Unpaid Wages


Has your boss failed to pay all of your wages? Did your employer cheat you out of time that you worked and yet were not paid? Did you get fired and your company withheld your last paycheck?
Matthew A. Leibert handles all wages claims and cases of wage-related losses for employees and workers in Florida, handling both Florida and Federal Claims. The attorney fees that may be paid to him for your case will not be paid by you. They would be paid by the employers who failed to pay you. If you were forced to work overtime or “off the clock” and were not paid for all of your time, he can get you the money that you are owed. Mr. Leibert has twenty-eight years of experience in litigating cases in Florida. He is dedicated to fighting for every dollar that you earned and were not paid, and will file a lawsuit on your behalf if you were cheated out of money that your employer owes to you.
Potential Claims:
All of the above listed claims are rights that you have that can be compensated by a court of law. Mr. Leibert will fight for your right to be compensated. If your employer fired you and failed to pay for your last paycheck, he can help you get your money.


Types of Employees and Workers Who are Eligible for a Wage Claim Law Suit

All private company employees and workers are entitled to receive their full pay and be compensated for every hour that they have worked. Here is a list of employees/workers who are often underpaid: Nurses and Healthcare Workers, Employees of large and small businesses, Corporate Employees, Telemarketers, Roofers, Secretaries/ Office Staff ,Sales and Retail Workers, Manual Labor Employees, Landscape Workers, Computer-related Workers, and Installers.
There are both Federal and state laws that guarantee your money, and those laws force your former employer to make payment to the lawyers who help you get your money. Florida Statutes, Chapter 448 gives workers the right to be paid for all work performed and allows the worker to collect attorney’s fees from his employer. However, the Florida Statute does not give “overtime” wages to workers in Florida.
The federal law that requires employers to pay overtime to employees is the “Fair Labor Standards Act FLSA” Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Passed in 1938, the FLSA was enacted to ensure a number of different “fair labor standards,” most notably the requirement that most employees be paid overtime. Many states also have adopted “Wage and Hour Employment Laws”. The FLSA requires most employers to pay overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours in a given workweek at a rate of one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. There are exceptions to the law for some workers.

FLSA Rights Cannot Be Waived
Employers frequently believe that so long as their employees agree to certain pay arrangements, then there is no violation of the law. This is not the case. Employees cannot agree to waive their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act. For example, your employees may agree to a work arrangement where they receive additional pay, “Employee Benefits” benefits, and/or “Employee Leave” time off in exchange for giving up overtime pay. They may even be willing to sign a written contract to that effect. Yet such agreements are no defense to a finding of an FLSA violation by the “U.S. Department of Labor DOL” U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The law — not the employer or even the employee — defines an employer’s FLSA obligations. Employers need to know that an employee who willingly goes along with, or even requests, an illegal pay arrangement has the right to sue the employer for FLSA violations and recover any back pay he is owed under the law, in addition to keeping the extra pay and benefits he already pocketed under the illegal compensation system.

Who Enforces Federal Overtime Laws?

The DOL’s “Wage and Hour Division WHD” Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is responsible for administering and enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act. The WHD usually initiates an investigation of an employer’s overtime practices in response to an employee’s complaint. Isolated complaints on behalf of only one or a few employees may only result in a phone interview and small-scale investigation of the company, called “conciliation.” Multiple violations or complex cases may result in a full investigation by the WHD, involving employee interviews and subpoenas of the company’s records. The WHD administrator also may assess a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation for any repeated or willful violation the FLSA’s overtime provisions.
Call Mr. Leibert for a free consultation to determine if you qualify for a lawsuit against your employer under the Federal “Fair Labor Standards Act.” Do not believe your employer if he/she tells you that you have no right to be paid. Some employees will wrongfully classify your position to keep from paying you. For example, some positions are exempt from overtime pay under 29 U.S.C.A. such as “managers” and “assistant managers.” You may be labeled as an assistant manager and still qualify for overtime pay.

