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Florida Labor and Employment Law

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Florida labor law lawsuits allege violations of Florida state labor laws including overtime pay and minimum wage violations. The rights of employees in Florida are protected by a number of laws including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Possible violations of Florida employment labor law include wrongful termination, retaliation and discrimination.

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Florida Minimum Wage

As of July 24, 2009, the minimum wage in Florida is $7.25 an hour. This minimum wage applies to all employees in Florida State who are covered by the federal minimum wage. However, some industries make allowances for tips and therefore can set a lower hourly pay. For example, food service workers who earn tips as part of their total compensation may earn $4.23 an hour. Allowances are given for employees who are required to maintain their uniforms and for employers who supply meals and lodging.

Under federal law, salaried managers are not allowed to share in the tips.

Florida At Will Employment

Florida is an "at will" employment state. As such, at-will employees can be

terminated for any reason. The Overtime Workonly exception is for employees who are covered by a contract or union agreement governing the terms of employment. Employees who are covered by an employment contract can usually only be terminated for the reasons set out in the contract. At-will employment also protects the employee's right to resign.

Unlawful terminations violate legal protections, including discrimination or harassment, whistleblower protections, absence to serve on a jury, retaliation for asserting legal rights or violations of employment or union contracts. In such cases a fired employee could potentially file a wrongful termination claim.

Florida Right to Work

Florida is a Right-to-Work state, meaning that a person cannot be denied a job based on union membership. A person can choose to be a part of a union or not be part of a union—either way, his or her job status cannot be determined by union status.

Florida Donning and Doffing Violations

Donning and doffing refers to the time spent putting on and taking off uniforms or required work safety gear to properly perform job duties. Often, work gear can take 10 minutes or more to put on and take off for each shift, plus time spent dressing and undressing for breaks, but employers frequently do not pay for that time. In some cases, employees should be paid for their time spent putting on and taking off required work clothing and safety gear and, if the employee is full time, the unpaid time could actually mean overtime is owed.

In addition to uniforms and safety gear, some employees at restaurants are required to come in 15 minutes early to learn about the day's specials, set tables and taste food so they can recommend it to customers. Although this time is required for work—and although it benefits the employer—in some companies such time is unpaid, meaning workers are giving up an extra 15 minutes per shift for the benefit of their employer. For employees who work full-time, that extra 15 minutes per shift is unpaid overtime, and over the course of a year, that unpaid overtime could add up to hundreds of dollars of unpaid work.

A lawsuit has reportedly been filed against Bloomin' Brands, Inc, owner of Outback Steakhouse, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. the lawsuit alleges the company required employees to perform unpaid work prior to shifts, refused breaks and failed to pay for mandatory meetings and training sessions.

Bloomin' Brands has denied the allegations.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law regarding employee wages and hours worked, including overtime hours and wages. Under the FLSA, some workers can be exempted from overtime pay. However, those workers must fit the criteria the FLSA sets out for exemption. Florida's laws also apply to employment subject to the FLSA. In cases where both the FLSA and state law apply, the law setting the higher standards must be observed.

More information on how the Fair Labor Standards Act applies to overtime can be found here.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal act that requires that covered employers provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for the following reasons: birth and care of the employee's newborn child; care for a child after adoption or foster care placement; care for the employee's spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition; or for a serious health condition that affects the employee's ability to work.

Florida employees are eligible for FMLA coverage if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months (not necessarily consecutive months) and if a minimum of 50 employees are employed by the same employer within 75 miles.

Covered employers are those who employ more than 50 employees within 75 miles of the worksite and have at least 50 employees who work 20 or more work-weeks in the current calendar year or the previous calendar year. Public agencies are covered by the FMLA regardless of the number of employees.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

The Occupational Safety and Health Act is a federal law enacted to ensure that employees work in an environment that is free from recognized hazards. It is part of the United States Code, Title 29, Chapter 15.

Federal laws also protect employees from sexual harassment and discrimination, including race, age, disability and pregnancy discrimination.

Employees who feel their rights have been violated may have the opportunity to bring their complaint before the courts.

Florida Employment Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered damages in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.

