Wage Theft Hearings Resume in Florida
One of the biggest issues for workers is that they don’t always get paid for the hours they worked. These employees have earned their wages but do not always get paid their full hourly rate. In some cases, they get no money at all.
Hearings for these cases were postponed in Florida due to COVID-19. Pinellas County is now resuming these hearings so that victims of wage theft can get the money they deserve.
While most employers are reputable and pay their employees what they rightfully earn, many do not. This is called wage theft, and it occurs when people don’t get paid the money they are owed for working. It can also happen when a person does get paid, but the check bounces. It can also occur when the company does not pay overtime or misclassifies the worker.
Florida workers are especially vulnerable to wage theft because the state got rid of its Office of Labor and Employment Security in 2000. This means they have little support unless they hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit.
Between 2012 and 2014, there were 15,000 people in Pinellas County who filed wage theft claims. These claims totaled $7.5 million, for an average of $500 each. In the past four years, employees in the county have recovered $425,000 in unpaid wages.
The courts had to shut down due to the coronavirus crisis, but things have opened up now. Hearings will be scheduled through early August, and if things go as planned, the courts will be all caught up.
Who Can File a Wage Theft Claim?
Are you eligible to file a claim? Here are the requirements that must be met:
- The unpaid amount must be at least $60.
- The wages must have been earned in the last 12 months.
- The employee must have asked the employer for payment.
Once a claim is filed, Pinellas County initially offers mediation, which is voluntary. If one party won’t agree to mediation, the case moves on to a hearing.
Pinellas County also has an ordinance in place that comes with several requirements. First, employers are required to inform employees of who their legal employer is, the agreed-upon pay rate, payday schedule and structure of the pay. The employer must also provide notice of wage theft and what an employee must do if they believe they are a victim.
There is no reason for employers and employees to be uneducated about wage theft law. Pinellas County has resources for employers so they can comply with the law. The county is also available to provide guidance at public events.
Seek Legal Help
Employees sometimes get taken advantage of by their employers. Some do not get the money they earn, but are afraid to complain.
Business disputes can be hard to handle on your own. Fort Lauderdale business litigation lawyer Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help those who are dealing with wage theft and other issues. Schedule a consultation by filling out the online form or calling 954-764-4330.