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Florida Employment Law

Florida is famous for its sun and fun. Like every state, though, Florida has its quirks and legal flaws.

With a median unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, Florida is one of the top four states in the country for wage and hour violations and investigations. Florida’s food and hospitality industry has been the subject of U.S. Department of Labor investigations involving restaurant workers being under-compensated.

Employment law covers a multitude of topics, including worker’s compensation, workplace discrimination, vacation and overtime, unemployment benefits and more. Your employment dispute is often affected by federal, state and local laws simultaneously. Florida employment law attorneys are experienced with the delicacy and complexity of work-related cases and can help protect your rights.

Common Florida Employment Law Issues

One of the most common issues Florida workers face is receiving due compensation. Employers often illegally withhold or deduct a worker’s wages for excuses like:

  • Punishment for worker misconduct or mistakes,
  • Working unapproved overtime or when an employer instructs a worker to work “off the clock” without pay,
  • Not taking time off for breaks or lunches but the employer still deducts the time, and
  • Retaliation for reporting manager or employer misconduct.

The Fair Labor Standards Act protects an employee’s rights to the wages that are due for their time worked, regardless of any conflicts with an employer or an employer’s personal code of ethics. Employers are required to comply with FLSA standards for wages, overtime, breaks and leave.

Another common issue workers encounter in Florida is discrimination, especially against older workers. Florida has the highest senior population (age 65 and up) in the U.S. and more seniors are working past the average retirement age. As a result, issues with age discrimination arise in regards to employment, termination and promotion have become a concern.

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Florida’s Civil Rights Act both protect workers from age discrimination in the workplace.

Florida Minimum Wage

Florida’s minimum wage as of January 2017 is $8.10 per hour. Prior to 2017, Florida’s minimum wage was $8.05. A previously failed ballot effort to raise Florida’s minimum wage to $10 per hour is making another attempt for inclusion on the November 2018 ballot.

Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Florida

Losing your job can be rough, especially if it was sudden and unexpected. Thankfully, Florida’s Reemployment Assistance Program extends a helping hand to qualified, recently unemployed workers to help cover some of the financial strain.

The program offers short-term unemployment benefits for workers who meet the following criteria:

  • Your job was terminated at no fault of yours. This means that you can’t have quit or been fired for misconduct.
  • You must have earned a minimum amount of wages within the four quarters prior to 18 months before your unemployment claim (also known as your “base period”).
  • You must be partially or completely unemployed.
  • You must be willing and able to work. You must also be actively seeking employment during your benefits period.

Unemployment benefits are calculated using the sum of your total earnings from your highest-paid base period quarter, divided by 26. For instance, if your highest quarter’s earnings in your base period was $6,280, your benefits would be about $241.50 per week ($6,280 ÷ 26 ≈ $241.50). You can earn up to a maximum of $275 per week for up to 26 weeks.

Get Help from an Employment Attorney

If you or a loved one is involved in an employment law dispute, it’s in your best interests to consult with an attorney. Employment law is a broad, complicated legal area with federal and state laws at play. An experienced employment law attorney can help protect your legal rights.

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