Unpaid Wage Claims Require Realistic Expectations
Clients who have been the victims of wage theft do not initially realize that they were denied either the minimum wages or overtime wages they earned. Once this realization occurs, clients can have unrealistic expectations about their rights and the remedies they have. I have seen this occur when a client wanted to recover more than just the unpaid wages, penalties, attorneys’ fees, costs, and interest (on the unpaid wages), but also wanted to recover more money to “punish” the employer.
Unpaid wage claims, whether for unpaid minimum wages or for unpaid overtime wages, are governed either by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §201, et. seq, by the Florida Wage Act, Chapter 448, Florida Statutes, or in some instances by a local or municipal ordinance. Each of these laws sets out how (and so how much) an employer can be penalized for committing wage theft.
Thus, under the current state of the law, an employer who (for whatever reason) did not timely pay all wages earned can’t be required to pay for emotional distress damages or other damages which are not provided for in a statute.
They key to avoiding problems down the line is to make sure that clients have realistic expectations of what they can recover and what they can’t – under any scenario. Sooner is obviously better than later, and so the FairLaw Firm seeks to educate clients and potential clients about the money the can expect to recover – and what they will not be able to recover. This principle of educating clients to have realistic expectations is not only true for workers who have wage and overtime claims, but for all clients.
So, to provide clients with realistic expectations of what they can hope to recover if their claims are successful, the FairLaw Firm reviews each client’s earnings history and time records to come up with the unpaid wages. From this number, the amount ultimately due to each client can be calculated and then discussed so that any settlement offer can be properly evaluated and measured against realistic expectations.