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Common Labor Laws In The United States

The United States has many labor and employment laws that protect workers and employees in the State of Florida. Some of these laws involve how much to pay an employee, other laws prevent employers from taking certain actions (such as discrimination, harassment, or retaliation), and yet other laws require employers to disclose or not disclose certain information. The FairLaw Firm is familiar with the labor laws in the United States that apply to people working in the State of Florida. Below is a summary of some of the basis laws that affect employers and employees:

Minimum Wage. The most basic right of an employee in the United States is the right to be paid at least a minimum wage. Each State is allowed to set its own minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, requiring employers to pay at least the amount required by State law, every non-exempt employees working in the United States must receive at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. For some employees who work on commission or who customarily receive tips, part or all of the wages can be satisfied by the commissions or tips, but employers must follow strict guidelines in order to do this. An employer’s failure to pay at least a minimum wage can have serious consequences. If an employer fails to properly and timely pay an employee at least a minimum wage for all time worked, then the employee is able to make a claim in court for the amount of the minimum wages owed during the past two years (and possibly the past three years), plus an equal amount (or double damages). In addition, the employer is required to pay for the employee’s attorneys’ fees and costs. Voters in Florida decided to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, with the first annual increase occurring on September 30, 2021 to $10/hour, followed by five $1/hour increases for each of the next five years. The FairLaw Firm is familiar with the minimum wage laws that apply to people who work in Florida.

Overtime Pay. Most employees in the United States are entitled to get paid time and one-half for each hour worked beyond forty (40) hours in a workweek. An employer’s failure to timely and properly pay all of the overtime wages earned can have serious consequences. If an employer fails to properly and timely pay an employee for all of the overtime pay earned, then the employee is able to make a claim in court for the amount of the unpaid overtime for the past two years (and possibly the past three years), plus an equal amount (or double damages). In addition, the employer is required to pay for the employee’s attorneys’ fees and costs. The FairLaw Firm is familiar with the overtime wage laws that apply to people who work in Florida.

Discrimination/Harassment. Federal, Florida, and often local codes or ordinances protect people of all backgrounds, colors, religious beliefs, genders, disabilities, and sexual orientation from being treated differently because they belong to a protected class of persons. Pregnant women, older workers, and people with certain genetic conditions are also protected. These protections require employers to have a certain number of employees. Discrimination in the workplace is not limited to whether someone is hired or fired because they belong to a protected class, but also includes whether a person is paid equally, treated the same, and given the same opportunities as others. Other times, we think of discrimination in terms of a co-worker (or a superior) making unwanted comments or advances at work. While laws protect against discrimination or harassment at work, they generally do not protect employees from being treated differently at work because of some personal favoritism, from workplace drama, or legitimate business decisions. The FairLaw Firm is familiar with the discrimination and harassment laws that apply to people who work in Florida.

Disability. A number of laws protect employees who are disabled and people who are considered to be “regarded as” disabled. The broad definition of who is entitled to protection as a disabled person translates into broad protections. Employees who are disabled or “regarded as” disabled are entitled to be hired and to continue to work if the employer can “reasonably accommodate” the person. Accommodations can include such things as a providing an employee with a specific type of chair, modified hours, or a flexible work schedule. Protections for disabled persons starts when a candidate applies for work and continue through the decision of whether to terminate and employee, whose employment to terminate, and the reasons for all decisions in between. The FairLaw Firm is familiar with the laws that apply to disabled people who who work in Florida.

Retaliation. Retaliation occurs when an employer treats someone differently in response to either a complaint, a refusal to do something, or to speaking out against something that is wrong in the workplace. Actionable retaliation includes situations when an employee is treated differently or fired in response to seeking medical treatment or making a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, in response to an employee’s objection or refusal to engage in some illegal or unlawful activity, in response to complaining about the safety of the workplace, or in response to a complaint about being discriminated against or harassed. The FairLaw Firm is familiar with the laws that prohibit retaliation against people who work in Florida.

COVID-19. Our lives and work were forever changed in 2020 once the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in mid-March. Jobs that we were told could never be performed remotely were, in a matter of days, successfully transitioned to being done from our homes. Working from home has caused its own challenges, besides just finding a quiet place to work. This change has resulted, for some people, the ability to work different hours than before. Employers are required to keep track of the hours worked by most employees, and can create problems with properly paying employees. Congress also acted quickly when it passed laws that were designed to give some financial and job security to employees who had been working for 30 days for companies with less than 500 employee by providing sick leave pay and family leave pay in certain situations. The FairLaw Firm is familiar with the laws that apply to people who work in Florida though the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family Medical Leave. Employees who work for a certain amount of time for their employer can be entitled to medical leave, depending on such factors as the size of the employer. This medical leave can be taken either at once – such as for a pregnancy / maternity /paternity leave – or periodically depending on the condition and the need for leave. While on medical leave, an employee’s job must be protected, although not all types of leave are required to be paid. The FairLaw Firm is familiar with the medical leave laws that apply to people who work in Florida.

FairLaw Firm remains open for business during these difficult times, as we have been prepared to work remotely for more than 10 years. FairLaw Firm continues to serve our clients and prospective clients remotely – possibly better than before.  We continue to offer free initial telephone and digital initial intakes, as well as video consultations with attorney Brian  H. Pollock. CONTACT US NOW to see how we can help you.