Last updated on Feb-10-14

FLORIDA EMPLOYMENT LAW LEGAL ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS

Employee Appealing to Florida Labor Law in Wrongful Termination
Employee Appealing to Florida Labor Law in Wrongful Termination Pensacola, FL: Demetrius was a cook in a nursing home until last month. “I couldn’t get to work because I was stuck in an ice storm so I was fired for missing one day,” says Demetrius. “I believe I was wrongfully terminated and my employer violated the Florida labor law. [READ MORE]

Is Proposed Bill a Step Backward for Florida Employment?
Is Proposed Bill a Step Backward for Florida Employment? Tallahassee, FL: A new law proposed to govern Florida Employment would strike down any current effort to protect the rights of low-wage earners and appears to be pointed directly at an ordinance brought in at the county level by Miami-Dade last year. To that end, an opinion piece that appeared April 14 in the Miami Herald takes the view that the proposed law is a step backward [READ MORE]

House Committee Approves Changes to Florida Labor Law
House Committee Approves Changes to Florida Labor Law Tallahassee, FL: The House Finance and Tax Committee recently approved new changes to Florida labor law that would reportedly make it more difficult to qualify for unemployment benefits, the Florida Times-Union reports [READ MORE]



READER COMMENTS

Posted by
Teresa
on
My daughter finally got her first job after 18 and it has been a nightmare for her. The working environment is not very good for her or the other young workers there. My daughter has been told to clock out at a certain time but not to leave until all work duties are complete, sometimes she is there up to an hour after clocking out. I would like to know if that is illegal? What if she gets hurt after being clocked out?

Posted by
Robin
on
I work 9 hours per day and we get an hour for lunch that we punch in and out for. I was just told that because I have to leave early for physical therapy, I am not eligible for a lunch. Is there a law in Florida that after so many hours of work you have to get atleast a 30 minute break ?

Posted by
Angel Valentino
on
I'm working as a Construction Coordinator and I'm being asked to clean the office. Dust, clean windows, mop-vacuum floors, clean bathrooms...this was not in the job description at all. Do I have to do it?

Posted by
Florida
on
I started working this job a week and 3 days ago. First the owner don't wanna pay me for training then he holds my first check on top of telling me to pay for the company's Tshirt my own hair nets and gloves. He's paying under the table which means I'm responsible for end of the year taxes and I don't et social sercurity taxes back when I'll need them. The fryer scares me it's bubbles when I put chicken wings inside. I have the keep the fryer door open to keep the fire started and when u start the fire for the fryer it whooshes out at you.. To top it all off the place is invested with roaches. I'm always looking around to beware of them the customers in the dining area leave because there in plain sight. The conditions are going to leave me jobless because work is so hard to find but I feel terrible serving that food as well as working in the environment.

Posted by
Florida
on
I worked 50 hours this weekend for DAK security and was given no break or lunch break unless we chose to buy the lunch from them ($6 taken out of your paycheck for a small sandwich) and no rest breaks. I worked 13 hours the first day, 17 hours the next day and 10 hours the third day.

Posted by
Florida
on
I was working for a company called All Brands Appliance in Jacksonville FL. The owner never paid me overtime or had me on the payroll, which affected my child support. He doesn't take taxes out and I have not received my last check. I have all my hours on record. He handwrites checks to avoid taxes. I work 60 to 70 hours a week.

Posted by
Florida
on
Leaving a job where I had earned 2 weeks vacation time. When i gave my letter of intent to GM, I was told that I would not be paid for my vacation time owed. Can they do this?

Posted by
Florida
on
I am being laid off. My company contractually provides severance. Now they say the only way I can get that is to apply at our partner vendor and if they decline hiring me. Any other option would mean no severance. (Not applying, applying and get job, applying and get job but declining.) Is this legal and allowed? If I'm being severed, shouldn't I get severance regardless and not be forced down these avenues they are now requiring?

Posted by
Florida
on
I terminated my employment with a public charter school in Florida on 1/16/15. Two weeks ago they sent me an e-mail stating that they would not pay me my summer pay (I already worked for this money) or the 1.5 months of health benefit money until I completed an exit interview form. At the Principal's request, I talked with her twice before I left. I worked without a contract, there was no stipulation during my employment that I would provide a written exit interview at the time of my departure. Can the school legally do this? What is the legal deadline for the school to pay me this money?

Posted by
Florida
on
I worked for Publix for 30 years, starting from the bottom and ending my career as management. I was never written up during my whole career. Only after I complained to my department manager about sexual issues against my GM was I later brought in and put on a development plan for poor work performance. I then continued being harassed by my GM and other managers until I was terminated and accused of not following the development plan. My termination document states that I failed to complete “MOST” of the required items. The rebuttal from Publix to the EEOC states I answered “NO” when asked to follow the plan, which is why I was terminated. I did receive a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC about 45 days ago.

Posted by
Florida
on
My valet parking employer charges the staff at over 40 locations a percentage of the cash tips they recieve. The charge is $.50 - $1 per car parked. They have been operating this way for over a decade. The system allows them to charge the clients less for service in order to secure contracts over competitors.

Posted by
Florida
on
I work at a perfume store in the mall and I had a customer come in and buy $500 worth of perfumes. My manager is now saying that it might be a fraud and if it is, I would have to pay the $500 out of my paycheck. I also believe that I'm getting paid under the table because they only pay me in cash. I can't afford to lose $500 for something that isn't my fault. Please help me.

