HOLDING EMPLOYERS ACCOUNTABLE SINCE 1985
If you have an employment issue, we can help. For more than 30 years, Fortune Law Offices has represented clients from every walk of life. While Scott’s clients consist mostly of financial professionals, medical doctors, C-Suite professionals, and Human Resources professionals, he has also represented upper- and mid-level managers, supervisors, and hourly workers — in every industry and profession. Whether your issue involves a termination, a forced resignation, a layoff, a downsizing, a reduction in force, a reorganization, an actual or de facto demotion, an employment contract, a non-compete, a severance package, or any other matter involving your employment, we can help.
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SCOTT THOMAS FORTUNE
Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law
Scott Fortune is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law and is also a Certified Civil Mediator. Since 1985, Scott has represented more than 1,000 employees as plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases in addition to dozens of plaintiffs in personal injury cases. While most of his clients are high- and mid‑level managers, he has also represented men and women from virtually every occupation in public and private industry.
AREAS OF PRACTICE
Click on the subheadings below for details, including results in specific cases
Scott has obtained jury verdicts in favor of his clients on scores of occasions in state and federal courts since 1985. He has settled hundreds of other cases without the necessity or risk of trial. In 1986, Scott obtained the first reported multi-million dollar jury verdict ($3.3 million) in the United States on behalf of a single employment discrimination victim in Vance v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., which went to trial here in Jacksonville, in federal court. More recently, during the past few years, Scott and his staff have made recoveries totaling several million dollars on behalf of his clients.
Scott has a reputation for being tenacious and creative while advocating for his clients. He is rated “AV” by his peers, which is the highest rating an attorney can receive concerning ethics and legal ability. He is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, in several federal courts, and all courts in the State of Florida. For nearly twenty years, Scott taught trial skills to other lawyers from around the country, as a faculty member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. He is also certified as a mediator by the Florida Supreme Court. Scott is also a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association, The Florida Bar, and the Jacksonville Bar Association. He is currently co-chair of the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Committee.
Scott usually represents no more than 10-15 individuals at a time to ensure that he can be personally involved in every case. Naturally, there is no guarantee that Scott or his firm can make any specific recovery in any particular case. Each case must be evaluated based on its own unique facts and circumstances.
In 2017, Scott helped his client recover half a million dollars after his client’s employer failed to pay the full amount of incentive compensation it had agreed earlier in the year to pay him. After Scott’s client had made a multi-million dollar sale, the multi-national employer reneged on its agreement to pay a commission equal to a flat percentage of the total sale amount, arbitrarily “capping” the payout at several hundred thousand dollars. The employer’s position was that the written agreement governing incentive pay was not a “binding contract.” Scott was able to help his client recover an additional $500,000 without having to file suit.
In 2019, one of Scott’s clients recovered a $1 million settlement after being wrongly terminated for reporting the volatile, dangerous antics of his workplace colleague. Scott’s client did not have to file suit in order to settle his claims. Scott has represented dozens of whistle blowers who’ve been wrongly terminated during the past several decades.
Scott has represented hundreds of persons who have been unlawfully discriminated against at work due to their age, gender, race, disability, national origin or religion. Many of Scott’s clients are CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs and other members of the c-suite, physicians, human resource professionals, corporate officers and other top-tier employees. Scott has been honored with the distinction of being Board Certified in the specialty of Labor and Employment law by the Florida Supreme Court. (Approximately seven percent (7%) of Florida attorneys are Board Certified. Scott earned this distinction based on his trial and litigation experience, and only after passing an extensive examination administered by the Florida Bar). Scott has decades of experience representing men and women who have been terminated or punished in some way because of a chronic health condition, sudden or expensive medical bills, a valid workers’ compensation claim, or because they objected to, or refused to go along with, any illegal activity of their employers. As a trial attorney, Scott has repeatedly obtained multi-million-dollar jury verdicts on behalf of his clients in state and federal court. He also has repeatedly settled individual cases for several million dollars, some without having to file suit.
During the past two years, Scott and his firm represented several employees with disability claims under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), and the Florida Civil Rights Act prohibiting “handicap” discrimination. In 2018-2019, Scott represented the former President and CEO of a Fortune 500 financial firm who was wrongly terminated within weeks after telling his employer he had been diagnosed with cancer, after nearly 20 years of employment. Scott was able to secure a multi-million-dollar settlement for the wrongly terminated executive, without having to file suit.
In 2019, Scott and his team represented a general manager who was fired after experiencing symptoms of heart disease at work. Scott was able to secure a settlement of approximately half a million dollars on her behalf, in addition to other non-monetary relief.
Scott also represented a woman who had been fired from her clerical position with a national trucking firm after her husband, who was an insured on her employer-provided health insurance policy, had incurred nearly one million dollars in medical bills. Scott was able to secure a neutral reference and five (5) year’s pay for his client.
Scott also recently obtained a settlement of approximately $1,400,000 on behalf of a wrongfully terminated human resources director. Scott’s client was “downsized” in a reduction in force less than a month after her husband was diagnosed with a serious illness (he was an insured under his wife’s group health insurance policy issued by her employer).
