plaintiff suing me is the defense lawyer in a case brought by you on behalf of one of your plaintiff clients?
  5. Have you ever tried an employment discrimination case?
  6. What is your record in trials involving employment discrimination cases?
  7. Have you ever successfully defended an appeal of an employment discrimination case in which you won?
  8. Have you ever litigated in the Supreme Court of the United States, and is any member of your firm licensed to practice there?
  9. Have you ever sought sanctions against a plaintiff lawyer bringing a frivolous employment discrimination case, and were you successful in having your client's attorney fees refunded in whole or in part?
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List of Representative Clients: Tecta America, Inc., Bennett Auto Supply, Inc., Weiss & Woolrich Southern Enterprises, Inc., The Town of Davie, Florida, Nanak's Landscaping, Inc., Broward County, Paradise Awnings Corporation, and E.W. Ventures, Inc.

List of Representative Cases: Our firm enjoys the pleasure of having many legal victories either by dispositive motion throwing the case out of court (e.g., motion to dismiss, motion for summary judgment, motion for involuntary dismissal) or via jury verdict. A sampling of those cases is set forth below.

Published Cases by Westlaw in Which the Court Threw the Case Out of Court Via Dispositive Motion

Portales v. Another Beautiful Corporation, 2011 WL 1043663 (Fla. Cir. Ct. 2011)

The firm represented Defendant, Another Beautiful Corporation, in a case alleging pregnancy discrimination and whistleblower retaliation (for allegedly being fired after complaining about the employer wrongly recording telephone calls between sales associates and potential customers, pursuant to the Florida Civil Rights Act, Florida Statutes § 760.01 et seq., and Florida's Whistleblower Act, Florida Statutes § 448.101 et seq. The Defendant runs a successful modeling school and agency. The Plaintiff sued for compensatory damages, punitive damages, back pay, front pay, attorney fees, and costs.

The firm defended the charge of discrimination filed with the EEOC, and obtained a "no-cause" determination (that is, a legal ruling from the administrative agency that there was no discrimination that occurred) from the agency investigating the plaintiff's allegations. This served to bar the plaintiff from litigating her pregnancy discrimination claim in court. Discovery revealed that while represented by counsel, the plaintiff told the EEOC that the sole reason for her termination was the fact that she was pregnant, and that she never even filed a charge of discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Relations which is a prerequisite to bringing a claim under FCRA.

Discovery also revealed that there was nothing unlawful about the recording of the telephone calls (they contained the admonition that "this telephone call may be recorded..."), and the plaintiff did not even complain about any telephone calls being recorded until February, 2009, but she learned that she was going to be replaced in November, 2008.

The court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant for all of the reasons listed and others. The defendant is deciding whether to seek attorney fees from plaintiff's counsel for the filing of a frivolous lawsuit. The plaintiff appealed the grant of summary judgment, but the appellate court affirmed the order holding that the case had no merit and noting that the plaintiff did not preserve the error she was seeking to appeal. See Portales v. Another Beautiful Corp., 121 So. 3d 562 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2012).

Suchite v. Tecta America, 819 F. Supp. 2d 1284 (S.D. Fla. 2011)

The firm represented the Defendants (the largest roofing company in the United States, one of its owners, and the firm) from a lawsuit in which the Plaintiffs were alleging that they suffered retaliation under the anti-retaliation provision contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3). The plaintiffs had all previously filed FLSA overtime lawsuits against the corporate defendant and its owner. The plaintiffs' theory of the case was that defendants retaliated against them for filing a FLSA overtime lawsuit by the following acts: The Defendants informed the court that plaintiffs were illegal aliens (one had entered the country illegally twice and one was being actively sought by the federal government for failure to appear at an immigration proceeding) who had committed income tax evasion, had used false social security documents to obtain employment, and were scheduled to enter a federal courthouse and asked the plaintiffs questions in their depositions concerning their immigration status and tax fraud in an attempt to obtain Rule 608(b) evidence (evidence of misconduct which does not result in conviction), and told the court that plaintiffs' counsel was actively harboring, concealing, and transporting them in violation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, all of which was true. The defendants had a good faith basis for their actions, namely, to obtain Rule 608(b) evidence, because they were concerned about committing misprision of a felony, and because they had a concern of courthouse security since the plaintiffs were felons and threatening individuals). The court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and threw the case out of court, because the plaintiffs could not 1) rebut the proffered legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons offered by the defendants and 2) the plaintiffs could not otherwise show that the defendants' real motivation for their actions was to intentionally retaliate. The plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied. See Suchite v. Tecta America, 2012 WL 1933344 (S.D. Fla. 2012).

