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I work for a fast food chain and I’ve been there for about 3 weeks now. I started off getting full time hours. A couple days ago I was asked to go into the manager’s office, and she proceeded to ask me (a female) about one of the male supervisors that I worked with. She informed me that “even though the cameras aren’t recording in our location they can still see them in the corporate office.” She seems to think that me and this supervisor are doing other things than work when it’s just me and him in the store at night closing. So now, I’m down to about 10 hours in this next work week, and she has informed me that me and this supervisor are not to work together anymore. Is any of that illegal in Florida?
This may or may not be illegal. In order to make a discrimination claim on grounds of your gender, you have to establish that your reduction in hours is due to the fact that you are a female, and that other non-females are not treated in the same way, and that the hour reduction is not due to a legitimate, non-pretextual reason.
Although it would also be difficult for you to argue that the reduction in hours rises to the level of sexual harassment, you may have a stronger case here. For this claim, you’d have to establish that your hours are being reduced because you are a woman, and that the reduction in hours has created an abusive work environment. To be abusive, the workplace environment must be permeated with the hostile or abusive conduct.
Regardless of whether this rises to the level of harassment, most large companies try hard to avoid hostile work environments. If you look at your employee handbook, you are likely to find a procedure to follow if you feel you’re being harassed or discriminated against because of your gender. If you follow this procedure and your manager retaliates against you, you may have a stronger case for harassment or discrimination.
If you feel that you are being harassed or discriminated against, and following the procedures within your company does not resolve the issue or makes it worse, you can file a claim with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC). Florida has several field offices. You must do this before you can pursue a lawsuit against your employer. You do not need an attorney to file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC may then pursue the company on your behalf. If it does not, you may request a Right to Sue letter from the EEOC and file a lawsuit against the employer in regular court.