Every worker has a right to be treated with fairness and dignity by their employer. The employment laws in Orlando are informed and governed by the state of Florida. They are designed to ensure that people are paid a fair wage and are protected from discrimination of all kinds.
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Minimum Wage in Orlando, Florida
As of January 1, 2020, the minimum wage for the state of Florida is $8.56 an hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Minimum wage applies to most employees in Florida. However, there are exceptions for tipped employees, student workers, and a few other occupational categories.
The minimum wage is linked to a Consumer Price Index. The CPI tracks the rate of inflation. The minimum wage is re-evaluated annually based on the state of the CPI. Orlando has a large and prosperous hospitality industry. A great many people work in the restaurants, resorts, bars, and hotels of the city.
The employees who work in customer-facing services receive tips for their efforts. The amount of money received by any employee will of course depend on the number of hours they work every week. For this reason, such tipped employees must also receive a minimum wage, which is currently $5.54 an hour.
It is illegal for any employer to pay a non-tipped employee anything under $8.56 an hour unless they are in an occupation that has been exempted by state or federal law. Your employer must also display an official Florida minimum wage poster in a place where most employees can see it.
This must be done to ensure employees know their rights and the minimum wage they are entitled to receive. Failure to display such a poster in a prominent place can result in severe fines and penalties for your employer. If you work more than 40 hours in a week, then you are entitled to a minimum wage that is at least 1.5 times the regular minimum wage.
If your employer does not pay adequate overtime wages, then you can file an unpaid overtime claim with the Florida Department of Labor. In addition to tipped workers, state law exempts the following categories of workers from the $8.56 minimum wage:
The law allows companies to pay new employees who are under the age of 20 a training wage of $4.25 an hour for the first 90 days of employment.
Employers may pay full-time high school student and part-time college students $7.28, which is 85% of minimum wage, for up to 20 hours of work per week. If you are a tipped employee, you must earn at least $8.56 including tips per hour.
Unlawful Conduct in the Workplace
Employment laws in Orlando regulate the treatment of people in the workplace. The law protects you against sexual harassment, discrimination, and other forms of hostility, aggression, and prejudice.
You are entitled to work in a safe and non-threatening environment. Sexual harassment consists of unwanted sexual advances or comments, gestures, images, and other behaviors that are sexual in nature. Any employer that allows sexual harassment to persist can be held legally accountable.
It is illegal for anyone to be hired, fired, promoted, demoted, denied employment, or paid lower wages because of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or citizenship status. The last of these only applies to people who are legally permitted to live and work in the United States.
Florida law also prohibits discrimination based on marital status, HIV status, or sickle cell trait. At the moment, state law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, the city of Orlando has made LGBTQ people a protected class in its anti-discrimination ordinance. And a recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court will soon make it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people anywhere in the state.
Federal anti-discrimination laws apply to Florida employers with 15 or more employees. The following exemptions apply:
- Companies with 20 or more employees are exempt from age discrimination
- Employers with 4 or more employees are exempt from citizenship status discrimination
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment or discrimination, you will need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws.
If you intend to launch a civil suit against your employer, you must first file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC. The latter must then investigate your complaint and issue a report. Your attorney can then use the findings of that report in your lawsuit.
Unemployment Offices in Orlando
If you have recently been laid off or fired from your job, you will need help in your transition to a new one. You can find the resources you need at an unemployment office. The locations of the unemployment offices in Orlando are as follows:
- CareerSource Central Florida, 609 North Powers Drive Orlando, FL
- East Orange County Workforce Central Florida, c
- JobVantage, 1563 Florida Mall Avenue Orlando, FL
When You Need An Attorney
You may be reticent to take legal action against a company that has underpaid you or in which you experienced sexual harassment or discrimination. However, it is possible to get justice. And justice in most such cases means compensation for the suffering you have endured.
If you have been injured while at work you may be eligible for damages under workers compensation laws. You may require an attorney to help you better understand these laws and file a claim.
If you have filed a claim for unpaid wages and your employer has not responded to your claim or refused to settle it, then you may want to get a lawyer involved. If you were dismissed from your job for reporting sexual harassment or discrimination or you were forced to leave because of the mental anguish of being mistreated, then you have a case to make.
Hiring a lawyer who specializes in this area of law can help you build a case against your former employer. You need not deal with the humiliation and material deprivation of being unfairly forced out of your job. It is possible to hold your employer accountable for the wrong that they have done you.