Malin v. Town of Davie, Florida, 22 So. 3d 88 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009)

The firm represented the Defendant (a municipality in Florida) in an action brought by two plaintiffs (former police officers) alleging discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in violation of Florida's Civil Rights Act, Florida Statutes § 760.01 et seq. Plaintiff Malin testified that he was referred to as a "f----- Jewish pig", and that his co-plaintiff was retaliated and discriminated against for maintaining a friendship with Plaintiff Malin. The Defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted. Malin v. Town of Davie, 2008 WL 2752707 (Fla. Cir. Ct. 2008). Following the court's decision, the plaintiff appealed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal which affirmed the decision below.

Brown v. Jenne, 941 So. 2d 447 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006)

The firm represented one of approximately ten (10) Defendants (Lt. Kenneth Swan) in a civil rights case brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 for wrongful death. Swan moved for dismissal on the ground that he was entitled to absolute immunity from suit under Florida Statutes § 768.28(9)(a)--this firm had previously obtained an order from a court holding that employees of governmental entities (such as cities and counties) are absolutely immune from such suits. Brooks v. Jenne, 2005 WL 5488060 (S.D. Fla. 2005). The circuit court granted the dismissal. The plaintiffs appealed, and the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed, holding that § 768.28(9)(a) does not render employees of governmental entities absolutely immune from suit. Lt. Swan sought review in the Supreme Court of Florida, which denied review.

The case went back down to the trial court, and after further discovery, the circuit court granted Lt. Swan's motion for summary judgment on the ground of qualified immunity. Brown v. Jenne, 2009 WL 3253820 (Fla. Cir. Ct. 2009). The Plaintiffs appealed, and that the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. Brown v. Jenne, 2011 WL 5375045 (Fla. 4th DCA, Nov. 9, 2011). The Plaintiffs moved for rehearing, but the appellate court denied the rehearing with respect to the firm's client. Brown ex rel. Brown v. Jenne, 122 So. 3d 881 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012).

Arugu v. Division of Administrative Hearings, 1 So. 3d 187 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009)

The firm represented the Broward County Sheriff's Office in a discrimination and civil rights proceeding brought by a former employee Kenneth Arugu, who had filed a charge of discrimination alleging various violations of the Florida Civil Rights Act, Florida Statutes §§ 760.01 et seq. After review of BSO's position statement contesting the allegations in the plaintiff's charge of discrimination, which, among other things, set forth the percentage of minorities employed by BSO, the administrative agency issued a "no-cause" determination, meaning it found that plaintiff Arugu was not discriminated against. Because of this finding, Arugu could not file suit in court, but was limited to administrative remedies (a hearing before DOAH), which he pursued. At the DOAH hearing, DOAH found in favor of BSO. Arugu appealed and the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of BSO.

Sweat v. Town of Davie, Florida, 2007 WL 3234638 (Fla. Cir. Ct. 2007) (Damoorgian, J.)

The firm represented the Defendant (a municipality in Florida) in an action brought by the plaintiff (a former police officer) alleging sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Florida's Civil Rights Act, Florida Statutes § 760.01 et seq. At the motion to dismiss stage, the firm was able to get the sexual harassment claim thrown out by the court. See Sweat v. Town of Davie, 2004 WL 5354051 (Fla. Cir. Ct. 2004). After discovery revealed that the plaintiff did not engage in any protected activity and that even if she had the decision-maker, the police chief, did not have knowledge of the alleged protected activity, the firm filed a motion for summary judgment which was granted by the court. No appeal was filed.

