Ideally, an employer-employee relationship operates on a foundation of mutual respect and cooperation in which one side agrees to provide time, energy and labor in exchange for fair financial compensation.
While most such arrangements do in fact follow this precise pattern, there are sadly too many instances in which employers fall short of their responsibilities to workers, whether intentionally or otherwise. If you are among those who have not received the level of pay rightfully earned, a St. Petersburg wage and hour lawyer can begin seeking fairness in your case. To learn more and discuss your legal options consult with an experienced attorney in St. Petersburg today.
Key Elements of Wage and Hour Rules
Floridians wishing to learn more about their rights as employees should speak with a St. Petersburg wage and hour lawyer about the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the state statutes implemented to enhance the protections contained therein. These provisions outline rules concerning the payment of an annually adjusted minimum wage as well as those pertaining to payment for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.
As explained by Fla. Stat. §448.110, each year the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity re-calibrates the prevailing minimum wage to reflect changes in the federal Consumer Price Index, a regulation employers must be sure to abide by. Employees who receive tips may be paid less than the amount determined in this manner, provided their total compensation including those tipped amounts adds up to the applicable minimum wage and hour rate at the time.
Rules Regarding Overtime
Employers statewide are also required to follow FLSA regulations regarding payment for overtime hours worked. This means that a wide category of workers will be entitled to payment of 1.5 times their normal rate for any hours beyond 40 in a given week.
Overtime pay eligibility is determined by a number of different factors, and it is not uncommon for employers to utilize unscrupulous strategies in an effort to avoid compensating workers accordingly, when this occurs, a St. Petersburg wage and hour attorney can help.
Under federal and state wage and hour laws, it is certainly true that the wage and hour regulations applicable in Florida are expansive in nature and designed to protect a substantial number of workers, there are indeed exceptions to coverage worth noting.
Certain categories of managerial and professional positions are exempted from overtime and wage rules, as are independent contractors and those who work for small businesses with limited annual sales volumes.
Ultimately, an experienced St. Petersburg wage and hour attorney can assist prospective plaintiffs in determining whether they are considered covered by the relevant FLSA and Florida statutes and therefore able to pursue remedies in the event of suspected employer wrongdoing.
Common Mechanisms of Employer Violations
There are times in St. Petersburg wage and hour cases when an employer’s failure to provide proper compensation to workers is attributable to honest mistake. Whether by accidentally paying less than minimum wage or by neglecting to account for overtime hours, but such innocent errors are not always to blame.
Employers have been known to intentionally characterize a worker’s role as more managerial or professional in nature than it actually is, attempt to deny overtime eligibility because excess hours were not pre-approved, or in some other way try to elude responsibility for paying a legally appropriate based on St. Petersburg’s wage and hour laws.
Remedies for Wage and Hour Rule Violations
Employees who believe they have been the recipient of unfair payment practices have the right to seek unpaid wages, though they must follow prescribed procedure with a St. Petersburg wage and hour lawyer in order to do so. An employer must be provided with written notice of the worker’s claim and an opportunity to propose a resolution. If an agreement is not reached between the parties, a lawsuit may be commenced by the employee or a St. Petersburg wage and hour lawyer on their behalf, who, if successful, may receive:
- Full amount of back pay owed
- Attorney fees
- Court costs
- Additional amount of damages not to exceed back wage award
- Reinstatement in the previous position, if dismissal occurred
- Injunctive relief to prevent employer retaliation or other adverse actions
Contacting a Wage and Hour Attorney in St Petersburg
Given the typical imbalance of power between employer and employee, the decision to initiate an overtime or compensation-related complaint is rarely a simple one. However, by aligning with a St. Petersburg wage and hour lawyer, a wronged worker can rest assured knowing that accountability and fair payment will be pursued as aggressively as possible.