Jacksonville’s economy grew again this year, and the success is expected to press on in 2017, as high-profile businesses like IKEA and a new Amazon fulfillment center prepare to open.
An improved economy in 2016 led to an uptick in jobs, but it also caused several instances of wage theft among J-ville businesses. This includes violating minimum wage and overtime standards, and sometimes worse things like retaliating against employees who raised concerns. Here were some of 2016’s biggest wage theft busts and allegations, and how you can be on the lookout in the future.
Metro Diner: A Leader in Wage Theft
Metro Diner was maybe the biggest bust of the year, with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in Jacksonville compelling the diner’s Jacksonville Beach location to pay back a total of $154,179 to its employees.
The DOL’s complaints against Metro Diner are a one stop shop of alleged Fair Labor Standards Act violations. The eatery supposedly miscalculated overtime, made employees pay for uniforms out of their own pockets, and operated an improper tip pool.
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You’re required to get paid time-and-a-half for every hour over 40 you work in a week, and at all times must be making Florida’s minimum wage of $8.05 an hour.
The Metro Diner tip pool paid out tips to employees who were not supposed to receive them, like cooks, janitors, and dishwashers, though the allegations didn’t name specific job titles. If a worker doesn’t usually receive tips in the course of business, they can’t be part of a tip pool, according to the FLSA.
Your employer can make you pay for your uniform like Metro Diner did, but the charges can't put you below minimum wage.
While Metro Diner dominated the news late in the year, other allegations were sprinkled throughout 2016.
Other Complaints of Wage Theft
Bartenders, healthcare employees, and manufacturing workers all lodged complaints. Affected business includes Thee Officer’s Club, Spears Coastline Plastics, a geriatric specialist, Dollar Express, and more.
Overtime complaints were quite prevalent. For example, the bartender at Thee Officer’s Club alleges she didn’t receive wages for the first three months of her employment, according to the Florida Record. The company paid her after that period, but chose to ignore minimum wage requirements from then on.
Sometimes employers might go a step further and terminate you for bringing up your complaints, like two workers alleged against AssisTax earlier this year. Retaliation is also illegal under the FLSA, and you may want to consider your legal options if you are retaliated against or think any of your other rights guaranteed by the FLSA are being violated.
It’s often difficult to tell if you’re a victim of wage theft, and sometimes it’s even harder to know what to do.
What Should I Do if I Think I’m a Victim of Wage Theft?
Look out for circumstances like your employer neglecting to pay you overtime or the minimum wage, or failing to adhere to any other aspect of the FLSA. There may be grounds for you to file a complaint against your employer if things like this are occurring. These types of infractions can be fairly small, like having you clock in ten minutes late, to huge, like denying you overtime.
But every minute counts, and the dollars can add up. Don’t be afraid to fight for your money.
Our labor and employment attorneys in Jacksonville are knowledgeable about all aspects of employment law, and can help you put together a case for your claim. If you believe you’ve suffered from wage theft, we’re ready to help today. Fill out our evaluation form and we can review your claim.