Amlong, William R.
Address: 500 Northeast Fourth Street Suite 200, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Lawyer Firm: The Amlong Firm
|Areas of Practice||Labor & Employment, Appeals, State and Federal, Civil Rights, Business Law, Civil Trial Law|
I got out of newspapering and into law school in 1982. An editor at The Miami Herald questioned my objectivity — specifically about the Border Patrol’s concertina barbed wire around the Krome Refugee Camp, and generally about my reporting from Haiti. I had been part of a generation of journalists who wanted to (and did) effect change, not just report he said/she said. Time to say, I’m outta here.
I stumbled into civil-rights litigation when, as a third-year law student and largely because of my background as a reporter, I got hired as an investigator in a prison-rights class action a case with which I stayed involved as a lawyer for 13 years after getting admitted in 1985.
I started doing employment discrimination work because of referrals that came in to my wife/partner, a former board member of the National Organization for Women and its initial Florida coordinator. No one else in Fort Lauderdale did this type of work.
Virtually overnight, we became the civil rights firm in Fort Lauderdale as much by default as anything else: the economics of the marketplace had created a vacancy in the niche for representing prison inmates and unemployed women.
We now have one of the larger plaintiff’s employment law firms in Florida. Our clientele includes construction workers, corporate vice presidents, restaurant servers and physicians. I personally have tried 62 labor-and-employment or civil rights cases, handled numerous state and federal appeals and argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 755 (1998). A transcript and the audio of the oral argument is on-line at:
My 15 minutes of fame started in 1989 with a speech to a Boca Raton NOW chapter. That is where I met Beth Ann Faragher, a sexually harassed lifeguard whose case I won at trial, lost before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and eventually took to the United States Supreme Court. We won. Because this young woman (and her co-plaintiff, Nancy Ewanchew) had the stuff to literally fight City Hall, employers nationwide now must either have in place effective mechanisms to curb hostile-environment harassment or face damage awards a lot higher than the $1 Ms. Faragher got under the pre-1991 version of Title VII.
One of the most rewarding parts of the case came immediately before I began my argument at the Supreme Court: during that morning’s bar admission ceremony, I moved the court to allow Ms. Faragher, by then a Colorado lawyer seated in the audience, to become a member of its bar. Chief Justice William Rehnquist swore her in.
Although I enjoy using the skills I developed as an investigative reporter in business litigation (I recently got a $1.5 million verdict against an aviation consultant who embezzled money he was supposed to be holding in escrow for my client), my wife/partner and I are die-hard 60s lefties who spend most of our energy on representing working men and women against management. I was president of the NELA Florida affiliate in 1996 through 1998, and will retire from NELA’s national executive board in 2009 after four three-year terms. I am a former member of the Broward County Commission on the Status of Women, and its only-ever male chair. I also am on the board of Workplace Fairness, a 501 (C)(3) group dedicated to advancing workers’ rights.
I am less of an ideologue than a fundamentalist: it is simply morally wrong for employers to cheat workers out of wages, to seek sex from someone who needs a paycheck, or to decide whom to hire, promote or (these days) lay off based on gender, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, color, age or disability status. These wrongs need remedies: our job is to get them for our clients.
*CV, BV and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.
Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards. http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_97_282/argument/.
Karen and I are both AV Peer Review Rated* through Martindale-Hubbell. We have lectured extensively on labor and employment law topics. I have been on the faculty of all five of the intensive trial skills seminars sponsored by the Labor & Employment Law Section of the Florida Bar.
I am the son of salt-of-the-earth, working-class parents, Bill Amlong and Grace McMahon, whose legacy was their values rather than their valuables. I went to Miami-Dade Junior College after graduating from Coral Gables High School in 1963, and attended mostly night classes for two years as I worked as a copy boy and cub reporter at the Herald. I transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studied journalism, became editor of the Daily Tar Heel, and returned to the Herald in 1968. Over the next 14 years, I covered, among other things, local, state and national politics (I met my wife when she was a 27-year-old freshman legislator in 1975) and was nominated by the Herald for the Pulitzer Prize for series I worked on about auto insurance, worker’ P business.< biggest Florida’?’s as dealing drug and compensation s>
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