Scott has represented men and women who have been denied promotions due to their gender, their race, their disability, and based on other protected categories. He tried a case in federal court in Jacksonville on behalf of a black grocery store “Assistant” Manager who had been performing the duties of a Store Manager, but without the title, prestige or pay of a Store Manager. The jury awarded a six-figure amount for mental anguish and back pay, and the store was required to promote Scott’s client to the Store Manager position.
In 2017, Scott represented a group of female financial professionals who were paid substantially less than their male counterparts for performing similar work, but with different job titles. Scott and his clients reached a settlement which provided his clients with a substantial lump sum to compensate them for the gender-based differences in their pay during the past several years, plus attorneys’ fees, and his clients also received substantial pay increases to put them on parity with their male counterparts. Scott recently represented a female HR Manger with a national accounting firm who was treated less favorably than her male counterparts, as well as being paid less than them. Scott’s client was excluded from many management meetings and received smaller salary and bonuses than her male peers. Scott’s client was able to have her pay and bonuses increased, with back pay to make up for her past salary and bonuses, and she has since been promoted.
The law prohibiting this type of harassment can include demeaning treatment which is not of a “sexual” nature. For example, the law could protect a woman who is treated disrespectfully by a boss who shows favoritism toward male employees; or a gay man who is ridiculed because of his sexual orientation. Scott has represented many men and women who have been harassed due to their gender or sexual orientation, as well as those who have been sexually harassed and those who have been made to endure continuous, sexually inappropriate advances.
Scott has represented hundreds of CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs and other executives, mid-level managers, physicians, banking executives, salespersons, and others who have been terminated and offered a proposed severance agreement in exchange for signing a Release of Claims. Scott has often assisted his clients by obtaining fairer, more favorable severance terms, including greater lump sum payments, extended periodic payments, greater deferred compensation, extended health benefits, and the like. Scott helped one senior executive of a major financial firm recover more than $10 million in deferred compensation after being wrongly coerced into resigning after 20 years of employment. Scott also recently helped a terminated CEO recover more than $900,000 after he had been abruptly terminated without any severance, based on unsubstantiated rumors.
During the past three decades, Scott has negotiated hundreds of severance packages on behalf of medical doctors, corporate officers and key executives, human resource professionals, and other key employees, and he has helped many men and women obtain favorable employment contracts. He also has helped numerous employees negotiate challenges involving non-compete agreements.
Scott has assisted hundreds of medical doctors and other health care professionals, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, and other executives, mid-level managers, salespersons and others planning to enter into employment contracts. Professionals about to sign contracts often benefit from experienced legal guidance to help ensure that the terms of their contract are fair and balanced. Scott recently assisted a high-level IT executive who was wrongly terminated unexpectedly, leaving more than one million dollars unpaid under his contract. Without filing suit, Scott was able to recover approximately $1,200,000 in severance pay.
Scott has assisted employers in drafting employee handbooks, and he has assisted employees to help them understand and comply with the terms of their employee handbooks.
Scott frequently assists executives, mid-level managers, physicians, banking professionals, human resource professionals, salespersons and others who have been terminated, or who have otherwise ended their employment and need to deal with a non-compete agreement. Often, the non-compete agreements are at least partially invalid, or can be modified by negotiation. The goal, of course, is to allow the client to work as freely as possible without being unduly restricted by the non-compete agreement. Scott recently assisted a sales executive who had been earning in excess of $300,000 who was terminated for alleged performance issues. Scott’s client had signed a two-year non-compete agreement with her employer which would have severely limited her re-employment options. Scott was able to negotiate a release from the non-compete agreement without having to file suit.
Unfortunately, employers often demonstrate contempt for the medical leave provisions of the FMLA. And equally unfortunately, employers often retaliate against employees who have used FMLA leave and/or interfere with an employee’s plans to use FMLA leave. Scott has represented dozens of clients who have recovered millions of dollars at trial, during mediation, or by way of informal settlement, because their employers violated the FMLA by disciplining or terminating them, or by making unfavorable changes to the terms of their employment. For example, employers often fail to promote, or otherwise punish employees who have used, or who need, FMLA coverage. In the recent past, Scott has pursued several cases involving employees who were fired while out on FMLA leave, or who were fired shortly before taking, or shortly after returning from FMLA leave. In each case, the employer claimed that the termination was due to factors other than the employees’ leave. These cases often overlap with the ADAAA.
Early in his legal career, Scott represented insured parties who were being sued for causing personal injury to others. This led to Scott representing personal injury clients when he began his own law practice in 1985. Since then, Scott has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of clients injured in automobile collisions, motorcycle wrecks, and other mishaps.
As a Certified Civil Mediator, Scott has assisted parties in resolving their legal claims involving business disagreements, employment matters, personal injury claims, construction claims, contract disputes, and other areas of the law. His ongoing work as a mediator makes him a better litigator and attorney, allowing him to serve as both a lawyer and a counselor to his clients. Scott’s work with plaintiffs and defendants makes him a better plaintiff’s advocate and a more effective litigator on behalf of his clients. Since 2016, Scott has mediated scores of cases in matters involving employment law, personal injury, insurance issues, business law, bankruptcy law, and other issues. He has helped local attorneys and their clients, as well as attorneys from around the Southeastern United States, to resolve their claims at mediation.