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Wage Theft Q & A

What is Wage Theft?
"Wage theft" refers to the nonpayment or underpayment of wages. Wage theft occurs in situations where workers do not receive minimum wage or overtime wages; when employers cheat workers out of hours; force workers to work off the clock; fail to pay workers their final paycheck; misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wage and overtime; or make impermissible deductions from their worker’s paychecks. 

All workers have a legal right to the wages they have earned.
Pursuant to Palm Beach County Resolution R-2012-1857, the Legal Aid Society is working to settle wage disputes between employees and employers in Palm Beach County. We are working with the Department of Labor to address egregious cases of wage theft and with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office to address cases involving intimidation and threats against workers making claims.

Do you have a Wage Dispute?
Wage disputes typically occur in employment relationships where employees are paid hourly, by daily or weekly salary or by project. Disputes are prevalent in many of the low-wage service industries that make up the backbone of the South Florida economy, such as plant nurseries, hotels, restaurants, day labor, domestic work, and the retail industry. When employers get away with wage theft, it creates an unfair advantage over honest competitors and negatively impacts working standards for all employees in the community.

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

I haven’t worked for this employer for a while. How long do I have to file a complaint?

The federal statute has a two-year statute of limitations (three years for willful violations) and the state statute has a four-year statute of limitations (five years for willful violations). Any part of the claim which is past the statute of limitations will be uncollectable. Therefore, if you have been unpaid or underpaid, contact the Legal Aid Society as soon as possible.

Are services available in languages other than English?

If interpretive services are needed, we encourage claimants to call the Hotline so we are able to schedule an  interpreter to assist with translation. We also have a language interpretive service available for translation assistance in 200 other languages. If other reasonable accommodations are required, please call 561.822.9768.   

My friend does not have legal status, can she still bring a claim?

The Wage Dispute Project will represent any eligible employee in Palm Beach County regardless of immigration status.

Services the Legal Aid Society’s Wage Dispute Project Provides

Call (561) 655-8944 Ext. 358 if you are an employee who may have a wage dispute. We will schedule an appointment to meet and obtain the necessary information to determine whether you have a valid wage dispute and how much you may be owed. The following information will assist us in pursuing your claim for unpaid or underpaid wages.

  • Your name, address and phone number
  • The name of the employer where you worked
  • Address of the employer and the address where you worked
  • Employer’s phone number
  • Supervisor, manager or owner’s name
  • The type of work you did
  • How and when you were paid
  • How much money you are owed
  • Any additional information such as: copies of pay stubs, personal records of hours worked, or other information about your employer’s pay practices

Legal Aid Society services are free and confidential. Please call the Hotline in order to determine whether you are eligible for our services. We are here to help all employees of Palm Beach County, regardless of immigration status.

In cases where the Legal Aid Society is unable to assist you directly, every effort will be made to refer you to the appropriate agency, organization or private attorney for assistance with your claim for wages.

To download a copy of Legal Aid's Wage Theft brochure in English, click here.

To download a copy of Legal Aid's Wage Theft brochure in Spanish, click here.

To download a copy of Legal Aid's Wage Theft brochure in Haitian Creole, click here.