Clearwater Wage & Hour Attorney
Florida state and federal laws mandate a minimum wage for most workers, and further require payment of overtime at one and half times the regular rate of pay for any hours over 40 worked in a week. Employers who fail to comply with minimum wage or overtime requirements can be required to pay workers unpaid wages going back several years, along with severe monetary penalties on top of the back pay. Dilla Employment Law helps Clearwater employers and employees work through issues surrounding the full range of wage & hour law in Florida, including minimum wages, maximum hours, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Contact our experienced Clearwater wage & hour attorney today.
Minimum Wage Laws
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, but states are permitted to have their own minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum. Since the adoption of the Florida Minimum Wage Act in 2005, Florida’s minimum wage has outpaced the federal minimum wage. The minimum wage in Florida is currently $8.05 an hour, and it applies to almost all workers in the state.
The Florida Minimum Wage Act makes it illegal not only to pay workers less than the minimum wage, but also to discriminate or retaliate against them when they try to complain that they are not being paid the correct wages. The law allows workers to sue for violations of the Act, and if successful, employees can recover twice the amount of unpaid wages plus have their attorney’s fees and litigation costs paid for by the employer. A worker who was fired or demoted can also be reinstated to his or her former position as part of a successful lawsuit.
Before an employee can sue for unpaid wages, he or she must notify the employer of the discrepancy and give the employer 15 days to pay the back wages or otherwise resolve the claim. An employee who wrongfully withheld wages but did not do so in bad faith may be able to escape the double-wages and attorney’s fees penalties, but will still be required to pay any unpaid wages. I can help you resolve your unpaid wage claim during the 15-day period, or represent you in any litigation that follows.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires covered employers to pay eligible employees at one and a half time their regular wage when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. There are many ways workers may be exempt from overtime, however, including working as independent contractors rather than employees, or being properly classified as exempt employees under the professional, executive or administrative exemptions. Unfortunately, the tests for determining an exempt employee are complicated, and it is easy for an employer to mistakenly misclassify employees as exempt when they are actually entitled to overtime. I help Clearwater businesses determine whether they are properly classifying their workforce and paying overtime appropriately; I also represent employees who have been misclassified or otherwise been denied overtime.
Family and Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles covered workers to up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave annually for the birth of or adoption of a child, to deal with the worker’s serious health condition, or to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. Common mistakes employers make include putting an employee on light duty or offering comp time in lieu of leave; not understanding when paid leave versus unpaid leave may be permitted or required; not counting FMLA leave or misapplying FMLA leave; interfering with an employee’s rights to FMLA leave; and failing to understand the interaction between the FMLA and the ADA, opening the employer to claims of disability discrimination. Employees who believe their FMLA rights have been violated can sue their employer in court for money damages. Dilla Employment Law represents plaintiffs and defendants in FMLA claims.
Act Quickly to Secure Your Rights in Wage & Hour Claims
Lawsuits can go back two years under the FLSA and FMLA, or three years for willful violations; they can go back four years under the FMWA, or five years if the employer willfully violated the law. Wage violations may go on for years before they are noticed by the employee or employer. It is important to act quickly as soon as a violation is noted. Employers will want to minimize any potential liability, and employees may lose their ability to recover some of their unpaid wages if they wait too long.
In Clearwater, call Dilla Employment Law at 727-248-6624 for a free consultation on your wage & hour matter with a knowledgeable and experienced Clearwater wage & hour attorney.