The Consumer Mediation Center handles wage disputes that meet required criteria in cases of underpayment and non-payment of wages earned by employees working in Miami-Dade County.
The law applies to all private employers with employees who are performing work within Miami-Dade County, without any regard to the physical location of the employer.
Submit a Wage Theft Complaint Affidavit form by email, mail or fax. Include copies of any documents that show you were an employee of the business and support your claim, such as paycheck stubs, W-2's, cancelled paychecks, timesheets, time cards/slips and employment agreements/contracts.
Legally, your claim must meet the following minimum criteria:
Work must have been performed in Miami-Dade County
Amount owed must exceed $60 and be no more than $15,000
Individual must be or have been an employee of the business
Work must have been performed within the previous 12 months. For example, if the last day you worked was April 12, 2017, you have until April 12, 2018 to submit a wage theft complaint. However, the start of the nonpayment period can be greater than 12 months, as long as it’s within the state of Florida's two year statute of limitations
For example: (Scenario A) John worked for the ABC store from Feb 1, 2015 to April 12, 2018, and nonpayment began on May 8, 2017. John can file a claim because his last day worked before he quit was been less than one year since nonpayment began
(Scenario B) John worked for the ABC store from Feb 1, 2015 to April 12, 2018, and nonpayment began on January 15, 2017. John quit his job on Feb 20, 2017. John cannot file a wage theft claim with this office because it has been more than one year since the last day he worked. John may have other options to retrieve his wages, but he will not qualify for assistance through this specific program
Once a complaint affidavit has been received, a complaint file is opened and an investigative analyst is assigned.
If the complaint criteria is met, a formal notification of the complaint, including a copy of the Wage Theft Complaint Affidavit, will be sent to the respondent employer via certified mail. The employer must respond to the claim within 20 days of receipt.
If the formal notification sent via certified mail is undeliverable or unclaimed, the case cannot proceed. You can contact your local police department or obtain a certified process server to attempt delivery (also known as "service of process") of the formal notification and copy of the complaint affidavit.
In most instances, once the formal notification is received by the business, they will contact the analyst (also a certified mediator) assigned to the case to discuss our process and the content of the complaint. At this point our process requires that we encourage both parties to attempt to conciliate a resolution to the claim
The business may request additional time to respond to the allegations in the complaint.
Conciliation is an alternative out-of-court dispute resolution option. It allows parties to decide how to proceed, can be done over the telephone, through the exchange of documents electronically or a face-to-face session can be scheduled at the Consumer Protection Mediation Center. Parties are able to resolve their dispute and they may decide to enter into a conciliation agreement to formalize the terms. In the event that no agreement is achieved, nothing said or done in the course of conciliation may be used in any subsequent proceeding under the Ordinance without the parties' consent.
If your dispute cannot be resolved through conciliation, or the employer does not respond within the 21 days and the Consumer Mediation Center has confirmation of receipt of the wage theft notice, either through U.S. Postal Service or process server, we will schedule the case for the next available hearing date.
The hearing is the only opportunity for both the claimant and respondent to present their case before the Hearing Examiner. You must bring with you to the hearing any and all evidence showing you were an employee of the business and supporting your claim, including, but not limited to, documents (including text messages, emails, and photographs) and witnesses. 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 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 Miami-Dade County–CP.
Final Orders will be sent to all parties. A prevailing claimant may record a final order or seek post-judgment relief through the Miami-Dade Civil Court System. At this stage, the County's administrative responsibilities have been fulfilled and the file will be closed.
The following guidelines will help navigate you through a 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 by the Office of Consumer Protection, in writing, prior to the date of the hearing
You are responsible for presenting your case. Miami-Dade County's role in the wage theft process is ministerial. 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 or a non-lawyer advocate at the administrative hearing
Business owners who do not attend, but wish to be represented by a non-attorney employee, must provide a signed, notarized power of attorney authorizing the designated employee to represent the employer 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 must prove their case by providing evidence. If the employee provides enough evidence, the burden now shifts to the employer to refuter the allegations made
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: demand letters requesting pay, paychecks, check stubs, payroll vouchers, written notarized statements, copies of work schedules, time sheets, W-2, screen captures of text messages, emails, and written statements
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 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.
Annual reports, based on the Miami-Dade County Code, list the appropriate wages and fringe benefits for laborers and mechanics for three trade categories: Building, Heavy and Highway. The reports can be used to determine the correct wages and benefits required on a contract.
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