Worker’s Compensation for Occupational Diseases
When you do a job, you do so primarily for one reason – so that you can earn a wage. How much you will earn and how many hours a week you can expect to work will normally be set out by your employer at the start of your employment. While it is reasonable for your employer to ask about your availability to work beyond your usual hours, you must be compensated for them. Unfortunately, wage and hour violations are some of the most common offenses made by employers. The good news is that there are wage and hour laws which govern the wages rates that an employer can pay its employees and the hours for which an employer must compensate its employees.
What is the law surrounding wages and hours in Florida?
The current minimum wage in Florida is $8.46 per hour. This is $1.21 per hour more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employers pay at least the federal minimum wage per hour, plus 1.5 times your hourly rate overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours per week. However, your employer is also bound to comply with state wage and hour laws, and in the event that they conflict as is the case with Florida, the employer must apply the law that provides the greatest benefit to the employees. In this case, that is that your employer must pay you the minimum rate of $8.46 per hour for the first 40 hours worked, and time-and-a-half, which equates to $12.69 per hour, for any overtime hours worked. However, since Florida doesn’t have a separate state agency enforcing regulations of wages and hours, you can only report violations of federal law.
What can I do if my employer is violating wage and hour laws?
Sadly, it is not uncommon for employers to try and avoid paying the state minimum wage, or to offer a lower rate of pay to worker’s completing more than 40 hours per week.
The good news is that employees who are denied minimum wage and overtime pay can recover the wages that they are owed by reporting wage and hour violations. Although you can do this yourself at an office of the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor, many employees leave the stress of building a case for unpaid or back wages to a competent and experienced employment attorney.
To do this you must:
Notify your employer in writing. This should state what wages you believe you were entitled to with the corresponding dates, along with the total amount you are claiming. You should also make clear that you intend on bringing a civil suit against your employer to obtain the wages you are owed.
Allow time for your employer to respond. After your employer receives notice of intended action against them, they have 15 calendar days to resolve the dispute or make full payment of what is owed to you. This is normally when your employer will try and negotiate with you, or if you have hired an attorney, through your legal representation.
Going to court
If your employer does not resolve the claim to your satisfaction, you can continue to bring legal action against your employer by taking them to court. To be successful, you will need to present compelling evidence establishing that you were employed by the company in question and entitled to the wages that you are claiming. This is where hiring an experienced attorney can be invaluable as they will know exactly what is needed to bring a strong, winning case to the court and will both build your case and represent you.
If you win, not only will you receive the unpaid wages you are owed, but the judge could also order your employer to pay you liquidated damages, as well as cover the cost of your attorney and associated legal fees.
If your employer is in violation of wage and hour laws and you would like the advice and support of an experienced and knowledgeable employment attorney, our team would be delighted to help. Contact our offices in Gables, FL today to schedule your no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.