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We are what we are

We are what we are

We make our money off of racism, gender discrimination and ethnic intolerance. There is no shortage of work in South Florida, a melting pot that has never quite come to a boil.

I remember picking a jury in federal court in Miami and having one of the potential jurors describe himself as "the last white man in Dade County." The good (and pretty obvious) news is that he did not get picked. The bad news is that I had gone to Catholic grade school with his sister back in the 1950s.

That is when Miami had two English-only newspapers, The Miami Herald and The Miami Daily News, Hialeah was famous for its glitzy horse track, Miami Beach was a retirement Mecca for Jewish northeasterners, Coral Gables was old money WASP, Fort Lauderdale was a place for rich people with boats and Hollywood was where police officers and FBI agents in government-issue Plymouths used to congregate in the parking lot of a stone-crab restaurant to watch Mafia guys have lunch.

And then there was Fidel Castro and what had been merely Southwest Eighth Street became Calle Ocho. Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son, Jean Claude ("Baby Doc") brutally raped Haiti and a flood of Haitians immigrated into both Miami-Dade and Broward County. Caribbeans brought jerk, reggae and even posses (gangs) to South Florida. Islamics began building mosques. French Canadians swarmed to Hallandale. The Seminole Tribe not only built a casino, but took over the Hard Rock Empire. A Greek community flourished. South Africans and just about everyone else started arriving. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach community became as ethnically, racially, religiously and culturally diverse as any place on earth.

This is good. It makes us rich in culture.

But the other day, we were talking to a Romanian server at a high-end restaurant on Fort Lauderdale beach about how the various ethnic groups in what used to be Yugoslavia do not get along and he goes off on how awful Albanians are, how there is an Albanian neighborhood in South Broward and what kind of problems Albanians had caused in Romania. It was just another example of how everyone comes to South Florida, but how they never really leave where they came from.

Which is how we make a living, by fighting against employment (mostly) and housing decisions that are made based on race, ethnicity and religion, as well, of course, on gender, age and the perception that people suffering a physical handicap can't get the job done.

Everyone has his or her stereotypes. Our Romanian friend certainly had his about Albanians. One of my clients recently described her boss as a "Latino Alpha male." One of our African-American clients, a physician, told Jennifer Daley, our senior associate, who was born and raised in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, that she could not really grasp racial discrimination because she was not an American and got a both-barrels response.

Having stereotypes is one thing. Nothing wrong with that. Acting on them, however, is something else. It is illegal, for example, to not hire or promote someone because the boss does not think that Cubans, puertoriquenos, Romanians, Albanians, Siekhs, American blacks, Haitians, Australians, French Canadians, American white males, etc., are right for the job.

The Amlong Firm is all about Workplace Fairness. We sue employers whose discriminatory decision violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.

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500 Northeast Fourth Street
Suite 200
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Toll Free: 877-367-4440
Phone: 954-519-2235
Fort Lauderdale Employment Law Office