Brooks v. Jenne, 2005 WL 5432453 (S.D. Fla. 2005)

The firm represented the Defendant (the Broward Sheriff's Office and two employees) in an action brought by the plaintiff (a former police officer) pursuant to (42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Title VII), and pursuant to the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. (See Amended Complaint ¶ 5). The court had previously dismissed the claims brought against defendant Dansky under Title VII because such claims can only be brought against the employer. Brooks v. Jenne, 2005 WL 5488060 (S.D. Fla. 2005). The Plaintiff sued Sheriff Jenne in his official capacity as Sheriff of Broward County and he sued defendants Kohnke and Dansky in their individual capacities. Id. ¶¶ 2-3. Essentially, Plaintiff sought to hold Sheriff Jenne liable vicariously for the actions of Kohnke and Dansky under § 1981, 1983, and Title VII, as a result of their investigation into Plaintiff's alleged Personnel and Policy Manual violations, which allegedly cast Plaintiff in a bad light and contained unfair inaccuracies. Id. ¶ 42. Count I of the Complaint was against Sheriff Jenne and Count II was against Dansky. The court dismissed the complaint for numerous reasons, including qualified immunity, absolute immunity, and the failure to properly plead § 1983 claims. No appeal was filed in this case.

Smith v. Sheriff Jenne, 2005 WL 5375369 (S.D. Fla. 2004)

The firm represented the Defendant (the Broward Sheriff's Office) in an action brought by the plaintiff (a former police officer) in which the plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging employment discrimination (brought pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII", 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.), breach of contract (common law), breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (common law), wrongful discharge (common law), intentional infliction of emotional distress (common law), and fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation (common law). No appeal was filed in this case. The court dismissed the complaint for numerous reasons, including that it failed to state proper causes of action.

Decisions Not Published by Westlaw Which Involve the Firm Ending the Case Dispositively

Tropical Aviation v. Broward County, Case No. 04-60416-PCH (S.D. Fla. 2005)

The firm represented the defendant after the plaintiff (a company with a lease to operate an airplane hangar at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport) filed this action against Sheriff Jenne and BSO employee Robert Sierra in the Circuit Court in and for Broward County, Florida, pursuant to one federal statute (42 U.S.C. § 1983), the Florida Constitution, and the United States Constitution, arising out of an alleged illegal search and seizure. [D.E. 1]. The plaintiff sued Sheriff Jenne in his official capacity as Sheriff of Broward County and it sued Sierra in his individual capacity. Essentially, Plaintiff s ought to hold Sheriff Jenne liable vicariously for the actions of Sierra under § 1983, as a result of an illegal search and seizure, because there were no allegations in the Amended Complaint concerning the sheriff doing anything unlawful or improper. This case was removed to federal court. Count I of the Amended Complaint was against Sheriff Jenne, and sought a permanent injunction against Sheriff Jenne from engaging in any illegal searches. Count II sought damages against Sheriff Jenne for the alleged illegal search and seizure. Count III sought damages against Sierra, and there was an allegation that Sierra had been enjoined from illegally searching the plaintiff's hangar in state court .

Discovery revealed that the plaintiff misrepresented that it obtained a restraining order against defendant Sierra, and the court, in part because of this fraud, dismissed the case. [D.E. 50]. The court gave the plaintiff the option of voluntarily dismissing the case, or the court would dismiss the case involuntarily and require the plaintiff to reimburse the defendant for all attorney fees expended in the case. The plaintiff chose the former.

Bellamy v. Broward Sheriff's Office, Case No. 99-07435-DMM (S.D. Fla. 1999)

The firm represented the Defendant (the Broward Sheriff's Office) in a claim alleging race discrimination under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Plaintiff was employed as a police officer. [D.E. 1]. The firm filed a motion for involuntary dismissal because the plaintiff engaged in discovery fraud. [D.E. 30]. The plaintiff, after discovery, could not establish that there was any race discrimination, and agreed to dismiss the case without receiving any compensation. [D.E. 44, 45].

Hite v. Hollywood Imports Ltd., Inc., d/b/a Hollywood Honda Case No. 98-06894-WJZ (S.D. Fla.)

The firm represented one of the Defendants (the manager of a car dealership), in a claim alleging race discrimination brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Plaintiff was employed as a car salesman by the defendant. [D.E. 1]. The plaintiff failed to follow pretrial deadlines after his co-workers received an unfavorable jury verdict in Andrews v. Hollywood Imports Ltd., Inc., d/b/a Hollywood Honda, Case No. 97-07525-CIV-ZLOCH (S.D. Fla.). [D.E. 44]. Thereafter, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss his case, and the court accepted the dismissal. [D.E. 45, 46].

