The National Black Lawyers
9.0Annette Newman


Often employees contact my firm wishing to sue their employer for wrongful termination. Many are surprised to learn that they have very little protection from termination, even if they are a tenured employee who has been with their employer for a long time. The State of Florida is an “at will” state, meaning both employers and employees of most private organizations can terminate the employment relationship for any reason or no reason at all, and with or without giving advance notice. In other words, employers do not have to give their employees a reason for discharging them. There are, however, a few exceptions to “at will” employment. If that is not the case, unfortunately, the employee has no legal remedy

Of course, there are exceptions to “at will” employment, including if you were wrongfully terminated or treated in a disparate manner, based on discriminatory reasons, because of your protected class, including race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, pregnancy, familial status, sexual orientation, or other reasons that are protected by law. If your employer subjected you to harassment, a hostile work environment, or retaliated against you because of discriminatory reasons, there are federal, state statutes as well as local ordinances which protect you.

Not all employees are “at will” employees. For example, certain employees who work for public agencies (federal/state and county employees for example) are entitled to “due process” before they can be terminated from their job. Due process means that the government agency they work for is required to give their employees advance notice before they can be fired. They also have to give their employees an opportunity to be heard at a hearing. At the hearing, the agency must show that it has a good reason for firing the employee, and the employee must be given an opportunity to argue why he or she should not be fired. Some courts refer to this exception to “at will” employment as “just cause.” For example, tenured teachers who work for public schools cannot be terminated without just cause, and must first be given an opportunity to appear at a hearing to argue why they should not be fired.

Another exception to “at will” employment is employees who sign a contract with a definite time period when the employment relationship ends. Independent contractors are an example of this. If the independent contractor or the employer violates material terms and conditions of the employment contract agreement, the employer and/or employee can terminate the employment contract for breach of contract and sue the employer/employee for the breach.

Employees who are members of a union also have more protection from arbitrary termination than “at will” employees. The collective bargaining agreement (CBA), is a contract the union representatives and employer negotiates, which usually contains the terms and conditions upon which an employee can be fired among other things. When the union and employer agree to the terms and conditions in a CBA, both the employer and the union are required to abide by that agreement. Some examples of the terms in a CBA are terms regarding promotions, demotions, suspensions, pay, disciplinary actions and termination from employment.

Another exception to “at will” employment is referred to as the “public policy exception.” Examples of public policy violations includes: an employer who violates public policies of the State, such as terminating an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim; an employee refuses to violate the law at his/her employer’s request, and the employer terminates him/her; an employer retaliates against an employee for “blowing the whistle” on his/her employer for violating safety laws (“Whistle Blower” protection); an employer who fires an employee for not reporting to work, because he/she had to serve on jury duty; and an employer who terminates an employee who is unable to work, because he/she is called to active duty or reserve duty for the military.

If you have been terminated from your job, you should speak to a knowledgeable employment/labor law attorney who can evaluate your case, to determine if your rights have been violated. If one of the exceptions to at will employment applies to you, or you were terminated for discriminatory reasons based on your protected class, give us a call at 772.291-2528 and schedule a consultation, so we can evaluate your claim, to determine if your employer violated your rights.

June 28, 2018

Annette Newman, Esq., founder of the Law Office of Annette Newman, LLC, was recently recognized in the 2018 edition of Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite™. The list of 1,012 honorees includes attorneys in private practice as well as top government and non-profit attorneys.

To compile the list, Florida Trend invited all actively practicing Florida lawyers to name the attorneys that they hold in highest regard – lawyers with whom they have personally worked and would recommend to others. The winner list represents just over 1% of the active Florida Bar members who practice in Florida.

Florida Bar President Michelle R. Suskauer notes, “Florida Bar members are at the forefront of our profession and we are the third largest Bar in the country. Lawyers have opportunities every day to positively change people’s lives and to increase access to justice. We also live in a time of innovation, giving us exciting new ways to use technology with our knowledge and skills to better serve clients. Year after year, Florida Trend’s Legal Elite provides a credible resource of attorneys evaluated by their peers and representing many types and sizes of practices.”

"Florida Trend’s 250,000 readers are executives who rely on the legal community for many crucial corporate assignments,” says Publisher Andrew Corty. “When we first published Florida Legal Elite in 2004, our goal was to provide a resource for our readers. Over the past 15 years, I’ve heard many accolades about the program. Florida Legal Elite is a guide to selecting a trusted legal partner to handle delicate business concerns. Our website,, offers another pathway for the dissemination of this key information.”

The entire Legal Elite report can be viewed at

Contacts: Andrew P. Corty, Florida Trend Publisher
(727) 892-2638;

Janice Sharp, Florida Trend Associate Publisher
(727) 892-2621;

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January 22, 2019 – Announcing the selection of Annette Newman, Esq., among America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® for 2019. Selection to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® is by invitation only and is reserved to identify the nation’s most exceptional trial attorneys in high value, high stakes legal matters.  

To be considered for selection, an attorney must have litigated (for either plaintiff or defendant) a matter (1) with at least $2,000,000 in alleged damages at stake or (2) with the fate of a business worth at least $2,000,000 at stake. These minimum qualifications are required for initial consideration. Thereafter, candidates are carefully screened through comprehensive Qualitative Comparative Analysis based on a broad array of criteria, including the candidate’s professional experience, litigation experience, significant case results, representative high stakes matters, peer reputation, and community impact in order to rank the candidates throughout the state.  

Only the top 100 qualifying attorneys in each state will receive this honor and be selected for membership among America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators®. With these extremely high standards for selection to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators®, less than one-half percent (0.5%) of active attorneys in the United States will receive this honor — truly the most exclusive and elite level of attorneys in the community.

If you would like more information about America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® or the selection process, please visit our website at or contact Kevin Wieser – Membership Director at