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Controversial law makes it easier for employees to sue

If you have employees who perform work in Broward County,  you need to make sure your wage and hour practices are in compliance with the new law, which takes effect January 1, 2013.

Plan to attend Gunster’s complimentary, one-hour breakfast seminar on November 13 to learn more about how this law may affect your business. RSVP now.

Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca was one of two votes against the ordinance on October 23.

Join distinguished guest Commissioner LaMarca at Gunster’s Fort Lauderdale office on Tuesday to discover how your business will be affected.

Due to the new ‘wage theft’ law, employers will need to perform an audit of their wage and hour practices, evaluate timekeeping procedures to verify they are accurately recording the hours their employees work and paying the employees for this work within a “reasonable time,” as defined by the law.

Effect on employers 

If an employer has imprecise, inadequate or nonexistent time or payroll records, then the employer has the burden of disproving an employee’s claim for unpaid wages.

In the event an employee proves wage theft, the employer will be ordered to pay back wages, an amount equal to the amount of earned wages that were unpaid, the cost of the administrative process and the employee’s attorneys’ fees.  This could total thousands of dollars.

What happened? 

On October 23, 2012, Broward joined Miami-Dade County as the second county in Florida to adopt an ordinance prohibiting “wage theft.” The wage theft ordinance was passed by a 7-2 vote, and is a controversial law that will make it easier for employees to sue their employer for alleged unpaid wages.

According to the ordinance, an employer is liable for wage theft if the employer fails to pay any portion of wages due to the employee within a “reasonable time” from the date on which the compensation was earned. The law presumes that a “reasonable time” is no later than 14 calendar days from the date on which the work was performed, unless the employer has an established (by policy or practice) pay schedule whereby employees earn and are consistently paid wages according to regularly recurring pay periods.

RSVP now to attend Gunster’s complimentary, one-hour breakfast seminar November 13 to find out more.

This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

Established in 1925, Gunster is one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service law firms. The firm’s clients include international, national and local businesses, institutions, local governments and prominent individuals. Gunster maintains its presence in Florida with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. Gunster is home to more than 165 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, providing counsel to clients through 18 practice groups including banking & financial services; business litigation; construction; corporate; environmental & land use; government affairs; health care; immigration; international; labor & employment; leisure & resorts; private wealth services; probate, trust & guardianship litigation; professional malpractice; real estate; securities and corporate governance; tax; and technology & entrepreneurial companies. Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 250 largest law firms.

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