- 14 Apr
Work Hard, Get Paid: Employment Law
If you’re an hourly worker (as opposed to a salaried worker), you get paid based off of how many hours you work during a pay period. Depending on your employer, this may be weekly or biweekly. This is how it’s supposed to work—but what if you aren’t receiving all your money? Or if your employer is asking you to work off the clock? What are you rights as an employee in Florida? We take a closer look at Employment Law.
Florida labor laws, in concert with federal labor laws, aim to protect employees and provide employers with a framework for creating a safe, equitable environment. Among these statues are wage and hour protections, anti-discrimination legislation, and the Family Medical Leave Act. While this article aims to give you a general overview of your rights, only a reputable Tampa employment lawyer can help you determine whether you have a legal employee dispute.
You Have the Right to Minimum Wage
As a Florida resident, your employer must pay you minimum wage for the state. Currently, hourly employees (except tipped employees like waiters) must be paid a minimum of $8.05 an hour. Tipped employees must be paid a minimum of $5.03 an hour in addition to their tips.
You Have the Right to be Paid for Your Work
If you are working, you should get paid, right? Well, the law agrees with you.
It is a violation of your rights to expect you to work when you aren’t on the clock. It is also illegal for an employer to attempt to shift around the time you’ve worked to avoid paying you overtime. No employer should require you to work off the clock or deny you pay that you’ve legally earned.
You Have the Right to Overtime Pay
Overtime pay is equal to one and a half times your regular hourly rate. In Florida, there are a couple of scenarios in which you may receive overtime pay.
Unless otherwise stipulated in your hiring contract, if you are an hourly, unexempt worker and have worked for more than ten hours in a day, you are eligible for overtime pay. This is specific to Florida, however. Other states may have different overtime pay laws.
Overtime pay is also required when a nonexempt employee works more than forty hours in a week. This is in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and is a national law.
While some employers may pay overtime for work completed on holidays or weekends, they are not required by law to do so.
You Have the Right to a Safe Workplace
OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also guarantees some rights for workers and offers protection. Workers should be protected from toxic chemicals and be provided safety gear if they need it.
OSHA also protects workers from retaliation and offers whistleblower protections. This is important for ensuring that guidelines are being met. Because of the gravity of OSHA violations, OSHA allows workers to make confidential complaints directly on their website.
You May Not Be Discriminated Against
Not only are there federal laws against discrimination in the workplace but Florida labor laws take discrimination one step further by stating that an employee cannot be paid differently because of their sex.
Most workplaces offer a policy for workers that allows them to report discrimination or sexual harassment to a particular person or department. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against, it is important to follow the guidelines set forth by your company. If you find that sufficient action is not taken to investigate or alleviate the discrimination or harassment, it may be necessary to involve a Florida employment attorney.
You May Be Able to Take Unpaid Leave Under the Family Medical Leave Act
The Family Medical Leave Act doesn’t apply to everyone, unfortunately, but if you are employed by a company with more than 50 employees, you may be eligible. FMLA allows an employee to take up to 12 weeks off from work to give birth or adopt a child. In addition, FMLA also allows employees to take time off to care for an ailing child, spouse, or parent. FMLA leave is supposed to be job-protected leave, though it is generally unpaid.
A Tampa Employment Attorney Can Protect Your Rights
The federal government and the government of the state of Florida both have labor laws that employers must follow, including minimum wage laws and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If your employer has disregarded your rights under Employment Law and has failed to fix the problem when it was brought to their attention, a Tampa employment attorney may be able to assist you. You work hard, you should be paid for your time and feel safe at work.