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Laws That Apply to Florida Employers With 15 Employees

Florida attorney L. Reed Bloodworth is the managing partner of Bloodworth Law with offices in Orlando and Winter Haven Florida.

Bloodworth Law handles employment litigation for Florida employers facing federal and state legal disputes with employees on a range of issues.

Laws That Apply to Florida Employers With 15 Employees

Bloodworth Law partner and employment litigation attorney J. Kemp Brinson shares insights on laws that apply to Florida employers with 15 employees.

“Now we’re going to talk about the other side of the coin, and that is laws that apply to Florida employers with 15 employees,” said Kemp. “Counting to 15 employees is a notoriously complicated thing to do for a couple of reasons.

When Do You Make The Employee Count?

“One question that often comes up from employers is when do you make the employee count?” Kemp said. “Because sometimes an employer will have 20 employees, and then the economy will get bad and they go down to 12, and then they’ll slowly ramp up to 16 or 17.

Employee Calculator: 15 Employees Employed For 20 Weeks In A Calendar Year

“So how do you apply that threshold when you’re talking about that?” Kemp said. “What the rules say is that you have 15 or more employees if you employ 15 or more employees in either the current or previous calendar year, for 20 or more weeks per year.

15 Employees For 20 Weeks In This Year OR In Last Year

“So they look at the payroll, they count the number of employees you have on your payroll. And for every week that you have more than 15, they count that against you,” Kemp said.

“And if you have 20 weeks or more, either this year or last year, then you have 15 or more. So that can catch some people out, especially if it’s a seasonal workplace.”

Independent Contractors Counted As Employees

Kemp said that the other thing that can catch people out is sometimes employees that are thought to be independent contractors actually get counted as employees.

Let’s say you have a laundromat, and you have two locations. And each location’s a separate LLC. One of them has 10 employees and the other location has 10 employees.

Two Business Locations Can Be Combined

But for the purposes of running payroll and management, these companies are owned by the same people, and they’re run by the same people. They use the same central office. They use the same bookkeeper. They share their expenses. They just are operated as these two different entities.

Those two companies are going to be combined, for the purposes of the discrimination laws. And so they will be considered one employer of 20.

“So, there’s some other little wrinkles like that,” Kemp said. “So, counting to 15 can be a little tricky, and you need to make sure just because you think you’re under 15 doesn’t mean you actually are. It just depends a lot on the circumstances.”

Don’t Ignore Any Complaint

Kemp said that’s why it’s important for an employer not to ignore a complaint because they think they have less than 15. Likewise, it’s important for an employee not to assume they have no case, just because they work for a small employer because it’s not quite that simple.

“For the most part, employers know about the 15 employees,” Kemp said. “They know about minimum wage, but they don’t necessarily know all the ins and outs.

There’s The “Right Thing” and There’s The Law

“And kind of the classic error is not knowing the law. The error tends to be, ‘well, as long as I do what seems to be the right thing, I’m probably compliant.’ And that is not always true. Doing what you think is the right thing is not always the thing that the law requires of you.”

Attorney J. Kemp Brinson is a 2019 to 2022 Super Lawyer for his work in Employment Law. Talk to Kemp, and to Managing Partner L. Reed Bloodworth and the employment law team about issues concerning you as a Florida employer to find out how Bloodworth Law can help you, your employees, or your business.

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