A business owner in Boca Raton asked: I heard that the wage and hour laws do not apply to my employees because we have a small company, is this correct?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a complicated law and many South Florida employers are confused by it. One misunderstanding that employers have is that a manager will tell his/her employees that the company is not big enough to be covered under the wage and hour laws. Another misunderstanding is when an employer in Florida says that the wage and hour laws only apply to public entities and not small companies.
An employer is defined as any person who directly or indirectly, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours or working conditions of any person. As you can see from this definition, the definition of employer is broad. An employer can be as large as a multi-national company with thousands of employees, or as small as one person hiring an assistant out of his home. If you are unsure as to whether the FLSA applies to your organization, contact our firm for a free consultation. David Miklas has years of South Florida experience with the FLSA, and this is important because the federal courts in the Southern District of Florida have lead the country in this specialized type of employment law litigation.
The issue of whether a Florida employer is covered by the FLSA needs to be addressed in two parts. The first consideration is whether the employer is a covered enterprise. If yes, all of the employer's employees are presumed to be covered by the FLSA. If not, some (and perhaps, all) of the employer's employees may still be subject to the FLSA under individual coverage.
A. Enterprise Coverage
A company in Florida is subject to enterprise coverage if it has annual dollar volume of sales or receipts in the amount of $500,000 or more and at least two employees who are engaged in commerce or the handling, selling, or otherwise working on goods or materials that have been moved in or produced for commerce by any person. Hospitals, schools, all Federal and local government agencies are also subject to enterprise coverage.
B. Individual Coverage
The FLSA applies to many Florida employees on an individual basis notwithstanding that they do not work for a covered enterprise. Employees in Florida are subject to "individual coverage" if they are “individually engaged in handling or producing goods for interstate commerce.” This term is applied broadly, and has been extended to employees who regularly utilize the “instrumentalities” of interstate commerce, such as telephone lines, to perform their tasks.
There are several categories of workers who, notwithstanding that they may work for covered enterprises, are not deemed to be "employees" covered by the FLSA. Some examples are:
The Law Office of David Miklas is happy to discuss with you the requirements of the FLSA and the tests that are used when the Department of Labor investigates. The requirements imposed on Florida employers under the FLSA impact the employer when this type of case is litigated in Florida courts, regardless of whether those courts or in state or federal courts. Not all employment lawyers are even licensed to practice in federal court and that would obviously impose a hardship on the employer if its lawyer cannot handle the case if it is brought in federal court. David Miklas has litigated for years throughout Florida's state and federal courts.