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Fort Lauderdale Employment Law Blog

Understanding the Legality of Individual Arbitration Clauses in Employment Contracts

More employers have recently started adding individual arbitration clauses to their employment contracts. These clauses essentially state that employees who have a legal complaint against their employer cannot file a joint complaint with other employees who have had similar experiences.

When Does an Employer Have to Pay Overtime in Florida?

Employers in Florida have an obligation to familiarize themselves with overtime pay regulations. Employers are subject to the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as state law.The Federal overtime rules state that all non-exempt employees must be paid a rate of 1.5 times their regular wage for any hours worked over the standard 40-hour work-week. These regulations are enforced by the United States Department of Labor (DOL).What is NOT Covered by Overtime Rules?For employees over the age of 16, there are no rules limiting the number of hours an employee can work in a single week. There is also no mandatory increase in pay for working on weekends, nights, or holidays unless the worker has exceeded a 40-hour work week.Understanding Overtime CalculationsEmployers may find themselves in violation of overtime rules if they fail to understand the calculation details. Here are some of the most common mistakes employers make.Improperly Defining the Work Week

The FLSA defines a work week as a regularly-occurring period of seven consecutive 24-hour periods. This does not necessarily have to be a calendar-week. The "week" can start on any day and at any time of the day as long as the 7-day period is consistent from one pay period to the next.It's important to note that hours worked cannot be averaged over a period of two weeks or more. Doing so will clearly put you in violation of the rules.Underestimating Base PayWhen calculating overtime pay, you must understand the base rate at which the 1.5 multiplier applies. In many cases, bonus pay is required to be included in this calculation.Failing to Pay on Time

When overtime applies, the additional wages typically must be paid on the regular payday for the week in which the extra hours were worked.Failure to ComplyEmployers who fail to comply with Federal overtime regulations may be subject to private lawsuits by their employees. In addition, if the DOL discovers violations, they will typically require employers to pay employees back wages owed and offer solutions to remedy the problem.Employers who have been found to willfully violate overtime rules are subject to a fine of $10,000 and criminal prosecution. If a second offense occurs, imprisonment is possible. Repeated violations can also result in civil monetary penalties that apply individually to each violation.Exempt Employees

Certain types of employees are considered exempt from overtime rules. Employers are not required to pay overtime wages for certain exempt positions. Details regarding exemptions can be found on the US Department of Labor website.The key to avoiding problems with overtime pay is to clearly understand your obligations to your employees. If you aren't sure whether your employees are exempt from overtime provisions or need further clarification regarding the calculation rules, contact your local Wage and Hour District Office for assistance or contact us at Danz & Kronengold, PL. at our website danzlaw.net.

Florida's Whistleblower Laws Are an Exception to At-Will Employment

Florida, like many other states, enforces an at-will employment policy. This set of rules allows employees and employers to terminate their working relationship at any time, for any reason, without warning. The caveat to this rule is that actions by employers must not be considered discriminatory.

How to Respond to Natural Disaster: When Employees Flee, What Employers Can Do To Retain Order

Dealing with hurricanes and other natural disasters is a hot topic for Florida employers. While the safety of your staff is a high priority, you must also be concerned with the security and functionality of your business.

Will Trump's "Hire American" Policy Change Labor Laws?

In April 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order meant to strengthen the Buy American Act. This new order supports efforts to buy American products and supplies when possible and to hire American workers when possible. This rule could have a tremendous impact on employers, especially those who work with the federal government, but how much of an effect this will have is not yet clear.

What Employers Can Learn From Google's Recent Diversity Battle

Google's recent controversy over a 10-page memo written by a male employee who claimed women were biologically and emotionally inferior to men is one in a string of recent highly publicized eruptions of bias in the workplace. In addition to the outrage caused by the memo itself, the company's initial response was seen as rather lackluster, and there was concern that other employees may have agreed with the memo.

New Medical Marijuana Ruling In Massachusetts Could Mean Employment Policy Changes In Florida

Employers in Florida who have zero-tolerance policies toward all drug use may need to recreate their policies if a Massachusetts court ruling makes its way into Florida employment suits. A recent decision regarding medical marijuana use off-hours could have major ramifications now that Florida allows medical marijuana use in general.

"Raise The Wage" Battles Roars On, But How Will It Affect Florida?

The "Fight for 15" movement has seen a lot of action over the past few years, and that action has helped to raise the wages of many people in areas around the country. In Florida, though, attempts to raise wages have had mixed results, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

Reasonable Non-Compete Agreements and Enforceability in Florida

Florida is known for its very employer-friendly non-compete laws (also known as the restrictive covenant statute), but if you're an employer hoping to restrict workers from going to work for a competitor, you have to be very careful about any non-competes you attempt to enforce. Not only does potential harm to your business count, but so does the potential harm to the worker and to those the worker serves.

Florida Lawmakers Provide Medical Marijuana Guidance For The Workplace

Medical marijuana is now legal in Florida, and that means employers will now have to decide how to treat drug testing and positive results. Increasing availability and usage means that positive drug tests will likely go up, and Florida lawmakers have given employers the go-ahead to continue zero-tolerance policies if desired. How employers actually treat the situation will, for the most part, be an individual company decision except in certain circumstances.

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