Wage and hour attorneys in Miami work to make sure employees are paid for the work they do. This is plain and simple. Under the laws in Florida, employees must be paid under specific guidelines and cannot be misclassified. If employers break these laws, employees are entitled to compensation. For the past 25 years, the attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped victims of wage and hour violations get the compensation they deserve.
Wage and hour violations in Miami are when an employer looks to save money by mischaracterizing employees, paying them under the table, or refusing to pay them the overtime they earned. As a result, employees work more but are not paid appropriately and do not receive the benefits they are entitled to receive as an employee. This is illegal and should never be tolerated by any employee.
Florida’s Minimum Wage Act states that the minimum wage must be recalculated annually based on the Consumer Price Index. As a result, the minimum wage will either go up a bit or stay the same. 2019’s minimum wage in Miami and the rest of Florida is $8.46. On September 30, 2019, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DOEC) reviewed the minimum wage and institutes another raise to $8.75 per hour, effective January 1, 2020.
Florida State §95.11(4)(c) protects an employee from not getting paid by allowing the employee to sue the employer for unpaid wages. The lawsuit is not based on minimum wage, but merely an employer’s denial that any payment of overtime or other missed payments are owed to the employee.
Additionally, the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) insists that an employee at least be paid minimum wage. Furthermore, the employee is entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 hours in a standard workweek.
Wage and hour violations are difficult to spot, especially when you do not know the laws that protect you right to fair wages and compensation. Some examples of wage and hour violations include:
- Refusal to pay at least minimum wage to employees
- Refusal to pay time and a half overtime pay
- Classifying an employee as an independent contractor
- Paying an employee under the table
- Offering Comp pay as opposed to overtime pay for overtime hours
- Insisting on tip sharing
- Deducting “house fees” from a hospitality employee’s paycheck
- Deducting money for unauthorized fees from an employee’s paycheck
- Failure to pay an employee while he or she puts on or takes off hazard equipment needed to perform the job
- Failure to pay for hours in company-mandated training or meetings
- Shaving time off the employee’s wok
- Retaliating against an employee for filing a claim for wage and hour violations
- Fording an employee to work off the clock
- Having no overtime approval policy in effect
As with any law, there are exemptions relating to wage and hour rules as well. Some examples of employees exempt from these rules include:
- Companions for the sick or elderly
- Bona Fide executives, administrators, or professionals
- Outside salespeople
- Taxi drivers
- Volunteers to apprentices for charitable, religious, or education organizations
- Members of religious orders
- Students and Handicapped individuals employed with religious or charitable organizations
- Employees of a summer camp operated by a religious or charitable organization operating less than three months each year
- Staff counselors in children’s camps
- Employees of student or faculty associations or fraternities
- Employees of federal, state, or municipal governments or their subdivisions
- Volunteers at recreational or amusement events that run 8 days or less
Under the Florida Minimum Wage Statute, an employee can file a claim with the Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security, wherein an investigation can begin or file a lawsuit in court. However, if the employee chooses to file a complaint in court, he or she must first notify the employer, in writing, of the intent to file a lawsuit. The employer has 15 days to respond to the employee. After the 15 days are up, the employee may bring the claim to court. The time limit for the employee to file this claim or lawsuit if 4 years, unless he or she can prove the violation was intentional. Then the time limit is 5 years.
Under Florida State §95.11(4)(c), the employee does not need to notify the employer and has a time limit of 2 years to file a lawsuit.
The FSLA provides the employee with a 2-year statute of limitations to file a claim with eh Department of Labor or file a lawsuit with the courts. Once again, if the employee can prove the violation was done intentionally, the statute of limitations increases to 3 years.
In addition to the remedies listed below as available for wage and hour violations, Florida has specific wage and hour remedies for minimum wage violations. Under Florida laws, the employee is entitled to seek double damages from the court if he or she wins the case. The other available remedies for wage and hour violations include:
- Reinstatement of employment and benefits
- Reimbursement of benefit premiums
- Reimbursement of medical expenses and other related costs
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
A lawsuit for wage and hour violations in Miami can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to 1 year or longer. The difference in time is based on whether the case goes to trial or settles out of court. If the employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement, you may be done your case in a matter of months. However, if the employer insists on going to trial, the process to prepare for trial can take 6 to 12 months. Then the trial itself can take an additional few days to a few weeks, depending on the details of the case and the amount of time it takes the jury to render a decision.
If you are a victim of wage and hour violations in the workplace, there are a few things you can do immediately while you decide whether to file a claim.
- Contact an experienced wage and hour attorney immediately.
- Notify HR and/or your supervisors of the wage and hour issue to see if it can be rectified
- Collect evidence. Hold onto paystubs. Keep emails, text messages, and any written evidence you can find.
- Document the hours you work. If your employer is trying to shave time off your time, have it well documented the time and date you clocked in and out every day you work. Take screenshots of your computer. Take pictures of the clock and time and date stamp it when you go to work and when you leave. Make sure it is recognizable as the workplace timeclock.
- Do not waste time. The time you have to file your claim is limited and goes fast. Make sure you do not wait until it is too late.
The law in Florida and also in Federal Courts give employees a right to enforce their overtime rights. There is no reason for you to be taken advantage of. Our team can recover unpaid overtime and vindicate your rights as a worker.
Overtime laws are designed to prevent an employer from taking advantage of an hourly paid employee during the workweek by requiring the employee to work excessive hours without fair compensation. Depending on the circumstances, salaried workers can sometimes receive overtime as well. Under the law when, employees are considered to be “covered” under overtime law when they work more than 40 hours in a given workweek, such employees must be compensated at a rate of at least one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for each hour worked in excess of 40.
For instance, suppose that a female secretary’s workweek begins on Monday. Between Monday and the following Friday, the secretary works a total of 50 hours. As such, she is entitled to receive (1) her regular rate of pay for the first 40 hours, (2) plus one and one-half times her regular rate of pay for the additional 10 hours beyond those first 40 hours. However, it is very important to note that there are many exceptions to both minimum wage and overtime requirements.
If you didn’t receive the overtime rate, you can collect 50% of your regular rate per hour. Employers covered under overtime law cannot come up with elaborate schemes to avoid paying overtime. Thus, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable employment law attorney to learn your exact rights.
Wage and hour claims in Florida are very complex due to the many exceptions and calculations under the law. Our attorneys have years of experience litigating claims of employment issues, sexual harassment, discriminatory conduct, and wage and hour claims. Our attorneys work together as a team and we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients who were cheated out of the money they earned and for individuals discriminated against at the workplace. If you feel like your employer is not following the law or that you have been discriminated against, please call us today at (305) 946-1884 or contact our Miami employment attorneys online by filling out the contact form at the top right of this page. We offer free consultations and would love to see how we can help you.