Florida and the federal government have enacted laws to protect employees from unscrupulous employers who find ways to deprive workers of earned wages. There are some exceptions to paying minimum wage and overtime, but when an employer exploits them, the employee can rely on the law.
Your employer may have purposely misclassified you as an independent contractor to avoid paying benefits. Or you may be working on a salary, so your employer can avoid paying overtime. If you work enough hours that your pay does not amount to minimum wage or work more than 40 hours in a workweek but are not paid overtime, a Tampa wage and hour lawyer could rectify the problem. Let our experienced employment attorneys review the circumstances of your case and help you take legal action.
Minimum Wage Claims
The federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is $7.25 per hour unless an employee works for a federal contractor for a minimum of $12.15 per hour. However, in 2020, Floridians voted to amend the state constitution to increase the state minimum wage by $1.00 annually until it reaches $15.00 an hour in 2026. On September 30, 2023, the rate will rise from $11.00 an hour to $12.00. The state will adjust the $15.00 an hour minimum wage for inflation in 2027.
Florida employers must pay the higher minimum wage and time-and-a-half to employees who work more than 40 hours a week. Employees should document hours worked and wages paid if they believe there is a discrepancy, and contact a Tampa wage and hour attorney to file a private lawsuit or represent them before the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
Some employers purposely classify employees as independent contractors because the FLSA regulations and protections do not apply unless the worker is an employee.
According to the Code of Federal Regulations § 788.16, no precise test or rule determines who is an employee or independent contractor, and the entire situation must be considered. Independent contractors generally are characterized as being in business for themselves, not the employer hiring them for a particular purpose. The US Supreme Court lists some guidance in determining the classification a worker falls under, including:
- How permanent the worker and employer’s relationship is
- If the worker has an opportunity to make a profit or lose revenue
- If the worker exerts initiative or judgment to accomplish a project
- How integral the services a worker offers are to the employer’s business
- How much investment and control the employer exerts over the worker and situation
The court considers the paths employees and independent contractors follow; however, this is not the only criterion for misclassification.
Some employees are exempt from FLSA protection. Generally, management and executive positions are paid salaries and are not governed by wage and hour laws. Restaurant servers must be paid a base hourly amount that, when added to their tips, must equal or exceed Florida’s minimum wage. Sales personnel who earn commission are also exempt. Our wage and hour lawyers in Tampa work aggressively to protect employee rights and hold employers who violate them legally accountable.
Damages Awarded for Wage and Hour Violations
Our diligent legal professionals will study every detail of your case to help you file a complaint, represent you in an FLSA claim, or take your case to court. We could ask for back pay you were entitled to and injunctive relief to force an employer to abide by state and federal regulations. Liquidated damages may be available if an employer violated FLSA regulations intentionally.
A Tampa Wage and Hour Attorney Gets You the Pay You Earned
You work diligently for your money, and it can be frustrating when your employer finds ways to deny you what you rightfully earn. Fortunately, you are protected by federal and state laws that our seasoned attorneys know well and will rely on to your advantage.
If your employer is shorting your wages, misclassifying you as an independent contractor, or treating you as a member of an FLSA-exempt class—but you are not—contact Feldman Legal Group. Our Tampa wage and hour lawyer, Mitchell Feldman, champions working people over exploitative management. Call today to learn how we can help you.