Adelson v. Brooks Boatworks, Inc., Case No. 07-14218-DLG (S.D. Fla. 2007)

The firm represented the Defendant Brooks Boatworks, Inc. in a claim alleging overtime violations and retaliation pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. Plaintiff was employed as a worker at a local boat painting and maintenance business in Riviera Beach, Florida. [D.E. 1]. The firm filed an answer and affirmative defenses on behalf of the defendants, because the corporate defendant did not have gross annual revenue that exceeded $500,000, and thus was not subject to the FLSA. [D.E. 7]. The plaintiff, after discovery, could not establish that the defendant's gross annual revenue exceeded $500,000, and agreed to dismiss the case receiving no money. [D.E. 29, 34].

Pielech v. Independent Education Corp., d/b/a Key College, Case No. 04-10700(05)-Richard Eade (Broward County, Florida)

The firm represented the Defendant, which is a college. Plaintiff filed a one-count Complaint against Ronald H. Dooley (the Dean of the college) on June 30, 2004 alleging that Plaintiff was terminated from his employment and was still owed $975.00 for his last week of work, plus 12 hours of unpaid wages. (Complaint ¶ 23). Plaintiff entitled this one count, "Claim for Unpaid Wages Against the Employer", and sought recovery under Florida Statutes § 448.08. Mr. Dooley moved to dismiss the Complaint on July 13, 2004 for failing to state a cause of action in that a claim for unpaid wages should be brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the FLSA preempts the state wage claim) and § 448.08 does not allow for the recovery of unpaid wages (it pertains to the recovery of attorney fees to the prevailing party in an action for unpaid wages).

The firm on behalf of Mr. Dooley set the hearing on the Motion to Dismiss for August 11, 2004 . Plaintiff then, unilaterally and without conferral with undersigned counsel, filed a three-count First Amended Complaint against the college raising an entirely new claim, and simultaneously noticed four depositions. That filing rendered moot the legal sufficiency of the original complaint, because it was superceded via the filing of an amended complaint. Vanderberg v. Rios, 798 So. 2d 806 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001). The three-count First Amended Complaint contained allegations of breach of contract, quantum meruit, and a violation of the Florida Whistleblower Act against the college. The Whistleblower Act claim alleged that IEC 1) falsified student grades; 2) falsified student attendance records; 3) falsified course schedules; 4) falsified faculty lists; 5) engaged in fraud in connection with student loans; and 6) sexually harassed students. (See First Amended Complaint ¶ 15). The court dismissed the first, second, and third complaints, because the plaintiff could not state a cause of action.

Dennis Brown v. School Bd. of Broward County, Case No. 01-012221(04) (Broward County)

The firm represented the Defendants Broward County School Board and Sylevester Davis (a Broward County School Board employee) in a claim alleging against the school board violations of Florida's Whistleblower Statute, Florida Statutes § 112.3187 (Count I) as to public employers, negligent supervision (Count II), and apparently pursuant to the common law tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count IV). Additionally, Plaintiff's wife asserted a derivative claim for loss of consortium (Count III). Count II (negligent supervision) was not asserted against Davis.

The Court dismissed Count I in the original motion to dismiss the initial complaint filed by defendants . In subsequent hearings and subsequent attempts by the plaintiff to amend the complaint to state a cause of action, the court eventually dismissed the remainder of the case against both defendants for failure to state a cause of action.

Favorable Jury Verdicts

  • Maranto v. Jenne, Case No. 00-15951 (09) (Broward Circuit Court) (Andrews, J.)

On April 24, 2006, in this Equal Pay Act case, the firm received a jury verdict in its client' (the Broward Sheriff's Office) favor. After a 4-day jury trial, the jury found that there was no Equal Pay Act violation and that the female plaintiff was not paid less than similarly situated male employees.

  • Harley v. The Health Center of Coconut Creek, Inc., Case No. 04-61309-CIV-GOLD (S.D. Fla.)

On October 18, 2007, the firm received a jury verdict in its client's favor in a Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") retaliation case. The jury trial took four (4) days. This particular case was tried three times, the first two trials resulted in hung juries.

