West Palm Beach Unpaid Wage Claim Lawyer
Employees who are successful in unpaid wage claims against their employers can force their employers to pay years’ worth of back wages. Employers can be forced to pay back twice the amount of wages deemed unpaid, and subjected to thousands of dollars in penalties by the government as well. The West Palm Beach unpaid wage claim lawyers at Pincus & Currier LLP represent West Palm Beach employers in unpaid wage claims alleging violations of Florida or federal minimum wage or overtime laws. Learn more about these laws below, and contact Pincus & Currier for advice and assistance in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward counties or statewide.
Minimum Wage Laws
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, but states are allowed to enact a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum. Florida has done that, and the minimum wage here currently rests at $8.25 an hour. Under the Florida Minimum Wage Act (FMWA), employers are not allowed to pay their workers less than the Florida minimum wage. Additionally, companies are forbidden from discriminating or retaliating against workers for making a complaint regarding their pay under the Act.
The law gives workers the right to sue for violations of the FMWA. If successful, workers can receive double the amount of unpaid wages, plus have their attorney’s fees and costs of the lawsuit paid by the employer. An employee who was fired or demoted in violation of the law can also be reinstated to his or her former position. Finally, if the violation is found to be intentional, the state can impose a $1,000 fine per violation on the employer.
Before an employee can sue for violation of the minimum wage act, the worker must notify the employer of the supposed discrepancy and give the employer 15 days to pay the disputed amount or otherwise resolve the claim. Only if the claim is unresolved may the employee proceed to court. Even if the employer is found liable for the claimed amount, the employer may be able to avoid the double wages penalty by showing the error was a good faith mistake.
Overtime is governed by federal law, specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. Under the FLSA, workers are entitled to overtime pay at the rate of one and one-half times their regular rate for every hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Computing overtime properly is not a simple task, and mistakes can sometimes be made when inputting payroll information. Also, not all workers are entitled to overtime. For instance, the FLSA allows employers to exempt professional, executive and administrative employees who meet the criteria under the law for exempt employees. Also, workers who are hired as independent contractors versus employees are not entitled to overtime pay.
Deciding whether an employee is exempt from overtime or whether a worker is an independent contractor is not a simple matter. There are complicated tests which must be applied to each different classification. Our experienced Palm Beach labor and employment law attorneys can help make sure your employees are classified properly and paid correctly. We can also represent you in dealings with the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, or in court.
A Lot is at Stake in Unpaid Wage Claims – Our West Palm Beach Employment Lawyers can Help
For violations of the FLSA, employees can receive up to two years of back pay, or three if the violation is deemed willful. Under the FMWA, employees can go back four years, or five years for a willful violation. Unpaid wage claims can range into the thousands of dollars, and if a payroll error is responsible, you may find yourself facing a class action from a whole department or your entire workforce. Let the labor and employment attorneys at Pincus & Currier help keep you in compliance with federal and Florida wage and hour laws, and provide strong, insightful representation in the case of litigation. Call 561-868-13440 for help in West Palm Beach or Florida statewide.