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Wage Theft Program
The Wage Theft Ordinance applies to all private employers with employees who are performing work within the geographical boundaries of Miami-Dade County, without any regard to the physical location of the employer. Also, as with state and federal wage and hour laws, individuals may be liable under the ordinance if they were capable of exercising supervisory authority over the complaining employee and were responsible to some degree for the alleged violation.
The purpose of the ordinance includes: eliminating the underpayment or nonpayment of wages; eliminating unfair economic competition by "unscrupulous businesses," and relieving the public burden of subsidizing employees of "unscrupulous businesses."
Any employer who fails to pay any portion of wages due to an employee, according to the wage rate applicable to that employee, within a reasonable time from the date on which that employee performed the work for which those wages were compensation, shall be wage theft.
Such a violation shall entitle an employee, upon a finding by a hearing examiner appointed by Miami-Dade County or by a court of competent jurisdiction that an employer is found to have unlawfully failed to pay wages, to receive back wages in addition to liquidated damages from that employer.
The Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance prohibiting "Wage Theft" in the county, effective February 28, 2010, governed by the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Amendment and Charter, including among others, sections 1.01 and 2.02A and Chapter 22 of the Miami-Dade County Code.
Filing a Wage Theft Complaint
In order to process your case, complete the Wage Theft Affidavit. You may also request the form by calling the Consumer Protection Mediation Center at 786-469-2333.
Legally, your claim must meet the following minimum criteria:
- Work must have been performed in Miami-Dade County;
- Amount owed must exceed $60;
- Individual must be or have been an employee of the business; and
- Work must have been performed within the previous 12 months.
See the Wage Theft Program Frequently Asked Questions for further eligibility criteria.
If your claim meets the criteria, submit the Wage Theft Affidavit and include photocopies of all documents that show you were employed by this business, and any other documents that support your allegation such as check stubs, canceled checks and W2 forms. Sign and date the Wage Theft Affidavit and mail it to the address indicated on the top of the form. Incomplete applications will not be processed and will be returned for completion.
Once a completed affidavit has been received, the County will attempt to serve the employer notice of the complaint via certified mail. This notice allows the employer to respond to the claim within 21 days of receipt. You also have the option of retaining the services of a court-appointed process server to ensure delivery of notice, if certified mail sent by the Consumer Protection Mediation Center is undeliverable.
Administrative Hearing Process
If we are unable to resolve your dispute through the conciliatory process or the employer does not respond within the 21 days and the Consumer Protection Mediation Center has confirmation of receipt of the notice, either through U.S. Postal Service or process server, we will schedule the case for the next available hearing date.
At the time of the hearing, both the claimant and the employer will have the opportunity to present their cases. If the Hearing Officer determines that a wage violation has occurred, he or she may order the employer to pay liquidated damages to the claimant of up to three times the amount of wages claimed, as well as payment of administrative costs associated with conducting the hearing to the County payable to the Board of County Commissioners.
Final Orders will be sent to all parties. A prevailing claimant may record a final order or seek post-judgment release through the Miami-Dade Civil Court System. At this stage, the County’s administrative responsibilities at this point have been fulfilled and the file will be closed.
What to Expect at the Wage Theft Hearing
- Make sure you arrive on time to your hearing; if you are not present when your case is called your case will be dismissed if you are the employee, or will be heard without you if you are the employer. If neither party is present the case will be dismissed.
- A hearing date shall not be postponed or continued unless good cause is shown in a written request for continuance, received at the address listed above, in writing, prior to the date of the hearing.
- You are responsible for presenting your case. Miami-Dade County’s only role in the administrative hearing is to process the complaint. The County cannot present evidence, elicit testimony or assist you in proving your case in any way.
- You have the right to be represented by an attorney licensed by the State of Florida at the administrative hearing. NOTE: Business owners who do not attend, but wish to be represented by a non-attorney employee, must provide a signed, notarized power of attorney at the hearing, subject to the hearing examiner’s approval.
- The administrative hearing will be conducted in English. Therefore, if you need the services of a translator you must bring your own.
- The hearing will be conducted in a quasi-judicial manner and will be heard by a Hearing Examiner.
- The employee has the burden of proving his/her case by a preponderance of the evidence. If the employee meets this burden by providing the requisite amount of evidence, in the form of testimony or documentation, then the burden will shift to the employer to refute the allegations made.
- You must provide an explanation of the circumstances of the violation, including:
- the date or dates (month/day/year format) the alleged violation occurred
- the dollar amount of unpaid wages including how the wages were calculated:
- Hours worked each day (or part of day) multiplied by the employee’s hourly or daily Wage Rate
- For piece work, the number of pieces completed multiplied by the Wage Rate per piece.
- Bring copies, for the Hearing Examiner, of all evidence and documentation you plan to present at the hearing
- Examples of evidence and supporting documentation include, but are not limited to:
- a copy of any demand letter the Employee may have sent to the employer for payment of unpaid wage
- a copy of employee’s paycheck(s) (front and back)
- check stubs or payroll voucher
- a copy of any agreements that were entered into and signed by the employee and the employer
- a written, notarized statement, with name and address, from fellow employee(s) who could substantiate the complain
- a copy of employee’s work schedules, time sheets, or any other documentation verifying the number of hours/days worked or pieces complete
- a copy of the employee’s W-2 form from the Employe
- any records maintained by the employee of hours/days worked or pieces completed and wages paid
- if the claim involves a verbal agreement
- employee should provide a thorough written statement detailing the terms of the agreement
- Additionally you may bring any evidence or supporting documentation that you feel may assist the Hearing Examiner in reaching a decision
- You have the right to subpoena witnesses by submitting the completed subpoena form to the address above, for issuance by the Hearing Examiner, subject to the timelines and provisions set forth in Section 22-4 (3), of the Miami-Dade Code of Ordinances.
- All persons who testify as to facts will be placed under oath.
- Any and all witnesses you bring to testify on your behalf will be subject to cross-examination by the opposing party.
- At the end of the hearing the Hearing Examiner will determine if a wage theft violation has occurred. If there is a finding of wage theft he or she will order the employer to pay wage restitution to the employee in an amount equal to three times back wages.
- If the employer is found to have committed a wage theft then they are responsible for paying back wages (3 times), as well as actual administrative and processing costs to the Board of County Commissioners.
Please note: The County cannot provide recommendations or referrals to private counsel or provide any legal advice.
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