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How Good Is Broward County’s Wage Theft Ordinance?

Broward County adopted its new Wage Theft Ordinance in early 2013. The purpose of the ordinance is to not only make it easier for employees to recover their wages, but to also provide incentives for employers to pay the amounts due. I have reviewed the Ordinance and provided this summary to give a gist of what the Ordinance provides.

Timing

Broward County’s Wage Theft Ordinance considers employers late if they don’t pay their employees within 14 days. The employee is then required to send written notice to his/her employer about the exact amount of wages due within 60 days from when the wages were due. If the employer doesn’t pay after 15 days, then the employee has up to one year file his/her wage theft claim from when the wages were due to be paid.

Process

Broward County then requires a hearing officer to get involved to preside of the wage theft claim. The hearing officer can issue subpoenas and generally manage the wage theft case through a final hearing.

The Ordinance also seeks to minimize fraudulent claims and defenses. It allows for a hearing officer to require a party to pay $500 or spend 60 days in jail for providing false information.

Award

The Broward County Wage Theft Ordinance allows an employee to recover twice  his/her unpaid/underpaid wages, plus attorneys’ fees and costs. This is different than the Miami-Dade Wage Theft Ordinance, which permits an employee to recover three times his/her wages, but without an award of attorneys’ fees. The ability for an employee to recover his/her attorneys’ fees from an employer will help an employee get justice against an employer who drags out the process when the amount of wages owed is not large.

Enforcement of Award

After the hearing officer determines the amount of the total award, you still may have to go to Court to get an Order to enforce the award.

At the FairLaw Firm, we assist clients in recovering their hard earned wages. Most of our clients hire us on contingency, meaning that we only get paid unless and after our clients get paid. Since we usually seek to have the employer pay our fees, our clients often pay don’t pay us anything. Contact us to receive a free consultation of your wage claim or submit your online claim evaluation now.

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