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Can I collect unemployment because of unpaid wages in Florida?

by Steve
(Central Florida)

For not showing up for work in protest of repeatedly not being paid in a reasonable or timely fashion? Although my boss already holds one week pay he has repeatedly come on Friday with no checks and stories of his financial troubles instead. Promises of maybe Tuesday wind up being Friday leaving us flat broke until he offers a cash deal instead of the normal payroll. Often checks bounce or we are told not to cash them until a certain day.

I have stopped showing up until I was finally paid on several other occasions but always went right back to work. I have starved, hocked my jewelry and borrowed from everyone I know to compensate while our boss basically forces us to go without and bankroll his jobs with our money. Still when I say I have no food and can;t pay my bills he says can't you borrow from so and so. Two weeks ago he even was so generous as to leave me some can goods when I expressed my situation yet again due to his lack of paying.

He promised me a raise at Christmas and said it was coming this past Monday, February 16 2009. He also promised we would finally be paid this past Tuesday but never called or showed up after working the previous 3 days with me at the job site. Can he legally keep doing this? I did not call or show up the following day, Wednesday as I had told co workers I wouldn't if I was not paid. I called my boss later that evening where we argued for 10 minutes and I stated I have not quit but need to be paid. He is fully aware that I don't even have bar soap, my utilities are in shut off, I face possible eviction etc..He showed up at my home a short time later demanding the Company keys to the shop and all the vehicles and handed me two checks. He insisted I had quit even though I stated "You can't even look me straight in the eyes when
I say I'm ready to work tommorrow." I even showed up at the shop the following morning and when he didn't answer his cell phone stated I was here and what did he want me to do?

Obviously this snake of an Electrical Contractor is going to insist that I quit. I have seen him mistreat and abuse no less than 25 other electricians and was one of the only survivors kept with his continual false promises because I am such a good, reliable, and responsible worker. I finally see him for what he really is as I've watched him buy up things and hire new employee after another while we go unpaid. Instead of a Christmas bonus I got a card that promised of compensation in the near future for my dedication and hanging in there through all this. By then I was already suspicious of his empty promises and began to think this 2 year old Electrical Company will probably go to hell in a handbasket long before I'm ever rewarded.

Who should win here? I mean is there any reason here I should not be able to receive unemployment?


I would say you had better reason to quit and get unemployment than being fired for protesting not being paid by not coming into work. If your boss is saying you might be the best way to go because unpaid wages would be good cause to quit. Protesting by not showing up to work raises the issue of insubordination. The path of least resistance...if you know what I mean. Hope the guy paid his unemployment tax...or he could be in BIG trouble.

I did a search of the Florida statutes for "unpaid wages and here's the results. (Be patient, it's slooow) You have options in addition to unemployment. I hope you've been keeping track of everything!

I'd sure like to provide you a link to a Florida website where you could just fill out a complaint for the unpaid wages, but I can't find one...their site navigation is worse than mine!!

I opted for this because...they probably know

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