All workers in Florida have a right to be compensated fairly. Although employees are protected by state and federal wage and hour laws, mistakes and disputes are far too common. When an employer fails to pay the minimum wage, does not compensate workers for overtime, improperly withholds wages, or engages in other unfair employment practices, it is possible to recover damages through a wage and hour claim. The best decision you can make in this situation is to consult an experienced employment law attorney.
Common Wage and Hour Claims
At My.Attorney, we routinely handle wage and hour claims on behalf of aggrieved employees throughout the state of Florida. If you have not been paid compensation to which you are legally entitled, our attorneys will fight for your rights. Well-versed in the applicable wage and hour laws, our legal team has the skill and experience to resolve claims arising from:
- Minimum wage violations
- Overtime pay violations
- Employee misclassifications (exempt/nonexempt employees, independent contractors)
- Unpaid bonuses/commissions
Our employment law attorneys know how to hold responsible employers accountable for wage and hour violations and will fight to help you obtain every dollar you deserve.
What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage and overtime pay standards, although most states have a higher minimum wage. The current minimum wage in Florida is $8.46 per hour, while the federal mandatory minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
All employers in Florida must follow FLSA overtime rules which require nonexempt employees to be paid an overtime rate at time and a half for all hours worked over 40 hours per week. Generally, an exempt employee is one who (i) earns more than $445 per week, (ii) is paid a salary rather than an hourly wage, (iii) works for an exempt employer (e.g. restaurant, hotel), or (iv) performs an exempt job function (administrative, managerial, professional).
It is important to note that employers in Florida are not legally required to provide meal breaks or rest breaks under the FLSA or state law. Moreover, there is no law requiring employers to offer employees paid vacation time or paid sick days. However, employers that do offer paid time off cannot do so in a way that violates state or federal discrimination laws.
Wages for Restaurant Workers
The FLSA allows employers to pay tipped employees, (e.g. restaurant, hotel, and other hospitality workers) less than the minimum wage, provided that tips such workers receive make up the difference. The amount the employer is not required to pay is referred to as a tip credit. The current tip credit in Florida is $3.02 per hour, which means that employers are permitted to pay tipped employees a minimum wage of $5.23 per hour. Wage theft, which is common in this sector, occurs when an employer takes inappropriate tip credits, fails to redistribute tips, or fails to notify employees of its tip-pooling policy. My.Attorney is dedicated to fighting for the rights of the many restaurant workers in the state of Florida.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay in Florida
Florida employers are required to pay employees a minimum wage of $8.25 per hour. Additionally, employers, excluding restaurants, hotels, and nonprofits, must pay nonexempt employees overtime pay at an hourly rate of time and a half for all hours worked over 40 hours per week.
Unfortunately, employers often seek to avoid paying overtime by classifying nonexempt employees as exempt. Nonetheless, if you were incorrectly classified as an exempt employee, or you employer failed to pay you the minimum wage or overtime pay, you have powerful legal remedies under state and federal law. By pursuing a lawsuit, you may be able to recover damages which include back overtime pay, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees.
As mentioned above, Florida law does not require employers to provide breaks, including lunch breaks, unless the employee is under 18 years of age. Finally, private sector workers are not entitled to paid holidays or vacation time, sick leave, bonuses, or severance pay — unless such compensation is provided for by a company policy or under the terms of an employment agreement. A company that does provide paid vacation time is required by law to pay employees accrued, unused time off when the employment relationship ends, however.
Employers are required to pay wages that employees have earned, including bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, and overtime pay, in a timely fashion, even if/when the employment relationship ends. This means that employees who have had their commissions and other compensation improperly withheld after quitting or being fired from a job may be able to recover damages.
Contact Our Florida Wage and Hour Attorney
If you believe you have a valid wage and hour claim in the state of Florida, turn to the legal team at My.Attorney. We have extensive experience fighting for workers who have not been paid the minimum wage, have been misclassified, or have had compensation improperly withheld by their employer. Our employment law attorneys will assess the viability of your claim and determine the best course of action.
It is worth noting that wage and hour disputes are often handled on a class action or collective basis. A class action lawsuit is a type of legal action in which the claims of a number of individuals who have suffered similar harm are combined into a single lawsuit. This is an effective tool when the claims of one individual are too small to justify legal action, but when combined with similar claims may represent a significant amount. Ultimately, the participants in a class action may be able to recover substantial compensation.
In any event, you may be awarded the wages you should have been paid, as well as liquidated damages in an amount equal to your unpaid wages. If, for example, your employer failed to pay you $1,000 in overtime, you may be awarded $1,000 in back wages for the unpaid overtime and $1,000 in liquidated damages. In addition, you may also be awarded attorneys’ fees and court costs.
Regardless of the value of your claim, you can count on the employment law attorneys at My.Attorney to fight for your rights. If you believe you have a valid wage and hour claim, don’t go it alone. Download our app today to set up a free case evaluation or contact us.