Employees Who Are Considered Except from Overtime Pay
An exempt employee is a worker who is not subject to the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the US Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the Wage and Hours Division of the US Department of Labor, only “bona fide [genuine] executive, administrative, professional, computer and outside sales employees” who meet certain requirements are exempt from minimum wage and overtime laws. Do you fit into this category of employees? An example: an Executive Employee; The employee’s primary job duties must involve “managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise.” In addition, he or she must supervise at least two full-time employees and have the authority to hire or fire other workers or be able to significantly influence those decisions.
Why do you need to know? If you work more than 40 hours a week and are not what the law defines as an exempt employee, you have a right to earn at least one and a half times your regular rate of pay for that additional time.
An employee is not considered exempt simply because of his or her earning a salary of at least $455 per week, an individual’s job duties must follow a set of rules established by the FLSA. These rules differ by type of employee.

Minimum Wage Claims
The current minimum wage in Florida is $7.93 per hour, as of January 1, 2012. However, employers can use tips and gratuities to reduce the required minimum wage to $4.29. But employees are not entitled to share your tips. If your employer is taking part of your tips, or is participating in “tip pooling,” you may have a case for lost wages. Tip pooling occurs when tipped employees such as waiters, bar tenders, table cleaners etc… put their tips in a collective pool and split them up later to be shared with the group. Employers and managers are not allowed to take money from the tip pool.
If you have a minimum wage claim, do not delay in contacting Mr. Leibert to help you. There are strict time limits in which wage claims must be filed. In order for us to act on your behalf, you must take action quickly. As you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring.
Sometimes you may be getting less than minimum wage simply because your employer is not tracking your time correctly. You have a right to be compensated for all of your time spent working for your employer’s benefit. Time spent doing work such as turning on the lights, turning on computers, attending training classes, attending safety classes, working through lunch break, being on call, cleaning equipment, etc…

According to the United States District Court, SOUTHERN DISTRICT, Florida, Miami Division in 2004 WL 5582173: “To determine whether activities prior to commencing work are preliminary, the courts look to whether they are an integral and indispensable part of the principal activity. Steiner v. Mitchell, 350 U.S. 247, 76 S.Ct. 330, 335, 100 L.Ed. 267 (1956); Dunlop v. City Elec., Inc., 527 F.2d 394 (5th Cir.1976); Marshall v. Gerwill, Inc., 495 F.Supp. 744 (D.Md.1980). However, even if the activities qualify as integral, if they are de minimus, they are non-compensable. Dunlop, supra, at 400–401; Marshall, supra, at 749. The court need not make those determinations to rule that commuting time is not compensable. Despite Plaintiffs’ efforts to start the workday with these activities, even if they were compensable, there is nothing in the statutes, regulations, or case law to suggest that they could operate to make the subsequent drive to the principal activity anything other than non-compensable commuting time under the Portal–to–Portal Act. The employees could choose to perform these activities anywhere on the path to the principal activity, or at the employer’s place of business, and they cannot make their commute compensable by choosing to do them at home. Regardless of where they perform these activities, and regardless of whether they are compensable, the drive from home to the place of performance of the principal activity is excludable under 29 U.S.C. § 254(a).”

Mandatory Training Sessions are Compensable
We have had clients who were forced to attend training sessions for the employer’s business and yet were told they would not be paid to attend those training sessions. Those training sessions were in fact compensable. According to the United States District Court, SOUTHERN DISTRICT, Florida, Miami Division in 2004 WL 5582173: “Training programs need not be counted as work time if: “(1) attendance is outside the employee’s regular working hours; (2) the employee does not perform productive work during the program; (3) attendance is voluntary; and (4) the program is not directly related to the employee’s job.” Dade County, Fla. v. Alvarez, 124 F.3d 1380, 1384 (11th Cir.1997) citing to Price v. Tampa Elec. Co., 806 F.2d 1551 (11th Cir.) (per curiam), cert. denied, 483 U.S. 1006, 107 S.Ct. 3230, 97 L.Ed.2d 736 (1987): “Plaintiffs were required to attend training sessions and meetings called by the employer. Thus, time spent attending these meetings is compensable and the undersigned recommends that Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment be granted on this issue.”

If you are an hourly worker and your employer tells you that you MUST attend a training class or session, then you MUST be paid for that time. If you MUST read and answer emails at night, then you MUST be paid for that time, and if you MUST attend conference calls then you MUST be paid for that time.

Will You Get Fired for Bringing a Wage Claim?
Your boss cannot fire you for exercising your right to collect your unpaid wages. It is illegal for employees to retaliate against a worker for filing a lost wage claim. If your boss fires you, reduces your hours, gives you an undesirable job, or reduces your pay, then you can file a separate lawsuit against your employer for punishing you, and that law suit will be for more money.