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An individual who was working as a W2 employee as a FL

employee, but was living in...
An individual who was working as a W2 employee as a FL employee, but was living in Panama (the country) recently got into an argument with an individual who was working on behalf of a staffing agency for the company as a W2.The conversation was heated, he started by making statements against her religion and she got upset and told him he wasn't fit for the job or something along these lines.He got upset and went to an employment lawyer and apparently is threatening to sue the company for religious discrimination.He cites:
1) The last 3-5 lines of the chat where the other person said "he wasn't fit for the job" but this was after he stated earlier to get her upset that her religion kills people
2) The fact that the company did restrict his access (but this was after we saw him forwarding emails from his company email to his personal one and the tech recommended it). Nor was he working and he was threatening to hire an attorney for a religious harassment lawsuit.
3) That he didn't like my answers to his threats.We have an employment contract at will for FL but he typed his name in in red instead of signing.Do we need an employee manual in FL and what potential monetary risks are we facing from his potential lawsuit and anything we can do to defend?Thanks.
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
8/19/2017
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13,470
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. It stinks that this situation has come up. before I answer your question, would you be able to help me understand your concern with needing an employee manual in Florida?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
He sent a final email stating "send me a copy of the employee manual" and only communicate with his attorney (who he hired out of Ohio).

I see. One moment...

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So, this is kind of a tough situation. As you know, it is illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of their religion. However, it is important to understand that the other side is the one that has to prove that any statements that were made somehow led to his discrimination. People could say what they want about another person's religion, but so long as it does not lead to a discriminatory environment, or discriminatory actions than the lawsuit is going to fail. How much this person could potentially sue for really depends on how greedy they are now what they want about another person's religion, but so long as it does not lead to a discriminatory environment, or discriminatory actions than the lawsuit is going to fail. How much this person could potentially sue for really depends on how greedy they are now greeted their lawyer is.greed their lawyer is. It really is nearly impossible to say how much they could want. However, I would just make sure that you are focusing in on how to settle this matter rather than fighting this matter because fighting it is going to get much more expensive than you could ever imagine.

Now As far as the employee manual, you may not need to provide the employee manual unless they are requesting it through Discovery. For example, if a party files a lawsuit, after the lawsuit is filed they can request discovery of certain documents. This means things like your employee manual. If it's not during the discovery process you are not required to turn it over. However, if it is after the lawsuit has been filed, then you would have to turn over that employee manual. If you don't have an employee manual to turn over, then you don't have to create one out of thin air, you can just say in your response to the Discovery request that it does not exist so you cannot turn it over.

What are the questions did you have for me?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
What are we talking about in fees if we fight this?And how would you approach the person to settle?
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Or would you recommend just not responding for now. He insisted on wanting to work and help people. Then he came back and said he felt he would be discriminated against so he would hire an attorney instead.
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Does his employee contract which states arbitration (that he digitally typed his name in) hold any weight, or is it invalid because he didn't sign?Thanks.

Those are two very good questions. Let me answer the first question. My regular hourly fee for example is $300 per hour. If a lawsuit is going to be filed, I would expect normally to spend maybe 1 to 3 hours developing an answer to the response. I would also expect to spend at least another 2 to 3 hours responding to any discovery request. So, all told, I would probably charge about $1,500 up front to do what I need to do. If it goes to trial, it would probably be much, much more expensive than that.

As far as how to approach the person to settle, I would find out how much money they want and if they would want something non-monetary like an apology and training on cultural sensitivity. Simple things like that may remind him that the organization is not one that tolerates discrimination.

If his contract says But he agreed to arbitration, then yes that will hold way it so if he files a lawsuit you could submit the motion to dismiss an attached the contract and highlight the portion where it says that he agreed to arbitration. Did you have any other questions for me?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Thank you. Is his contract valid at all with regards ***** ***** if he typed his name in red in it?Do they have to sue in FL as that was the official workplace even though he was out of state?And if the answer refutes everything he writes, can that end the case at that point?Would I ever have to appear in court?Thanks!

The color of his signature is not relevant. He could put a big, fat "X" as his name and so long as it is his signature, it is binding. They would have to sue in FL as well since that is technically where the defendant and the cause of action was, but I would expect that his attorney may try to have it moved out to somewhere more favorable.

Legal Eagle
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Thank you. Appreciate your help. Rating excellent :)

You are too kind!

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Just saw the two pending questions (if you have a min) :) Thanks !"And if the answer refutes everything he writes, can that end the case at that point?Would I ever have to appear in court?
"
If the answer refutes everything, the case won't be dismissed. It's normal to deny everything in an answer. The only way that the case would resolve is if you win, they win, or if you settle out of court. 95% of cases never go to trial so there is a low probability that you would ever end up in court.
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