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Help is available to sue employers not paying minimum wage

Florida workers may feel powerless if their employers fail to pay them what they are due. There are different situations in which employers may violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not paying minimum wage. Regardless of the category of worker who is denied proper remuneration, help is available to take appropriate legal action.

These violations often occur among tipped workers such as bartenders and food servers. Under federal law, employers must top up tips to ensure workers received at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for eight-hour shifts. Chefs, managers and other non-tipped employees may not share in the tip pool. It is also not uncommon for employers to avoid paying employees for hours worked beyond normal hours. Some employers even try to get away with deducting time spent on work-related activities -- such as training sessions, meetings and related activities -- often in an effort to avoid paying overtime.

Day laborers are also often underpaid because day rates are negotiated rather than hourly rates. Workers are then expected to work 12 or 16-hour days, equating to much less than $7.25 per hour. Another violation of the wage and hour law is an employer expecting minimum wage earners to pay for uniforms, office supplies, physical examinations and more, effectively lowering their wages to below minimum level.

An employee of a Florida company that is not paying minimum wage may find comfort in knowing that an experienced labor law attorney can offer guidance and ongoing assistance. A lawyer can assess the viability of a claim before suggesting the best way forward. Some attorneys advocate on behalf of clients on a contingency fee basis, and some states require that those found to in violation of minimum wage laws be responsible for the attorney fees of the underpaid employee.

Source: wltx.com, "Suing for Unpaid Minimum Wages", May 12, 2016

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