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; and 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. The new ordinance became effective on February 28, 2010, governed by the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Amendment and Charter, including among others, Sections 1.01 and 2.02 A and Chapter 22 of the Code of Miami-Dade County.
Filing a Wage Theft Complaint
A Wage Theft claim intake form must be completed for review to determine eligibility. Forms are available here or at the Consumer Protection Mediation Center located at 140 W Flagler Street, 9th Floor; Miami, Florida 33128. See the Wage Theft Program Frequently Asked Questions for eligibility criteria.
If your claim meets the criteria, submit the intake form and supporting documentation to Wage Theft Unit at the address noted above. Staff will contact you to set up an appointment to further discuss your specific case. Our staff will review the complaint on your scheduled appointment date, and attempt to contact and notify your employer that a complaint has been filed (If you have been at least 14 days without pay). At this time, the employer is also given the opportunity to agree or disagree by submitting supporting documentation or commit to making the claimed wages payment through a conciliatory process within a timely period that should not exceed 30 days.
If a settlement between you and the employer cannot be reached, 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 Small Business Development is undeliverable.
Wage Theft Claim Form
Download the Wage Theft Claim form below. Once completed, please call 305-375-3146 for an appointment to submit the form and have your claim processed.
Administrative Hearing Process
If the employer does not respond within the 21 days and Small Business Development 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. (Upon request by either party, a one-time continuance of the case may be granted and scheduled for the next calendared administrative hearing.)
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 (3x) 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.
Please note: The County cannot provide recommendations or referrals to private counsel or provide any legal advice.
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