There are three main ways to file a wage theft complaint:
1) File a claim with the US- Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. If you call (904) 359-9292) they can walk you through the steps needed to file a claim. Note that because of a backlog it can take up to 3 months for an investigation to start.
2) You can file in civil court but will need to find a lawyer to represent you. If this issue has affected a lot of people in your workplace you could do a class action suit which will help in finding a lawyer to represent you.
3) The Alachua County Wage Recovery Program can reclaim lost wages but it isn’t going to be fully implemented until January 1st, 2014. You can call the Alahcua County Equal Opportunity Office at (352) 374-5275 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see this linked pdf for more information on the program. Note that although you cannot file until January 1st, 2014 you are covered from April 16th, 2013 onward (with the 180 day limitation waved).
However you decide to proceed it is highly recommend that all instances of wage theft are thoroughly documented. Being able to prove that this happened with documentation is critical to using any of these mechanisms.
Please do not hesitate in contacting the Alachua County Wage Theft Task Force at email@example.com if there is anything else that we can do to help.
Thanks to the work and support of community members, business owners, and religious leaders from around Alachua County, we turned a resident-led, grassroots campaign into a successful ordinance with the potential of helping thousands of workers in our community!
Here in Alachua County, local democracy won against the powers that be in Tallahassee, but we still have millions of workers in the state that have little protection against wage theft. The Task Force wants to extend their knowledge and use our momentum to help other communities establish a Wage Recovery Ordinance of their own.
If you’d like to get involved in helping expand our success to other counties, or are from another part of Florida and would like our help replicating a successful campaign, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THANK YOU AGAIN for your support, now on to the next ordinance!!!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
LOCAL MEDIA COVERAGE FROM OUR VICTORY:
As Tallahassee enters its second-to-last week of the legislative session, activists from across the state are watching closely as bills that seek to undermine worker’s rights try to move through both chambers. These bills — SB 726, HB 655, & SB 1216 — would destroy our efforts to protect workers from wage theft, as well as Orange County’s efforts to win paid sick-leave, by stripping local control in favor of special interests. (Learn more about Orange County’s fight by visiting the website:HOME RULE HYPOCRITES.)
TOMORROW AFTERNOON, the Senate will be voting on SB 726 and HB 655.
How will these bills affect workers throughout the state?
SB726 *Paid Sick Leave Preemption*
- Bans local government sick leave ordinances.
- Forms an Employer Sponsored Benefits Task Force to evaluate and analyze the effects of statewide preemption.
HB655 *TOTAL PREEMPTION*
- Strips the home rule of local governments by restricting county level ordinances like our newly passed Wage Recovery Ordinance!
- Bans counties from passing living wage ordinances, partner benefits, earned sick time benefits and any other pro-worker ordinance dealing with pay and benefits.
- Sets back years of progress at the local level to help struggling communities lift out of poverty.
READ A POWERFUL TAMPA BAY TIMES EDITORIAL ON THE ISSUE HERE
Call Senator Rob Bradley (R-Alachua) ‘s Tallahassee Office: (850) 487-5007 and ask him to STOP undermining home rule and local democracy. This is no longer about an individual issue, but about a citizen’s right to be represented fairly at every level of government.
Not in Alachua?
CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR SENATORS PHONE NUMBER NOW!
Tell your senator: “AS A VOTER IN YOUR DISTRICT, I URGE YOU TO VOTE NO ON SB726 and HB655. THESE BILLS WOULD BE DISASTROUS FOR OUR COMMUNITY. STOP UNDERMINING LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PREVENTING PROTECTION FOR WORKERS.”
On Tuesday, April 16th, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of passing a Wage Recovery Ordinance in Alachua County.
(Read the Gainesville Sun coverage HERE)
It is unusual for business owners, religious leaders, community organizations, individual residents, and elected officials to come together to work on a common goal. It is even more unusual to see our goal become a reality.
The Task Force believes that Alachua County’s passage of the state’s third Wage Theft Ordinance (Wage Recovery Ordinance, in our case) will be recognized as a model to improve business relations and fairness in the workplace.
We would like to thank every single individual, business, and organization who came together to make democracy work in favor of those who need it most. We would also like to recognize Alachua County Commissioners Mike Byerly, Hutch Hutchinson, and Charles “Chuck” Chestnut for their leadership and willingness to work with the Task Force in order to protect their constituents and local businesses.
(Click on each commissioner’s name to send them a Thank You Note!!!)
