I’m Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner of Bloodworth Law and today I’m going to talk about how employers can avoid wage and hourly violations in the state of Florida.
Failure to Properly Track Hours Worked
We handle employment law representation for clients across Florida in many courts and cities. One of the most common wage and hourly employment law violations we see is an employer’s failure to properly track hours worked.
Staying Late or Working Lunches
The reasons for improperly tracking hours worked can vary. This can either occur by making employees stay late after they’ve already clocked out, or having them clock out or break for lunch, yet having them work during that lunch hour.
Travel Time in Sales Jobs
Employers may not realize that certain hours – like travel time in sales jobs — are compensable. Travel time to and from airports, layovers on weekend travel, delays waiting for meetings that were rescheduled, or arriving in advance on a weekend day are examples.
Another way that employers often get confused on hourly wage issues is with employees who work the same hours every day.
Take an office employee who always worked through lunch without the employer’s knowledge. Then, for unrelated reasons, the employer fires the employee. Later, the fired employee comes back and says, ‘hey, by the way, I worked through all my lunches. I should be compensated for that.’
Failure to Properly Calculate Overtime
Failing to properly calculate overtime is also a common employment law violation. Overtime calculation violations are basically math errors on the part of the employer.
The ways that employers can do this is failing to account for bonuses.
Account for Bonuses
Sometimes, not always, bonus payments are considered part of an employees’ wages. So, when employers calculate one and a half times the hourly rate, they have to add bonuses to that regular pay to get the employee’s base rate — which is a little higher than the actual base rate. Thus, employers will underpay the overtime.
Paying Salary to a Non-Exempt Employee
Another manner in which employers can get turned around in calculating wages accurately is by sometimes paying a salary to a non-exempt employee.
This is allowed and there’s nothing wrong or illegal about paying a non-exempt employee a salary. But it does make the math complicated to figure out what the overtime pay should be.
Why? Because even if employers pay employees a salary, employers still have to pay additional overtime when the employee works more than 40 hours a week.
Improperly Classifying a Non-Exempt Employee
Another common wage and hourly mistake made by employers is improperly classifying a non-exempt employee as an exempt employee which is considered a misclassification.
This is often the case for people considered halfway between a white-collar position and a blue-collar position.
For example, a receptionist is a blue-collar position, whereas a CFO is a white-collar position.
What about the bookkeeper? What about the person that you call the office manager for a small office who has to make big decisions? These positions are kind of in-between doing day to day blue-collar work and making important decisions which are considered white-collar positions.
How to Stay in Compliance
As a business owner and an employer, it’s important to have an attorney that knows and keeps you in compliance with Florida employment laws. Employment law is complex and specific and you can’t be selective: you have to follow the laws or accept the punishments.
Again, I’m attorney Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner of Bloodworth Law. Let’s talk about what happened to you and find out how we can help you or your business.