Minimum Wage Dispute Law in Florida For Employers
Serving You and The State of Florida
In the state of Florida, Federal law is used as a guideline to determine how much employees should be paid. Employers are required to stay in line with the minimum pay amounts that are required for specific industries, and they are required to pay overtime and holiday pay as outlined by federal law. The current minimum wage can fluctuate over time, and employers must adjust their pay grades when these changes occur.
If you own a business in Florida and you have been sued for unpaid wages or issues related to minimum payment amounts for a job that is a minimum wage job, you need to secure the assistance of a skilled legal team as soon as possible. These kinds of cases can be complex and often require extensive research to be able to seek a settlement or to be heard before a judge. The employment lawyers at Lopez Law Group can represent you related to your minimum wage law case and help you to seek the favorable outcome that you have been looking for.
What Are the Rules About Minimum Wage Work?
There are many, many rules and regulations related to how minimum wage jobs are paid by employers. Employees might be full or part-time, or they could be classified as casual. All of these different worker statuses can impact the required pay that an employer must offer for a minimum-wage job. Unique industries can also have their own specific wage laws and staffing requirements to be in keeping with federal pay requirements.
Employees in minimum wage positions are required to be paid the minimum wage or more by their employer. If the state minimum wage increases, the employer needs to make sure that employees are paid in keeping with this new hourly wage. These kinds of adjustments need to happen promptly as well, but some employers do not make the transition to the correct pay grade fast enough. This can lead to employees being owed unpaid wages back to the effective date of the minimum wage increase.
When these unpaid wages are not offered to the employee promptly, they can be within their rights to sue for the amount that they are owed. There are some industries where this does not apply, however. Tip-based industries often pay an hourly rate that is below the minimum wage because employees collect tips throughout their shifts. These employers might not be required to increase the minimum wage that they are paying to their staff due to laws that protect service industries of this kind.
Overtime premium is another aspect of minimum wage law that can sometimes trip up businesses. Overtime only applies to those employees who are working as full-time staff in most cases. There is no specific Florida overtime law, so Florida minimum wage regulations default to match the federal laws. Overtime is paid when qualifying employees work more than forty hours in a week. Contract staff are always exempt from this rule, and in some cases, part-time employees will not be eligible to receive this pay either.
Keeping all of the rules and regulations about minimum wage work sorted out when doing payroll can be complex. Mistakes are more common than most businesses realize. There are many employees who could potentially sue, who just look for work elsewhere, and do not bring legal action against a business. As a result, many companies are not aware of the violations or errors that they might be engaging in until they have a lawsuit hanging over the business.
Working with a skilled legal team is important even if you have not yet been sued by staff who have been incorrectly paid. If you believe that you or your HR department might not be paying workers correctly, getting legal advice from the team at Lopez Law is key. Our expert team can help you to avoid these kinds of legal issues just like we can help you to defend your company if you are sued in relation to minimum wage disputes.
What About Breaks?
Federal law requires that employees take a specific number of breaks and a lunch during each shift. These breaks need to be observed, and workers should not work through them without taking them. Short breaks are defined as lasting less than 20 minutes, while lunch breaks must be a half hour to an hour. These break times can vary depending upon the construction of the hours of your business and the shift types, but breaks are required to be taken by federal law. Florida law does not require that breaks be taken by employees, but federal law should be considered and observed.
A common error that happens when paying minimum wage staff is related to a worker not punching out to take these breaks. This can pad employee hours, or it can lead to them working overtime that they have not been paid for. Beyond needing to keep in step with labor laws, Florida businesses need to be aware of the importance of correct pay related to breaks.
Allowing staff to take breaks and making sure that they are clocking in and out properly when they do take them is key. HR or the person working on payroll should investigate the situation related to any timecard that does not reflect legal break times. Mistakes that are made with regard to these portions of an employee’s working hours can become issues that workers can bring a suit for.
What are the Penalties for Unpaid Wages?
Federal and state laws both outline penalties that can impact employers who are not correctly paying their staff. Employees are allowed to sue to collect wages they should have been paid, and they can also collect penalties in some cases related to their claims. In Florida, unpaid wages are usually considered “liquidated damages”. These must be paid back to the employee that was not correctly paid, and there is a set time limit for the employer to respond to this request. If an employee is not paid overtime, they are also eligible to collect liquidated damages for the overtime pay.
