Florida lawmakers, businesses, and low-wage workers have begun to work together to create a statewide law setting procedures for wage theft disputes. According to the Miami Herald, this new unlikely cooperation between traditional opponents is because there was the conception that different Florida counties and cities were creating a patchwork of wage theft laws by formulating different statutes on the subject. This discussion arose when Miami-Dade County developed its own wage theft ordinance and then Palm Beach County started a process to do the same.
Karen Woodall, an advocate for workers, said: “We are working diligently on an agreement with the business community. We have all agreed that there needs to be a statewide solution. What we are struggling with is what makes sense in attempting to do that.” Though the contents of the law are likely to be highly contested, there is a general consensus that wage theft is a serious crime and that it must be dealt with by an encapsulating statewide law. John Rogers of the Florida Retail Federation claimed that “While theft and breach of contract are illegal, there is nothing that addresses wage theft. So we think some statewide standard and a statewide tribunal to deal with it is probably the best way to go.”
Wage theft is a serious problem in Florida and across the country. According to the Miami Herald, a member of the Florida AFL-CIO, Richard Templin, claimed that wage theft is more than a $28 million problem in the state. The intersection of federal and state laws leaves many employers and employees confused. If you believe that you or a loved one is not being properly compensated by your employer, contact a knowledgeable wage and hour attorney to see if you could possibly receive back wages for unpaid overtime or underpayment.