What To Do When Your Employer Refuses To Pay You In Florida?

Romano Law


Romano Law
Trying to recover unpaid wages from your employer can be stressful and daunting task for most. In Florida, there are legal avenues to pursue if your employer refuses to compensate you for your work.
United States Employment and HR
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

Trying to recover unpaid wages from your employer can be stressful and daunting task for most. In Florida, there are legal avenues to pursue if your employer refuses to compensate you for your work. Understanding your rights, and the steps you need to take, are essential to securing what you're owed from your employer.

What Constitutes Unpaid Wages In Florida?

In Florida, unpaid wages include any earned compensation that an employer fails to pay. This encompasses regular wages, overtime pay, commissions, bonuses, and any other agreed-upon compensation for work performed, such as tips. If your employer does not pay you any portion of compensation that you earned, you may have a claim for unpaid wages.

What Are Florida's Unpaid Wage Laws?

Florida's labor laws protect employees' rights regarding unpaid wages. The Florida Minimum Wage Act (F.S. 448.01 et. al.) establishes the minimum wage, requires that employers make timely payments to their employees, and prohibits employers from withholding earned wages from employees.

In addition to Florida's Minimum Wage Act, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulates wage and hour standards, including overtime pay requirements, in all states – including Florida. For example, Florida does not have its own overtime law, but Florida employers are still subject to the federal overtime standard in the FLSA. Despite not having a specific state law governing overtime pay, this means that Florida employers must pay eligible employees overtime when they work over 40 hours in a workweek.

Under both federal and state law, employees are entitled to collect penalties and recover lost wages from employers who refuse to pay them. If your employer violates the Florida Minimum Wage Act, you can file a claim for liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are equal to your unpaid wages: for example, if you earned $100 and your employer did not pay you anything, your liquidated damages would be $100.

What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Filing An Unpaid Wage Claim?

Statutes of limitations are deadlines that dictate the timeframe within which a legal claim must be filed. It's crucial to act promptly to preserve your right to recover unpaid wages.

In Florida, employees have four years to file a lawsuit against employers who owe them wages. If your employer willfully refused to pay you, you have up to five years to make a claim. To prove a willful violation, you must demonstrate that your employer either knew it was violating the law, or it showed reckless disregard for whether its pay practices were illegal. On the other hand, if the employer was merely negligent or inattentive to its pay practices, that would still be illegal – just not sufficient to bring a claim under the "willful" standard.

Under federal law, employees have two years from the date of the wage violation to file an administrative claim or sue their employer. If the employer willfully violated wage laws, employees have three years to file claims or sue.

What Steps Should I Take To Recover Unpaid Wages?

To file a claim under the Florida Minimum Wage law, you must follow certain steps. If you wish to claim liquidated damages, you must first notify your employer of your plan to sue. You must also provide your employer with the amount of wages you should have been paid. Your employer then has 15 days within which to resolve the issue. If they fail to resolve this within 15 days, or refuse to pay you what they owe you, you may file a lawsuit and seek liquidated damages.

Overtime pay works similarly. If your employer fails to pay you overtime premiums, you are entitled to the unpaid wages they owe you and the same amount in liquidated damages.

If the employer loses the lawsuit, they may be required to cover the employee's additional damages, such attorney fees and other legal expenses.

I'm Worried About Getting Fired If I Ask My Employer For Unpaid Wages, What Should I Do?

Employees pursuing unpaid wage claims are protected from retaliation by both Florida and federal laws. It's illegal for employers to terminate, demote, or otherwise penalize employees for asserting their rights to unpaid wages. If you face an adverse employment action after asking to be paid your full wages, this may be unlawful retaliation and you may have additional legal recourse.


If your employer refuses to pay you in Florida, act promptly to preserve your claim. Know your rights, keep records and document any conversations, and pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More