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Employees deserve fair wages for their work, but too often employers will go out of their way to avoid paying employees what they're owed, especially with regards to overtime. These employers may also intimidate employees, who fear speaking out because of retaliation.
If you feel you are being deprived of wages by an employer in Lakeland, a wage and hour lawyer from Morgan & Morgan may be able to help. We understand the nuances of overtime regulations and are prepared to help Florida workers stand up to employers who break the law. It is illegal to retaliate against employees who speak up for their rights, so don’t be intimidated by your employer’s threats of retaliation.
What Employers Are Subject to Overtime Laws?
The state of Florida has yet to pass a law requiring overtime pay for workers. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a federal law governing numerous aspects of the employer and employee relationship, applies to most employers in Florida, including:
- Employees of an enterprise with gross sales or business of at least $500,000
- Employees for hospitals and other institutions that care for the sick, aged or mentally ill
- Employees of elementary and secondary schools
- Domestic workers who earn at least $1,700 annually or work at least 8 hours a week for their employer
The list above includes quite a large amount of people in Florida, all of whom are owed overtime. In instances where the employee works 40 hours a week, this overtime wage is one and a half times more than their hourly wage.
How do Some Employers Violate Overtime Law?
Most FLSA violations are not as obvious as an employer demanding you work 45 or 50 hours a week but refusing to pay overtime for the five or 10 extra hours.The majority of Florida wage and hour violations are subtle, to the point that some employees have been deprived wages for years without ever realizing.
"Off the Clock” Work
Employees are supposed to be compensated for the entire length of time they are furthering their employer’s business, even if it exceeds 40 hours per week. Yet, some employers require their employees to perform work either before clocking in or after clocking out. Even small tasks before or after your shift begins will start to add up. Spending just five minutes before and after work completing an extra task can add up to hours of unpaid labor in just a couple of weeks. Before you know it, a year has passed and there is a substantial amount of money you are owed but have not received.
Another way employers may try to reduce paying employees fair wages is by misclassifying them. Standard wage & hour laws don’t apply to those who are labeled as independent contractors, but sometimes employees are mislabeled independent contractors so their employers can avoid paying them overtime. There is a multi-factored and fact-intensive legal test for distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor that looks at the nature of your work, the amount of supervision you receive, where your work is performed, and who provides your tools, among other factors.
Misclassifying Salaried Employees
You may think that salaried employees don’t qualify for overtime in the same way that hourly employees do, but that’s just not true. Salaried employees are only exempt from overtime under specific circumstances, and it’s important to know that unless employers take advantage. While bona fide managers, executives, professionals, and administrative workers who exercise independent judgment can be exempt – and therefore can be asked to work more than 40 hours per week without receiving any extra pay or overtime bonus – other workers may still be covered under the FLSA even if they are salaried employees. Those workers may be entitled to extra pay or comp time if they are asked to work extra hours.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Today
No one should be forced to work for free. When Florida employers abuse their positions of power to take advantage of their workers through wage and hour violations, they need to be held accountable.
At Morgan & Morgan, our overtime attorneys may be able to help employees who have not been paid overtime recover lost wages. There is no up-front cost to hire one of our attorneys, and you will pay nothing unless they win your case. If you feel your employer has violated overtime law, contact us about your case.