Miami RIF Lawyer

Dire economic conditions or loss of contracts sometimes require that employers make reductions in force, commonly referred to as a “RIF.” Such reductions may trigger unexpected consequences for employers, such as disparate impact claims, if a group of employees who are members of the same protected category, is affected at a higher statistical rate than a different group. For example, if a company reduces its workforce by 100 employees and 60 of those employees are Hispanic, the company may face a discrimination claim as the RIF had a disparate impact on the Hispanic employees when compared to employees of other races.

Before implementing a RIF, a company must establish criteria for selection of employees to be included in the RIF. The selection criteria should not include any categories protected under the law. Instead, it should include objective criteria to be evaluated prior to implementing the RIF.

There are federal laws under which employees could bring claims of disparate impact discrimination as a result of the RIF. For instance, the applicable federal law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), and the equivalent state law is the Florida Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”). Both statutes apply to employers with 15 or more employees.

In addition, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (“WARN Act”) requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide advance notice of at least 60 calendar days prior to any plant closing or mass layoff. If the employer meets the requirements under the WARN Act, notice must be given to the employees, labor unions, local chief elected official like the mayor, and the state dislocated worker unit.

There are many considerations involved in determining whether the WARN Act applies and to what extent. In a recent case in the Southern District of Florida, Hartel v. Unity Recovery Ctr., Inc., No. 16-80471-CIV-COHN/SELTZER, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11628 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 26, 2017), Unity placed plaintiffs on paid leaves of absence, indicating that they would be on leave for at least 30 days. In addition, Unity promised plaintiffs that if it terminated their employment during the leave, they would be entitled to severance. Unity never informed plaintiffs that their leaves were over after the 30 days ran out. Instead, almost two months later, Unity informed plaintiffs that they were being terminated. Unity later closed its operations and laid off all of its employees. Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Unity under the WARN Act.

The court granted summary judgment in part and dismissed the WARN claims. The court found that plaintiffs failed to establish that they were “affected employees” under the Act because they did not have a “reasonable expectation of recall” after their leave period was exhausted, which was before Unity closed its operations and laid off all of its employees.

Lawyers from BT Law Group have extensive experience advising clients about, and litigating, claims involving the WARN Act. If you need assistance navigating this complex area of the law, please contact the attorneys at BT Law Group for a consultation.

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Our Process
1.
Investigate

As a first step, your assigned legal team will gather and review records related to your claim, including any employment contract or offer letter, time sheets, any relevant communications, and any disciplinary actions, including performance improvement plans or termination paperwork.

These documents will help your attorneys evaluate your claims and develop a strategy to obtain the best results for your situation.

2.
Formulate

Once your legal team completes the initial investigation, they will work with you to determine the best legal strategy for your situation. Your legal team will make recommendations and will work with you to formulate the most effective approach to obtain your desired outcome.

3.
Advocate

After you and your legal team formulate the strategy, your legal team will advocate on your behalf to obtain your desired outcome. This could include negotiating a separation package, engaging in pre-suit negotiations, sending a demand letter, and/or filing a charge of discrimination or lawsuit on your behalf.

The attorneys at BT Law are experienced trial lawyers and will advocate for your rights in the courtroom as necessary.

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Jason and Anisley are one of the best decisions someone can make given the situation. They are knowledgeable, transparent, proactive and communicate with their clients. I have dealt with other attorneys in the past and I’m always frustrated because you don’t get information or you have to chase the attorney and staff down that’s not the case with them.

In finding the right lawyers to represent you, you want to have mutual respect and understanding for each other and clear communication to achieve your goals. BT Law Group is just that. They not only represented me to their fullest abilities, but went above and beyond to truly understand my goals and priorities and provide sound legal advice to achieve such. It was a pleasure working with both Anisley and Jason, I’d highly recommend them.

We very much enjoyed BT Law Group’s founding partner, Anisley Tarragona service and attention to detail. From the onset her approach was practical and conscious of providing the best legal advice while being mindful of suggesting cost effective, conservative solutions. We find her to be a great business partner to service all our employment related legal needs.

I received a prompt and very professional service by the BT Law Group. Ms Tarragona provides tailored advice in the best interest of the client. She was meticulous and explained the pros and cons of my case in very simple terms which allowed me to consider and take the best decision. Very happy with the service. Highly recommended.

Absolutely wonderful and professional services. Represented my mom in a caring and personalized manner. Knowledgeable and ethical. Thank you!

I always consult BT Law Group for employment law matters. They are responsive, practical and efficient. I recommend them to colleagues and friends.

Trusted advisors
Jason D. Berkowitz is a Founding Partner of BT Law Group, PLLC. Prior to starting BT Law, Mr. Berkowitz was a Partner in the Miami office of a national labor and employment law firm where he represented management exclusively.
Anisley Tarragona is a founding partner of BT Law Group, PLLC. Prior to starting BT Law, Ms. Tarragona worked in the Miami office of a national labor and employment law firm where she represented management exclusively. Ms. Tarragona, who was born and raised in Cuba, is fluent in Spanish.
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