Florida Injury and Employment Attorneys

2019 Law Protections in Florida Workplaces

January 18, 2019

Florida employers must comply with employment laws throughout the process of hiring and firing employees for a business. These laws help to protect those individuals applying for a job, and, in the end, they also protect the employer from a hefty lawsuit. Laws are in place to be sure that employees receive a fair wage for their work and keep employers from making unfair demands on employees.

Employers must pay employees a fair and working salary according to federal law. The minimum wage for an employee in the state of Florida is $8.25 per hour, a dollar more than the federal requirement. Overtime benefits start for anyone making minimum wage who currently works more than 40 hours per week.

Workplace Protections in 2019

In 2019, Legislators are considering new laws to help cover sensitive topics in the workplace. These bills are in the works for increased salary requirements, gender discrimination and more. Perhaps one of the most interesting debates in the workplace for 2018 is the use of a prescription for medical marijuana while at work or testing positive during routine drug tests.

A new law pertaining to the overtime salary requirements discussed previously may be in the works. In October of 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) is planning to propose that the annual salary of an employee excluded from overtime would increase from the current $23,660 to $32,000. This change would cause employers currently paying employees as managers and other professional employees to reconsider their pay scale, and will add more employees to the list to be eligible for overtime benefits.

Changes to Medical Marijuana Laws in the Workplace

With the rise of medical prescriptions, some states are looking to create laws to protect employees who need the drug for medical reasons. The legality of medical marijuana is currently determined at the state level, leaving a lot of open space for employers to discriminate against people with a prescription. Twenty-nine states currently have legalized the use of medical marijuana, but, at the federal level, it is still a crime to use.

The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to prosecute people who engage in conduct or activities permitted at the state level. States that permit the use of medical marijuana can, therefore, dictate the laws for the workplace. The Department of Transportation (DOT) still considers medical marijuana from a federal standpoint – making it illegal to use or possess. Many places of employment use the DOT’s drug testing regulations as the basis for drug tests for their employees. A medical examiner will certify a test as positive for marijuana regardless of a prescription when using the DOT’s regulations.

Additionally, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) clearly states that individuals with a disability receive protection against discrimination. A large number of individuals who carry a medical marijuana prescription do so because of their disability. But, the ADA also clearly states that a person who is currently using an illegal drug does not qualify as a person with a disability. Therefore, the ADA does not protect individuals who choose to use a medical marijuana prescription because it is still illegal at a federal level.

The current standings are that the state can individually decide the outcome of the use of medical marijuana on the job, at least until September 2018. Jobs for federally regulated positions such as CDL drivers must still follow federal guidelines. If the employee discloses the use of medical marijuana before submitting to a drug test, the state may have additional laws of protection set up for this exact situation. It is important to determine on a case-by-case basis and to consult a professional with any questions.

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