Florida Employment Laws

By Adele Nicholas
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Florida labor and employment laws protect workers from unfair or abusive employment practices. Among other things, Florida law makes rules for how workers are paid, bans certain types of discrimination, and requires employers to provide safe work environments. Most of the state's workplace laws are set forth in Title XXXI of the Florida Code. Florida employers also are subject to federal laws including the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Wages

As of October 2014, The minimum hourly wage for Florida workers is $8.05 per hour, higher than the national standard of $7.25. Florida adjusts its minimum wage each year on September 30 to keep up with inflation. If an employer fails to pay minimum wages, an employee can file a civil lawsuit to recover all wrongfully withheld wages. In such a lawsuit, the judge can double the amount of back wages for a worker who successfully proves that the employer willfully violated the law. Florida law also protects workers from retaliation for filing a complaint about unpaid wages or assisting another employer with a claim.

Work Hours

Under Florida law, 10 hours of work is considered a full day for anyone hired to perform labor on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. This means that if the worker and employer have agreed on a certain per-day rate of pay, the employer must pay the worker additional wages for any hours worked beyond 10 in one day. Workers hired on an hourly basis are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law that mandates that anyone who works more than 40 hours in a seven-day period is entitled to earn overtime pay equal to one-and-a-half times his regular hourly wage for all hours worked over 40 in a week.

Discrimination and Unfair Treatment

Most Florida workers are considered "at will" employees, meaning that an employer can fire them with or without cause and don't have to provide advance notice. However, under Chapter 760 of the Florida statutes, discrimination in hiring, firing, discipline or work conditions on the basis of a worker's race, sex, color, national origin, handicap, marital status or religion is illegal. It also is against the law for an employer to retaliate against an employee because she filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations alleging employment discrimination.

Workplace Safety

Florida also requires employers to provide workers with safe and reasonably comfortable working conditions. For example, Florida employers are required to provide chairs for the use of employees in stores, for when they are not engaged in active work that requires them to be on their feet. Florida also has a workers' compensation law that requires employers to pay medical costs and disability benefits for workers injured in accidents while on the job. All workplaces also are required to comply with the standards set forth in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which sets rules for keeping workplaces free of known hazards to employee health and safety.

About the Author

Adele Nicholas is a writer in Chicago. Since 2003, she has been a contributor to publications including Corporate Legal Times, ChicagoMag.com and InsideCounsel magazine. Nicholas holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northwestern University and a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School.