Posted by
Florida
on
I have done some minor research into this subject and I have still not determined whether or not it is legal, but my employer (an airline) often has me scheduled for shifts longer than 7 hours with less than 6 hours between shifts. A good example would be going to work from 2-10 pm and then being scheduled to come back at 4 am to 10 am. If I could please receive some professional insight on this topic, that would be most excellent.

Posted by
Florida
on
I’m a full-time employee since Febuary and I’m cut to only 20 hours a week as of yesterday. I work for Northern Florida Lubes LLC (Havoline Express Lube) Oil change facility. I’ve never been written up or damaged any vehicles during my employment and never called in sick and I’m being cut to 20 hours a week. Behind closed doors, the regionals and supervisors decided to hire work-release inmates to achieve their financial goals, while a few veterans of 10-plus years with the company, including myself, are stuck, feeling forced to seek employment elsewhere. The company is known for its brutal tactics of abuse over the years

Posted by
Florida
on
The restaurant I worked for closed unexpectedly and owner never paid me my last paycheck. Shouldered the hours and deserve my money. I have a family and bills that need to be paid. He was also taking taxes from our time cards, which he said he would give all the proper paperwork for taxes at the end of the year. I have tried to reach him but he refuses to answer and solve this matter. There are three other employees who didn't receive their paychecks either.

Posted by
Anonymous
on
Is it legal to immediately with no notice evict an employee who is being terminated from promised housing after that person moved his entire life from another state and hasn't even recieved his first paycheck. I'm broke with no where to go and have done a more than adequate job . Can an employer in the state of Florida terminate and evict an employee from job provided housing with no notice?

Posted by
Florida
on
Sexual harassment, hostile environment, termination when I revealed I was gay. I was given the reason…“it’s just not working out” after 16 months of employment, without any documented disciplinary measures; and they had just updated their employee handbook to include a process of discipline. I am devastated and do not know how to go on.

Posted by
Florida
on
I haven't been scheduled by my job for work since July 5, 2014. The company mixed up my schedule and couldn't accurately tell me when I was supposed to come back to work. Haven't received a call yet to discuss my employment status.

Posted by
Florida
on
I have not been paid my last “paycheck” from my former employer, even though I worked the hours for said payment. He is dragging his feet to take care of this situation. And I have bills that need to be paid, including my car note.

Posted by
Florida
on
I was hired through a corporate headhunter for a position as a commercial insurance broker. Upon hire by this company, I was told that I would work as a 1099 employee for the first 90 days because of tax purposes? After the initial 90 days, I was told that I had to sign a promissory note for repayment of the salary that I had received. I did NOT sign the note, but the owner of the agency decided to file a suit in civil court for the repayment of the salary, which he calls a loan...In other words, this gentleman believes that I would resign from a position where I had a salary and benefits to work for him for free???

Posted by
Florida
on
Employer refuses to pay overtime wages, gas allowance, and my employer is extremely mentally abusive. He always buys the office lunch so we are supposed to excuse his behavior. It has started getting worse and I'm actually in fear bc he started banging on my desk, turning beet red today.

Posted by
Florida
on
Out of work for 2yrs I applied for cust. service/web chat work. Hired, trained for 3 full days w/o pay. Worked full time from home/set days/hours/pay. One month in they change rules to high pressure/commission sales for same position. I could make as low as $5.95 (after 15.3% tax). I declined and no longer have a job. The new rules also stated they could change again at any time. I feel they are misdesignating workers to avoid paying taxes and fair wage.
Is there anyway to stop this? They have a constant turnover with many people affected by this.

Posted by
Florida
on
loss of business reputation, sleep, family issues, depression, deminished self worth, ect...

Posted by
Florida
on
I work as a nurse. We are now required to purchase new uniforms, no problem, but have to pay for the company logo to be embroidered on. We will not be able to use the uniforms outside this institution. We feel at the minimum they should pay for the embroidery.

Posted by
Florida
on
I worked in a harmful work environment. They were repetitive, hostile, they affect the person's dignity or psychological integrity. It is humiliating that lowers a person's self-esteem and causes torment. Waking up with headaches in the middle of night or morning, anger, fatigue, stomach problems, stress, unable to be productive at work, loss of self- confidence, paranoia. Making rude, degrading or offensive remarks, from customers. The managment is preventing the person from expressing himself. Threatening constantly. I complained and I got fired.

Posted by
Florida
on
I have incurred mental and emotional stress because I can not afford to buy gas, food, or pay my bills on time because of being paid late. I have also incurred monetary expenses by having to get payday loans to cover bills and expenses.

Posted by
Florida
on
No base pay, only the $ 2.50 delivery charge added to the bill.
Was fired for refusing to do anything other than drive since I was not being payed. Signed a contract that they refused to give me a copy of.

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