As we celebrate, we should also bear in mind that our work is not over. We must continue to organize against Tallahassee’s preemption bills that could undo all of our hard work.
The last day of session is Friday, May 3rd, and even though the senate bill has ran into some obstacles, we shouldn’t put it past Tallahassee to pull a stunt at the last minute. Keep making phone calls to the Judiciary Committee until the 23rd!!
Together we can celebrate a complete victory on Friday, May 3.
-The Task Force
Florida International University’s Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (RISEP) has published a study on wage theft in Alachua County. We encourgae all to dowload the pdf file, and read it to gain a better understanding of the scope of the problem in our community. For a brief summary of the study, read below.
“This report reveals that over a million dollars of unpaid wages have been recovered and because we know that a large percentage of Florida’s workforce is not covered by federal or state laws, the number of cases that go unreported and the amount of unpaid wages is likely to be two to three times what we have reported. This implies that over $2 to $3 million dollars are lost and never recovered in the two years of data that we analyzed. Policy makers in Alachua County and Florida need to consider the ramifications of our counties and state becoming a glaring example of one that tolerates and even encourages wage violations.
Unscrupulous employers are with impunity breaking laws that not only protect employees, but also are critical to maintaining a fair and competitive business environment, which is so critical to Florida’s economy.”
DOWNLOAD FULL STUDY BY FOLLOWING THE LINK: http://www.risep-fiu.org/2013/04/wage-theft-in-alachua-county/
On Monday, April 8th, the Senate Judiciary Committee will take up Senator Bradley’s wage theft bill that would preempt our efforts in Alachua County to pass a strong enforcement ordinance. Please make these calls and encourage you colleges, congregations, and friends to make calls too
On March 26th the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) took a major step forward in making a Wage Recovery Ordinance in Alachua County a reality (watch video here). In a 3 to 1 vote, the commission directed county staff to draft an ordinance and to advertise for the first public hearing on April 16th at 5:30 PM. In order for an ordinance to be adopted it must clear two public hearings. It is vitally important that advocates of a Wage Recovery Ordinance come the the April 16th meeting to continue showing their support. The task force will be meeting on Monday, April 1st, at 5:30 PM at Maude’s to discuss the way forward (facebook event).
New round up of the March 26th BoCC meeting
The Gainesville Sun
The Independent Florida Alligator
On March 12th the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) heard from county staff about a possible Wage Recovery Ordinance (watch here). The staff presented the concept of an ordinance that would follow state Senator Bradley’s proposed SB 1216 Wage Theft bill. After much debate and consideration the BoCC decided that if we were to follow the proposed bill, we would end up with a weak and ineffective ordinance. Staff was directed to draft an ordinance that had a hearing officer like the one in Miami-Dade. This will be discussed further at the next meeting on March 26th.
Public input is CRUCIAL to the passage of an effective ordinance. Call your county commissioners at (352) 264-6900 and tell them that you support a robust Wage Recovery Ordinance in Alachua County. You can also email them at email@example.com. Of course, nothing is more effective than telling them in person during public comment! You can do so on Tuesday, March 26th at 6:00 PM (facebook event).
The Gainesville Sun and the Independent Florida Alligator coverage. Editorial from the Gainesville sun.
THIS WEEK, Legislators will be voting on House Bill 655 in the House State Affairs
Committee. HB 655 is an attempt by big business lobbyist to preempt
the democratic rights of local governments from passing essential ordinances
that help working families including living wage, paid sick leave, and WAGE RECOVERY!
Remember that this bill:
• Strips the home rule of local governments by restricting county level ordinances.
• Strikes down essential county ordinances like the one we’re trying to pass here in Alachua County.
• Would eliminate access to economic security for thousands of Floridians.
CALL THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE NOW!!!
Tell them: “VOTE NO ON HB655! Local governments should NOT be stripped of their right to provide economic security for working families in their communities.”
In the past few days, We have seen great national coverage on the issue of wage theft. This is no coincidence. Wage theft is a national epidemic that affects workers and businesses all over the country. Take the time to read this great IN THESE TIMES article, ‘The Wage Theft Epidemic’ to understand why the federal government has failed to enforce their own wage laws.
We are also proud to say that our local efforts to try to pass a Wage Recovery Ordinance in Alachua County are mentioned in this New York Times article, ‘A ‘Go Local’ Focus Is Used to Resolve Unpaid Wages’