Whether you’ve worked at a job for 10 days or 10 years, you have the right to the money you’ve earned. When a current or former boss withholds these wages or commissions, employees need to take the next steps to get the owed money.
In Florida, employees have limited choices about getting owed wages. Under the Florida Minimum Wage Act, employees have the right to sue their employers for unpaid earnings. Before filing suit, the employee must file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor for violation of the federal labor laws. Once that complaint is filed, the employee can then file legal action.
Getting Your Owed Money
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that employers pay employees for all hours worked and in a timely manner. If the employee leaves — whether it’s voluntarily or through being fired or laid off — the next paycheck must be paid according to the company’s pay schedule. In addition, the employer is not allowed to make unauthorized deductions.
If the employer does not pay the owed earnings, whether it’s intentional or not, the employee can file a lawsuit in civil court. But before the legal action is filed, the employee should follow some steps:
- Send the employer a letter detailing the amount owed, along with work dates and hours. This should be sent certified mail so the sender has proof of receipt.
- Compile any communications with the employer, including emails, which would indicate employment and any conversations about unpaid earnings.
- Collect other evidence in the case, including the personnel file.
- File a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office. While this office will not give specific legal advice, the office will enforce minimum-wage laws.
- Register a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor in Florida.
Taking Legal Action
Employees can bring suit against an employer for several types of unpaid wages:
- Tips or commissions
- Final paychecks
- Lunch or break times
- Vacation earnings
According to the FLSA, employees who are owed back wages or tips and commissions may be entitled to the full amount owed. These employees could also be entitled to liquid damages, which is a monetary penalty against the employer for violating the federal labor laws. It is also called double damages or double payback. In order to receive this, the employee must prove that the employer willfully withheld wages and violated the law. In many cases, this is difficult to prove.
Employees may also be entitled to other monetary court awards:
- Prejudgment interest — A monetary sum determined by the court for the loss of the moneys owed.
- Punitive damages — A sum awarded to the employee and aimed at punishing the at-fault employer.
Let Us Help
The steps to getting the your back wages and commission can be confusing and intimidating. That’s what we are here for. Our attorneys have handled scores of cases just like yours. They understand the various details in wage laws and can help you through this difficult process.Contact us today.
Hurt at Work? We Can Help!
Call an attorney at the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for a free and confidential consultation today.