Different Courts Can Hear Overtime and Minimum Wage Claims

by | Oct 25, 2011 | News, Wage and Overtime Law

Different Courts Can Hear Overtime and Minimum Wage Claims

Federal Court

The newest federal courthouse in Miami is pictured above.

Overtime pay and minimum wage claims are known for being brought in federal court. In South Florida, this means that overtime and minimum wage claims involving employers in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe Counties can be filed in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida . Since the Fair Labor Standards Act expressly gives federal courts jurisdiction to consider wage claims involving overtime pay and minimum wages, people can bring wage claims involving even amounts less than $1,000.00 (and much less than $75,000.00 usually need to go to federal court) and against a local defendant in federal court. Some information about the federal court system can be found here.

State Courts

The Main Miami-Dade Courthouse is pictured above.

Overtime pay and minimum wage claims also can be considered by the Florida state courts. Within the Courts, there are different divisions based upon how much is being claimed (“at issue”). When a wage claim involves more than $15,000.00, the case is normally heard in the Circuit Court for, lets say, Miami-Dade County or Broward County. If the claim is for less than $15,000.00, then the claim is normally considered by the County Courts. Here, in Miami-Dade County, cases which involve less than $5,000.00 are assigned to the Small Claims Division of the County Court and usually move along faster and result in a judgment or settlement quicker than cases in the other divisions of the State courts. Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts describes its breakdown of the different divisions on its website.

There are certain advantages and disadvantages to workers who bring wage claims in each of these courts. Most of the submissions in federal court are done electronically, online, and without much of the in-court argument which has traditionally slowed down litigation in state courts. Also, it is less expensive to bring a claim in federal court because the filing fee to bring a case is less, because federal courts do not charge to issue subpoenas, and because federal courts do not charge for suing multiple defendants.

On the other side of the coin, federal courts prefer to be available to address claims involving more substantial matters – whether because a lot of money is at stake or some other important issue (such as election issues, welfare recipient drug testing, and the like).

Other issues, of course, play into the decision about the “best” court for filing a wage claim and obtain the “best” recovery. To find out more about whether overtime pay, minimum wage, wage claims, and the Courts in which these claims can be brought, contact the FairLaw Firm.

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