  • Andrews v. Hollywood Imports Ltd., Inc., d/b/a Hollywood Honda, Case No. 97-07525-CIV-ZLOCH (S.D. Fla.)

In this civil rights/employment discrimination case, four (4) plaintiffs brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 alleging that they were discriminated against in various ways on account of their race and ethnic characteristics. The case went to trial which lasted five (5) days. On February 3, 1999, the firm received a jury verdict in the defense client's favor (the sales manager) on all counts of the complaint. The plaintiffs sought millions of dollars and had television news cameramen outside the courthouse when the verdict was read.

Cases in Which "No-Cause" Determinations Were Obtained from Administrative Agencies

Allen v. Bennett Auto Supply, Inc., BCHRD Charge No. EM 247-05-10

The charging party filed his Charge of Discrimination on May 10, 2010. The charge indicated (in the "Cause of Discrimination Based on" section) that the employment discrimination at issue in this matter involved race. The charge included only legal conclusions, and conspicuously absent from the charge were any factual allegations that support those legal conclusions. The legal conclusions stated in the charge were as follows: 1) a disparate treatment claim for his termination, based on race, and the only facts given were that he was engaged in excessive tardiness (and terminated for that) while non-African Americans were allowed to engage in excessive tardiness, and work through lunch.

The investigating agency was the Broward County Human Rights Division. The fact that the Charge of Discrimination did not contain one single fact that supports the Charging Party's claims spoke volumes concerning the complete lack of merit of his claims. As set forth below in more detail, the Charging Party could not possibly: 1) prove a disparate treatment claim with respect to his termination, as he was replaced by an African-American (Amy Williams), who was in turn replaced by a black male (Frank Denson), and because the decision-maker, Gary Dupuis, has recently (both before and after the Charging Party's termination) hired other African-Americans (as assistant store managers); 2) the decision-maker both hired and fired Charging Party, and if he was racist, he never would have hired an African-American in the first place, much less hired two others shortly after Charging Party's termination; and 3) excessive tardiness is unacceptable, because it fundamentally interferes with Bennett Auto's business plan of timely delivering parts to its customers, which timeliness its customers demand. For these reasons, Bennett Auto requested that the Broward County Human Rights Division enter a no-cause finding with respect to the Charging Party's Charge of Discrimination.

After conducting an investigation (the investigator was African-American), which included questioning numerous of witnesses from Bennett Auto, the Broward County Human Rights Division entered a "no-cause" finding, holding that Bennett Auto did not engage in race discrimination toward the charging party. The no-cause finding limits the charging party's remedies under the Florida Civil Rights Act to administrative remedies, and requires that the charging party, if he desires to file suit, to file it in federal court. The charging party did not file a lawsuit in this case.

Sandra Harrison v. Bennett Auto Supply, Inc., EEOC No. 15M-2010-00027; FEPA No. 1000040

The charging party filed her Charge of Discrimination on November 13, 2009. The charge indicated (in the "Cause of Discrimination Based on" section) that the employment discrimination at issue in this matter involved race. The only box checked off is the "race" box. The charge included little other than legal conclusions. The legal conclusions stated in the charge were as follows: 1) a hostile work environment harassment claim based on and race; and 2) a disparate treatment claim for her termination, based on race. The Charge of Discrimination did include allegations that the epithet "n----r" was used on the job toward the charging party.

The investigating agency was the Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity. The charging party could not possibly: 1) have had a claim of racial harassment against Bennett Auto, because she never complained of harassment pursuant to Bennett Auto's anti-harassment policy, and therefore never gave Bennett Auto a chance to rectify any allegedly harassing environment; and 2) prove a disparate treatment claim with respect to her termination, because she was not properly performing her job, was still in her probationary period, and because the decision-maker, Frank Scalise, hired her weeks before he fired her, and has recently (before the charging party's termination) hired other black employees. For these reasons, Bennett Auto requested that the Office enter a no-cause finding with respect to the Charging Party's Charge of Discrimination.

After conducting an investigation, the Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity entered a no-cause finding, holding that Bennett Auto did not engage in race discrimination or harassment toward the charging party. The no-cause finding limits the charging party's remedies under the Florida Civil Rights Act to administrative remedies, and requires that the charging party, if he desires to file suit, to file it in federal court. The charging party did not file a lawsuit in this case.

