There are both federal and state laws that require an employer to adhere to certain guidelines when it comes to overtime pay and minimum wage. It’s imperative that as the employer, you keep detailed records on all employees, which includes:
- Hours worked
- Vacation days, holidays, etc.
- Meal and break times
- Sick days
Unfortunately, even employers who keep meticulous records may be on the receiving end of an unpaid wage claim by an employee. Employees have a right to file a claim with the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor file a state or federal lawsuit against his or her employer. However, this does not mean you do not have any defenses available to you. Retaining a skilled Florida employment law attorney who specializes in defending employers is an important step in these types of legal matters.
Defending Unpaid Overtime Claims
The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, is a federal law that provides that employees must be compensated at their base hourly wage, plus another 50% for each hour they work beyond the standard 40 hours in a seven-day period. This is typically called the “time-and-a-half” pay structure. If you are facing a claim for unpaid overtime, the employer has the burden of producing records reflecting the actual hours worked.
In addition to producing the records reflecting the hours actually worked, some employees may be exempt and simply not entitled to overtime even if they work more than 40 hours a week.
Defending Unpaid Hourly Wages Claims
There is a federal law on minimum wage, but states can also enact their own higher minimum wage. The Florida Minimum Wage Act, or FMWA, requires that employers pay the minimum wage dictated by federal law.
You may encounter a claim where an employee claims they were not paid the right minimum wage or they were not compensated for all hours worked. Some of the more common claims include:
- Not paid for employee training classes or sessions
- Not paid correctly for the number of hours worked
- Not compensated for the hours spent in mandatory company meetings
- Failed to compensate for time spent traveling between work sites
- Not compensated for time worked at home on behalf of the employer
These claims can be more challenging in some instances because as the employer, you are required to show that the employee did not work the amount of time he or she claims. Because employees who bring a claim are not necessarily required to have hard evidence, the burden is on the employer.
There are some defenses available in these types of claims, which typically involve FLSA exemptions and professional, executive, and administrative employees.
Retaining a Florida Employment Law Attorney
Although the burden is on you as the employer, it does not mean you should not defend an unpaid wage or overtime lawsuit. At Pincus & Currier LLP, we specialize in defending employers against unpaid wage and overtime claims. Contact our West Palm Beach office at 561-868-1340 to schedule a consultation.