Under the laws of our country and the state of Florida, workers have a right to prompt, full payment of earned wages. But some employers are unfamiliar with employee wage and hour rights, and others willfully try to evade the laws.
An employer who withholds wages you are entitled to can be ordered to pay you back every cent –and then some. Employers found guilty of wage violations can be assessed penalties, paid to you, as well as assigned responsibility for paying your legal costs.
According to our Tampa unpaid wages attorney, you may have a labor law case if your Florida employer has deprived you of:
- Minimum wage of $8.25 an hour
- A 50% higher wage for overtime hours worked
- Earned commissions, as promised
- Performance-based bonus, as promised
- Equal pay for equivalent work
- Payment for employer-allowed breaks
- Payment for a “working lunch”
- Payment for accrued vacation hours.
If you believe your employer has denied you your rightful wage, seek help from an experienced unpaid wages attorney. The Feldman Williams law firm in Tampa, FL, represents employees for wage and hour violations, as well as for many other employment law issues, such as wrongful termination.
Did you know it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting a wage violation? To speak to a Feldman Williams unpaid wages lawyer, call us at (877) 946-8293 or contact us online today.
Minimum Wage Laws
The federal minimum wage is $7.25, but most states, including Florida, set a higher minimum wage. As of 2018, Florida employees are entitled to receive $8.25 per hour for full- or part-time work. Service workers who receive tips also must earn at least $8.25 an hour, factoring in the tips collected. The employer must pay a base salary of $5.23 per hour, and then make up the difference if an employee does not earn $8.25 hourly after tips are calculated. If you believe you may have a minimum wage claim, talk with our employment attorneys for a free assessment.
Payment for Overtime and Other Income
Under federal labor laws, hourly-paid employees must receive 1.5 times their regular wage for every working hour that exceeds their normal 40-hour workweek. (This is true whether your work schedule is weekdays, weekends, day or night shifts.) The overtime laws do not apply to “exempt” employees, who receive a set salary instead of an hourly wage. However, many employees are misclassified as exempt, either inadvertently or intentionally. If you are a misclassified exempt employee, you may be owed back pay for overtime.
Employees who are promised a performance-based bonus or sales commissions also have legal recourse if this compensation is withheld. If you can prove you completed the work or sale, you should be entitled to the earned money.
Breaks and Vacation Time
You might be surprised to know that employers are not obligated to provide meal and rest breaks under federal law. Some state laws require these breaks, but Florida does not. However, most Florida employers provide for unpaid lunch breaks, and many allow other short rest breaks.
The laws pertaining to this break time are as follows:
- If workers are given short breaks, they must be paid for these breaks.
- Any time an employee must work during lunch, such as during a client meeting or while answering phones at a desk, the lunch is considered paid time.
Paid vacations are also not required by law, but if your employer has a written policy providing for paid vacation time, you should be able to collect on hours you have accrued and not taken.
Equal Pay Provisions
Wage differentials based on sex are prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act. This means that men and women employed in the same establishment, on jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility, should receive the same wages and benefits. These provisions, as well as other statutes prohibiting discrimination in employment, are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you don’t receive equal pay, you may be owed back pay. Talk to our unpaid wages attorney to find out if you have a case.
Employer Penalties for Unpaid Wages
In Florida, an employer who violates wage laws may owe penalties to the state, and you can be awarded liquidated damages for proven losses. With these damages, you may be eligible to receive double the amount of pay you are owed.
So, if your employer owed you $3,000 in unpaid overtime, liquidated damages would bring this total to $6,000.
A prevailing plaintiff will also routinely receive reimbursement for attorney fees and other legal costs.
Wage and Hour Claims
In Florida, you can file a wage and hour claim with a local U.S. Department of Labor office, however, it is important to note that an employee may not bring a civil lawsuit for back wages if the Secretary of Labor has already filed suit to recover the wages. To ensure you receive your full compensation, it is a good idea to speak to a qualified attorney.
Talk to a Skilled Tampa Unpaid Wages Lawyer
The employment laws regarding unpaid wages can be difficult to understand. If you want to recover your back pay, you should fully understand your rights. Tampa unpaid wages lawyers at Feldman Williams, PLLC provide free assessments. Contact us today.