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If my employer doesn't pay me on time in Florida is it possible to draw some unemployment?

by Yolanda
(Old Town, Fl. USA)

I work at Bulova ordnance technologies systems,LLC in Mayo florida. Last year we ended up layed off around the first of the year. The mth. of Nov. last year the company was slow getting us our money. When they did the checks bounced. This year we are not getting paid on friday as we are supposed to. We were told today(11-16-09)that we were not getting paid until thursday this week. That leaves me without gas money to make the 50 mile round trip to work.with no one else able to come to work from where I live. We realize there is no guarantee we will get paid this week, it has happened before. I realize there are other people out here in the same situation so for all of us here what can we do? If we have to quit or get fired because we can't come to work, can we still draw unemployment?

Florida Unpaid Wages and Unemployment.

Hi Yolanda,

If you do a search for "how do I collect unpaid wages in Florida" You'll notice that Florida does not have any laws which require "scheduled payment by and employer". This is a problem. You'll also notice a whole lot of attorney's advertising to help you collect unpaid wages .. never a good sign.

Another problem is that to collect unemployment - You must be at least partially unemployed.

Florida is what I consider to be one of the "gray" states. They have a website, but following their "link trails" is like following a bread crumb while lost in a forest .. and we all know what happened to Hansel and Gretel .. right?

Florida does not have a wage and hour division .. like most states do, where you can file a complaint against the employer to get paid. But if you do have a problem getting paid in Florida you might be able
to get some relief from one of the US DOL Wage and Hour Division Offices.

So let's move onto getting unemployment if you quit due to not getting paid. It's usually good cause .. IF you first make efforts to preserve the employment or if you go unpaid for an unreasonable amount of time .. but you're in Florida and you have no money to pay for gas.

Here's what I would do.

Go to the powers that be and tell them what your problem is (in writing, retaining a copy for your own records).

Ask for an advance of at least enough money to "buy gas" in lieu of a paycheck so you can get to work.

If they refuse, you wouldn't have any choice except to call in and when asked why .. tell them I am unable to come to work because I have no money for gas and when I asked you for an advance on the money you are late paying me .. you said no.

In the meantime you can file a complaint with the appropriate Florida US DOL wage and hour office.

Making these efforts, and documenting along the way provide you with the "proof" you need to show it was the employer's fault you quit (if need be) and if they fire you for not coming to work .. that it was without good cause because you made the effort required (asking for a gas advance) to get to work .. especially considering that it's a 50 mile round trip.

What do you think?

Oh, and by the way, I do believe that if you do have to hire an attorney in Florida to get wages owed to you there is a provision which allows the judgment to include your lawyer fees and three times the amount of the wages owed. Now we know why attorneys advertise for this:)

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Case Law
by: Mike

There is a case on record that is very close to this. I'm not sure how to post links, I will try but if it turns out wrong maybe Chris could fix it.This is a Pa case, but should get you started.

Warwick vs UCBR In short it says" Employer's continued failure to assure that Claimant was paid in a correct amount on his regular pay day constituted cause of a necessitous and compelling nature for him to voluntarily terminate his employment."

The difference between PA and Florida as far as state labor laws designed to actually help workers is in my opinion comparable to having electricity or not. Florida doesn't, they use the minimum protections afforded by federal laws. Which is actually the law that they use. I know that not being paid regularly and on time
can be good cause, but given that it was Florida and some of the crap they have been up to lately .. like telling people who have won their unemployment hearings they still need to wait until the appeal deadline passes to get paid ..

Missed commission
by: Anonymous

Hi, im missing my commission from my paycheck. I have told the site manager and doesnt try his best to get around to it. At this point its almost time to go home and still no answer. What do i do?

Well you sure as hell do not quit today, but you may want to go home and check out the FLSA at the USDOL before you make your next move.

I'm sure there's a link somewhere here on the site to both, but if you can't find them, try this page. I know I link to the USDOL there .. and it even has an unemployment decision which should explain why I would NEVER tell you to quit .. given what you told me.

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