Michelle Davis v. Bennett Auto Supply, Inc., BCHRD Charge No. EM 205-4-05

The charging party filed her Charge of Discrimination on April 13, 2005. The charge indicated (in the "Cause of Discrimination Based on" section) that the employment discrimination at issue in this matter involves race and sex. The charge included only legal conclusions, and conspicuously absent from the charge were any factual allegations that support those legal conclusions. The legal conclusions stated in the charge were as follows: 1) a hostile work environment harassment claim based on both sex and race; 2) a disparate treatment claim for her termination, based on both race and sex, and 3) that she was subject to disparate treatment because of her sex and race with respect to her hours of work, a promotion, and taking time off.

The investigating agency was the Broward County Human Rights Division. The Charging Party could not possibly: 1) have had a claim of sexual or racial harassment against Bennett Auto, because she never complained of harassment pursuant to Bennett Auto's anti-harassment policy, and therefore never gave Bennett Auto a chance to rectify any allegedly harassing environment; 2) prove a disparate treatment claim with respect to her termination, as she was replaced by a black female, and because the decision-maker, Jeff Barnick, has recently (before the Charging Party's termination) hired still other black females; and 3) prove a promotion claim because she never applied for a promotion (and there were no promotions available), prove a disparate treatment claim with respect to time off or hours worked, because she was not treated any differently than the other drivers who worked with her at store #3. For these reasons, Bennett Auto requested that the Division enter a no-cause finding with respect to the charging party's Charge of Discrimination, and it did. The no-cause finding limits the charging party's remedies under the Florida Civil Rights Act to administrative remedies, and requires that the charging party, if he desires to file suit, to file it in federal court. The charging party did not file a lawsuit in this case.

Kenneth Arugu v. Broward Sheriff's Office, FCHR No. 2005-02514; BSO Claim No. GC52POL7501

The charging party filed his Charge of Discrimination in July, 2005. The charging party alleged in his Charge of Discrimination that due to his national origin (African Nigerian) he was discharged and was not reinstated by BSO even after he was cleared of criminal charges, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, Florida Statutes § 760.01 et seq.

The investigating agency was the Florida Commission on Human Relations. The Charging Party identified three "comparators" in his Charge of Discrimination, who he alleged engaged in similar conduct as he, but who were not fired by BSO. The Commission noted that the three "comparators" were not true comparators, because the facts involving the situations of their discipline were completely different than the facts concerning the termination of the Charging Party. Numerous witnesses testified that the Charging Party committed serious battery upon two law enforcement officers, who came to arrest him after his involvement in a violent domestic dispute. Further, it was found that the Charging Party had a similar incident with the Sunrise Police Department in which he committed a battery on law enforcement officers, but the Charging Party neglected to inform BSO of that arrest. Additionally, the Charging Party lied under oath during the internal affairs investigation into his misconduct surrounding the battery of the law enforcement officers. For these reasons, and those set forth in BSO's Professional Compliance Investigative Report concerning the above-cited incidents, the Charging Party was terminated. The Florida Commission on Human Relations issued a "no-cause" finding. The no-cause finding limits the charging party's remedies under the Florida Civil Rights Act to administrative remedies, and requires that the charging party, if he desires to file suit, to file it in federal court. The charging party did not file a lawsuit in this case. The charging party did appeal the "no-cause" finding to the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH), which upheld the no-cause finding. Thereafter, the charging party appealed that decision to the Fourth District Court of Appeal, which affirmed the decision. See Arugu v. Division of Administrative Hearings, 1 So. 3d 187 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009).

Maria Gomez v. Vicky Bakery, VIII, MDCCHR No. 11 1026 010; EEOC Charge No. 15C 2011 00018

The charging party filed her Charge of Discrimination on October 26, 2010. The investigating agency was Miami-Dade County Office of Human Rights and Fair Employment Practices. The charge indicated (in the "Cause of Discrimination Based on" section) that the employment discrimination at issue in this matter involved sex and retaliation, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, Florida Statutes § 760.01 et seq., and Miami-Dade County's Ordinance. The charge included only legal conclusions, and conspicuously absent from the charge were any factual allegations that support those legal conclusions. The legal conclusions stated in the charge were as follows: 1) a hostile work environment harassment claim based on sex; 2) a disparate treatment claim for her termination, based on and sex, and 3) that she was subject to retaliation because of her alleged complaints of discrimination. The Charge of Discrimination was woefully deficient concerning any allegations of sexual harassment, because such harassment has to be repeated, prolonged, and not rectified upon complaint, and the couple instances that she mentions (even if they occurred, and they did not), are not sufficient to rise to the level of sexual harassment.

