Florida worker claims often revolve around issues regarding unpaid wages. Florida statutes, Florida Constitution, and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) assist in instructing employers what their obligations are to their workers and informs workers what rights they have at their job.
If you believe you may have a claim, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer in Palm Harbor. A Palm Harbor wage and hour lawyer can assist you with unpaid wage claims.
Minimum Wage and Unpaid Wage Claims
Under Florida law, employers must pay workers at least $8.10 per hour. If an employee is a worker who receives tips, such as a waitress or bartender, they must be paid at least $5.08 per hour. Florida’s minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage so employers must pay Florida’s minimum wage.
Additionally, Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity recalculates the minimum wage yearly. Therefore, at the beginning of each year, the minimum wage may change.
The minimum wage requirements only apply to a particular class of workers. A Palm Harbor wage and hour attorney will determine when evaluating a potential unpaid wage claim, if the employee is defined as an exempt or nonexempt employee. Florida follows federal law as it pertains to worker classification.
If the work is an exempt employee, the minimum wage requirements do not apply. These workers include executive, administrative and professional personnel, contract workers (workers who receive 1099s instead of W2s), salespeople (such as real estate agents), and interns and students.
Damages for Unpaid Wage Issues
Florida statutes require workers first provide written notice to their employer before making a claim for unpaid wages. In the notice the worker must state the grievance and entitlement claimed, the specific dates and hours the employee worked those hours, the total amount of unpaid wages claimed, and the employee’s intent to initiate an unpaid wage claim.
A wage and hour attorney in Palm Harbor can provide the appropriate notice and, if necessary, file a claim for unpaid wages.
The employer must respond within fifteen days from the date the notice was received. If the employer fails to do so, a worker can then proceed with their unpaid wage claim. If the worker’s unpaid wage claim is proven, the worker may receive damages for unpaid wages, liquidated damages up to the amount granted for unpaid wages, cost, and attorney fees.
Workers are often hesitant to file a complaint or speak out about any of their employment rights. Many employees fear they will lose their job, get demoted, moved to a different position or endure some other form of retaliation by the employer. However, both Florida and federal law forbid an employer from retaliating against a worker who files a claim.
The law is clear for example that an employer may not retaliate against the employee by terminating employment, reducing hours, changing the worker’s job position or duties, or by creating a hostile work environment for that employee.
If an employer does retaliate against an employee for making a claim, the employer may be required to pay additional penalties to the worker and possibly to the state of Florida for violating these laws. Such legal proceedings can be best explained using a Palm Harbor wage and hour lawyer.
Contacting a Wage and Hour Attorney
If you or a loved one are in a dispute with an employer over unpaid wages, make sure to contact a Palm Harbor wage and hour lawyer as soon as possible, so they can assist in determining your rights, claims, and potential damages.