What should I do if my employer owes me unpaid wages?
Florida Unpaid Wage Lawyers
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All workers should get paid what they have rightfully earned. An experienced wage lawyer can help.
Sadly, many employers try to get away with not paying workers their full wages.
Figures from the United States Department of Labor (DOL) reveal how common unpaid wages are in the workplace. In 2002, 2035 complaints were made to the DOL regarding violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which protects employees’ wage and hour rights.
This number grew to 7006 complaints in 2011 and 7064 complaints in 2012 – a staggering rise, more than tripling the cases in just 10 years. By 2019, the number of cases grew to 9,566 for minimum wage FLSA violations totaling more than $39.5 million — plus 11,018 cases for overtime FLSA violations totaling more than $186 million — constituting 83% of back wages complaints in the fiscal year 2019, according to DOL statistics.
Wage lawyers continue to tackle the rampant violations committed by employers that take millions of hard-earned dollars out of the pockets of employees each year.
Companies across multiple industries give excuses and frequently bully employees to pad their bottom line, ignoring or even flagrantly violating unpaid wages and unpaid commissions laws.
Here are the most common arguments or justifications given by an employer for unpaid wages, commissions, and bonuses:
- “I do not owe you that money.”
- “You owe me money, so I’m not paying you.”
- “I don’t have the money. I’ll pay you when I can.”
Justifications to Withhold Pay
- “I’m not paying you commission on that. It’s too huge.”
- “You do not deserve this money.”
- “You didn’t work those hours.”
- “You worked unscheduled hours.”
- “I didn’t approve overtime for you.”
- “No, you already took your paid vacation days.”
- Failure to pay is often an illegal tactic to try to make you quit.
Has your employer used any of these arguments or justifications for not paying you for what you are lawfully owed? An employment law attorney specializes in standing up to bosses and managers to help employees get justice.
WHAT YOU CAN COLLECT
You can, of course, collect for unpaid wages. With an experienced unpaid wages attorney, you may be able to collect additional funds as well:
Overtime – If your employer owes you for time worked over 40 per week, you may be able to collect 1½ times your hourly rate (which also applies to some salaried positions).
Back wages & Liquidated Damages – Liquidated damages double the amount you are paid as a penalty. If you are owed $3000, you receive $6000.
Legal Fees – A potential advantage of going to court is that (per FLSA guidelines), if you win, your employer must pay the full cost for your attorney.
Building a strong case is important to achieve the optimum outcome.
HOW YOU CAN COLLECT YOUR UNPAID WAGES
There are certain actions that workers can take to collect unpaid wages, bonuses, and commissions. Some of these include:
Collecting as much documentation as possible — personnel file (including your rate of pay, schedules, any documentation reflecting agreed-upon bonuses and commissions, etc.; any communications with your employer regarding unpaid earnings, including emails
Sending your employer a certified letter with details of the unpaid wages — including hours worked, dates, and any other owed funds such as for tips or commissions, final paychecks, lunch or break times, vacation earnings, and bonuses
Filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor in Florida
Labor laws exist to protect workers. Everyone has the right to receive what they are legally owed. Employment and labor law attorneys are skilled at taking on powerful employees that violate the Fair Labor Standards Act and other legislation that acts to protect workers in Florida and across the United States.
HOW WE CAN HELP
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we are Tampa’s premier employment law firm. We focus entirely on employment law, including unpaid wages, unpaid commissions, and unpaid overtime.
Our employee rights attorneys are passionate about helping Florida workers and fight hard to hold employers accountable for employment law violations. We have helped thousands of employees across the state.
Let us help you protect your rights. You deserve to receive the unpaid wages, commissions, and other earnings you are owed. You may also be entitled to other types of monetary court awards, including prejudgment interest and punitive damages.