Florida does not have a state agency that receives these complaints and enforces wage laws. This means that employees that feel they have not been paid correctly will go straight to the federal Department of Labor to file their suit. This can change a variety of the details about defending your company against these kinds of claims, and it increases the necessity for having a skilled lawyer working on your case.
Additionally, employees have four years to file a suit against a business for wages that were not paid. They might get an added year for a total of five if the violation is serious enough. According to federal law, employees only have two years to file, but Florida law differs. Staff that files a suit might not be within the allotted reporting time due to various factors, such as classification, the hourly rate of pay, tip status, and minimum wage requirements related to the industry they were working in.
It can be easy to assume that your company is responsible for the claim that an employee has made about unpaid wages. However, there are many instances where the reported incident does not actually qualify as an unpaid wages case. Having a skilled legal expert from Lopes Law Group working on your case will ensure that your company is not held responsible for actions that were not illegal. Paying out on settlements for cases that are flawed in this way is a common mistake that companies make when sued for unpaid wages.
What is a Civil Theft Claim?
In the state of Florida, some complex cases actually fall under a different heading. These cases are considered civil theft lawsuits, and they have a statute of limitations of five years. This kind of case has key features that are different from an unpaid wages case.
- Malicious retention of wages
- Deprivation of someone’s rights to funds
- Lack of entitlement to salaries or monies owed
- Felonious intent
These cases often have much larger damages associated with them, and they can also allow employees to demand penalties for various other kinds of perceived mistreatment. These cases are much more serious from the standpoint of business reputation, and they will almost always be cases where a settlement offer is not accepted. These cases are never small claims cases, and the legal process surrounding them is significantly different.
Having legal support from a lawyer who is familiar with these kinds of claims is key. There is a significant burden of proof that must be delivered by the accuser for these cases to stand. Often, they can be dismissed because the burden of proof has not been met. The team at Lopez Law Group has years of experience defending Florida businesses from this kind of accusation. Seeking a favorable outcome in these cases requires lots of hours of research, as well as a correctly prepared defense. You can count on Lopez Law to take the necessary steps to ensure that your business is not called to account for civil theft penalties unfairly.
Florida Labor Contracts
Florida has very lax labor contract laws, which can lead to businesses being sued for unpaid wages. Gig work, temporary job roles, and other kinds of unclassified working arrangements are also not protected by minimum wage laws. Florida also does not have a statute in place that dictates or directs how quickly employees should be paid. The current law on the books simply states that pay should be given within, “a reasonable amount of time”.
This means that many labor contract cases and minimum wage cases end up being heard by a judge. Judges in the state of Florida need to be presented with all of the relevant information about the working relationship between an employee and an employer to be able to make a judgment. This is one of the key reasons that having Lopez Law on your side can make such a big impact on minimum wage cases leveled against your business.
Having the right legal representation for your unpaid wages case will ensure that the judge hearing your case can make a fair and favorable judgment. There are many details that employers might not think to consider when preparing a defense against this kind of accusation. Having a skilled legal team working on your case will make it much more likely that all of the relevant information related to the payment dispute is clearly presented. If there is the possibility of a settlement arrangement, the team at Lopez Law will work hard to secure a favorable outcome for your case. If there is no chance that a settlement can be discussed, the team will represent you when the case is heard before a judge.
Having a Skilled Lawyer for Your Minimum Wage Law Case Can Make All the Difference
Having a skilled legal team on your side can make a big impact on your ability to seek a favorable outcome in your minimum wage dispute case. The synergy between federal and Florida state law can make these cases very complicated to review, present, and defend. You need to work with a skilled lawyer to ensure that all of the details in your case are handled correctly. Without correct investigation and case prep, you will struggle to secure a favorable outcome for wage-related disputes.
The team at Lopez Law Group has years of experience working on minimum wage law cases. You can count on the team to review and research the case, as well as investigate carefully to be sure that the right facts are on the table when the case goes before a judge. If there is the chance of a settlement to resolve the issue, they can be trusted to prepare the right arguments to seek a fair judgment in this kind of case as well.
Contact us today and let us get started representing your Florida business for all your minimum wage disputes.
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