Strangely, Florida women want equal pay and they're trying to pass laws to get it: The gender pay gap in Florida shows women earn 85 cents for every dollar a man makes, and last week, several women's groups joined forces to help change Florida law – and the U.S. Constitution. State bills like the Sen. Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orange County, and Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-44, would ban employers from compensating workers based on sex or gender identity. Kim Porteous, president of the Florida chapter of the National Organization for Women, would like to see Florida close the wage gap and also tip the scales on the ERA by ratifying it. "Virginia is lined up to be that 38th state, but we've been fighting hard for it here, too," says Porteous.
Two Florida women are suing Rachel's Orlando for denying them entry: Brittany Smith and Anita Yanes allege that in 2018, Rachel's Steakhouse on South Orange Avenue denied them entry because of a policy that women must be accompanied by a man to be let inside. The women said in a complaint that Rachel's policy runs afoul of Orange County's Human Rights Ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender. Judge Keith A. Carsten of the Orange County Circuit Court disagreed with Smith and Yanes, dismissing their discrimination complaint and agreeing with Rachel's that Florida's civil rights laws trump county ordinances.
Owner of two Orlando restaurants got caught shorting hourly workers $27,000: The U.S. Department of Labor announced in a press release this month that employees at two Chai Thai Cuisine restaurants in Orlando are owed $27,000 in back wages. The owner of the restaurants, Hong Saeunong, violated overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, says the release. An investigation by the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division found Saeunong paid kitchen staff a flat rate per shift regardless of how many hours they worked during the shift. Even when kitchen staff logged more than 40 hours during the same workweek, Saeunong did not pay overtime, according to the press release. Split 17 ways, each employee will receive an average of over $1,500 in back pay.
Florida woman who 'milkshaked' Matt Gaetz sentenced to 15 days in jail: A Florida woman who tossed a slushie at Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz last June was sentenced to 15 days in federal custody. After pleading guilty last August and facing 100 days in prison, 35-year-old Amanda Kondrat'yev was sentenced to 15 days in jail, 100 days of probation and a $500 fine. Her jail term is scheduled to begin Dec. 2. It's worth noting that this is a fairly severe penalty for an offense that had no possibility of seriously harming anyone, whereas charges were dropped in Gaetz's 2008 drunk driving arrest.
When an elderly man's dog was hit by a car, employees at a Florida Publix got him a new one: Bob Eck, a regular Publix customer, used to shop with his dog Bobo, until Bobo was hit by a car and killed. Publix employees Leslie Hinton and Kathy Clifton encouraged Eck to visit a pet shelter and they insisted on footing the bill when he decided to adopt Peppy, a 4-year-old dog who was scheduled to be euthanized. Awwww.
– This story appears in the Nov. 27, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.