Concerning the alleged violations of Title VII and FCRA, the Office issued a "no-cause" finding in light of the fact that the employer did not employ the requisite fifteen (15) employees in order to be subject to those statutes.

Despite this finding by the EEOC, the charging party continued to litigate her claims in the Miami-Dade County Office of Human Rights (which allows claims to be prosecuted no matter what the number of employees the employer employs). While Miami-Dade initially found cause to be believe that the charging party was retaliated against, after the charging party was deposed (and stated under oath that never complained about sexual harassment and thus agreed that she could not have been retaliated against), Miami-Dade withdrew the finding of retaliation, and substituted it with a finding that the charging party was not subject to retaliation.

Fernando Leiva v. Town of Davie, BCHRD Charge No. EM 221-10-04; EEOC No. 15AA500013

The charging party filed his Charge of Discrimination in November, 2004. The Charging Party alleged in his Charge of Discrimination that due to his race (Indian) the Town of Davie reduced his Executive Leave hours from 112 hours per year to 56 hours per year, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., the Florida Civil Rights Act, and the Broward County Human Rights Act. The Charging Party was the Town of Davie's Planning and Zoning Manager.

The Charging Party's allegations were completely without merit, as the Town of Davie sets its Executive Leave hours based on the employee's position. Because the Charging Party was a manager (Planning and Zoning), he was entitled to Executive Leave hours of 56 per year. While in fiscal year 2002-03 the Charging Party did receive 112 hours of Executive Leave, that was due to a scrivener's error in a document. The Town of Davie's Administrative Policies provided for department directors and three specifically enumerated employees to receive 112 hours of Executive Leave per year, assistant department directors to receive 96 hours per year, and "other designated management and support staff" -- such as the Planning and Zoning Manager, the Economic Development Manager, the Risk Manager, and the Public Relations Coordinator--to receive 56 hours per year. The Charging Party, as the Town of Davie's Planning and Zoning Manager, was entitled to only 56 Executive Leave hours per year.

The Town of Davie's policies were approved by the Town Council, which consisted of five elected individuals. In order for the Charging Party to establish a discrimination claim, he had to prove that a majority of the Town Council was motivated by the Charging Party's race when it approved the policy providing for 56 hours of Executive Leave for the Planning and Zoning Manager position. Mathews v. Columbia County, 294 F.3d 1294 (11th Cir. 2002) (holding that in a race case when a group body, such as a county commission, makes an employment decision, the employee must show either that an individual's racism infected the whole committee's decision or that a majority of the persons on the committee were racist); Mason v. Village of El Portal, 240 F.3d 1337 (11th Cir. 2001) (holding same); Wascura v. City of South Miami, 257 F.3d 1238 (11th Cir. 2001) (holding same). The Charging Party was not able to prove such discrimination, nor did it happen.

While the Charge of Discrimination alleged in conclusory fashion that "similarly situated non-Indian employees continue to receive the full 14 day [112 hours per year] Executive Leave benefit", no specific employees are identified. In fact, as stated above, all department directors received 112 hours per year of Executive Leave, the assistant department directors receive 96 hours, and "other designated management and support staff" (such as the Charging Party) received 56 hours per year. There was no similarly situated individual who received 112 hours of Executive Leave per year, much less an individual who is non-Indian. Accordingly, the Town of Davie requested that the Division enter a finding of no reasonable cause to believe that a violation of the employment discrimination statutes had occurred.

The Broward County Human Rights Division on March 30, 2005, entered a "no-cause" finding. The no-cause finding limits the charging party's remedies under the Florida Civil Rights Act to administrative remedies, and requires that the charging party, if he desires to file suit, to file it in federal court. The charging party did not file a lawsuit in this case. No lawsuit was ever filed.