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  1. #1
    uncopyrightable is offline Junior Member
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    Employer trying to cheat me out of wages owed (lengthy, detailed) in Florida

    What is the name of your state? Florida

    I worked for a land surveying company (will refer to as LSC) in Ft. Myers, FL for 2 years (ended in June of 2007). The last year of employment there, the company was bought out by another company I will refer to as COMPANY2, based out of Ohio. COMPANY2 ran the business into the ground, and in the end could not honor their paychecks. The proprietor of LSC won the business back in a lawsuit. I signed (and had notarized) an affidavit for this lawsuit that states the money I’m owed by my former employer. I have a copy of this affidavit in my possession.

    LSC promised to pay me these wages owed, and did pay the larger portion of wages by December, 2007. I have this paystub, and some email correspondence to prove this promise to pay. Throughout the second half of 2007 and the first 3 months of 2008, LSC used the promise to pay me wages owed to get me to do some freelance work for LSC at a freelance pay-rate agreed to before work was done (as a freelance AutoCAD Technician, I created finished surveys for LSC to deliver product to the client). I estimated the value of the jobs I completed for LSC, after my employment ended, to be between $8000 and $15000. LSC led me on with the promise of “if you do this job, I’ll have the money to pay you”. Due to the good relationship we had, I waited with patience for this money to come.

    On 4/25/08 I was told by LSC to come down to their office because he had what he owed me. I took time off from my current place of employment to go to the LSC office, only to receive a copy of an email I sent in September of 2007, to LSC, explaining the wages I’m owed. This copy of my email had, at the bottom, a list of discrepancies that LSC believes are accurate in the amount of money owed to me. LSC claims the hours I claim to have worked are wrong, and that I owe LSC money from the check I was given back in December. LSC claims that since projects worked on after my employment ended were started before my employment ended, my rate of pay for those projects should be the same as when I was employed and not the agreed upon freelance rate. On top of that, LSC claims I should be financially responsible for an undocumented minor car accident on a jobsite that happened in June of 2007, claiming that the functionality of the truck’s tailgate is diminished (11 months after the alleged undocumented incident) and that the cost to repair it will be deducted from my wages.

    The end result was: I claim LSC owes me around $1000, LSC claims I owe them around $500 . None of these discrepancies were ever mentioned before 4/25/08. I believe them to be fraudulent claims to cheat me out of my wages. I have spoken with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation and have been told that I have 2 years from the date of infraction to sue my former employer for amounts owed, equal amounts in damages, plus court costs and attorney’s fees. I have copies of all documents mentioned in this email, as well as a written response I gave to LSC on 5/1/08. I’ve sent an email complaint to the department of labor, but they have not responded.

    Should I pay the money for an attorney? Or should I represent myself in small claims court? If so, how much should I ask for in damages? I also don’t want to be paid $20 a month for years to collect this; can I demand it be paid in full immediately?

    What is the name of your state? FL
    What is the name of your state? FL
    Last edited by uncopyrightable; 05-02-2008 at 02:44 PM. Reason: typo
  2. #2
    Hot Topic is offline Senior Member
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    If you hire a lawyer, you're going to have to pay him or her considerably more than $1,000. Take everything you have in writing that proves your claims about what you were to be paid to small claims court.

    Give yourself a smack for believing the company when they told you they'd pay you if you did this, that or the other thing for them. You "estimated" the value of doing certain things. You should have cold, hard facts, not estimates.

    Be sure when you go to court that you compress the information you need to present. Don't bother with verbal agreements. Unless you have a witness willing to come to court to be cross examined, you have nothing.
  3. #3
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    Have you considered checking with a STATE department of labor for whichever state applies here to see if they would negotiate on your behalf to collect these monies? It's odd that the US Department of Labor did not threaten this employer with sanctions or penalties and instead is asking you to bear the cost of suing which seems like an unusual way to go about getting results. You also need to consult with an employment law/labor law attorney before you decide to sue to figure out all your options.
  4. #4
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dandy Don View Post
    Have you considered checking with a STATE department of labor for whichever state applies here to see if they would negotiate on your behalf to collect these monies? It's odd that the US Department of Labor did not threaten this employer with sanctions or penalties and instead is asking you to bear the cost of suing which seems like an unusual way to go about getting results. You also need to consult with an employment law/labor law attorney before you decide to sue to figure out all your options.
    Wow, all of this for $1k? A bit overkill, don't ya think Don?

    Have you checked into the fact Florida offers no help in recovering lost wages. It is a self help state.

    The recommended action is the proper action to fight for your wages in Florida.







    The proprietor of LSC won the business back in a lawsuit.
    uncopyrightable needs to look into the suit and see what LSC won in the suit. It could be very possible LSC did not get strapped with the debts from the other company.

    Toss in the independant contractor status for the additional work and you have a mess.

    recommended action:
    small claims court. Bring all the documentation you have and present the best case you can. Hope for the best.
  5. #5
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    I wasn't aware that Florida was a self-help state. Why on earth would a government labor agency exist if one of the reasons is not to help people who have been defrauded by employers? Gee-whiz!! I was thinking that he may have gotten better results by sending a certified letter instead of an e-mail, but it looks like they just don't care.

    Yes, a small claims court action is the best way to proceed.

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