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ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 16370
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I work for a (Mexican) real estate investment company but

Customer Question

Hi. I work for a (Mexican) real estate investment company but the owner's daughter has a shoe company and is trying to start a business here in the states. Well my boss is making me help her and basically work for her shoe company in addition to the work that I do for the company that I'm actually employed by, and with no additional pay. I have expressed numerous times that I am not in agreeance with this, but the last time he basically told me that if I don't want to do it then they will tell him to hire someone else. I feel like I'm beeing taken advantage of and I don't know what to do about it. Please help. Thank you.
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Florida
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: Full time
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: That is all
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Is it illegal for my boss to make me work for a different company with no additional pay and considering that I do not agree with it? Also, sometimes it requires me to carry heavy boxes full of shoes. I am afraid that one day I will throw out my back or get hurt while doing a job that is for a company that I don't even work for and doing things that are completely outside of my job description. I'd assume that filling shoe orders does not fall under the "and other duties as assigned" clause because I do not work for a shoe company! I am supposed to be an office admin at a real estate investment company. But my boss is here from Mexico on a work visa so I think he is just not familiar with the Florida labor laws and doesn't care to follow them. I hope that there is a solution for this and there is a law that will protect me as an employee against this type of thing.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Also just to clarify, the company is owned by a Mexican family but it is not a Mexican company. It was formed in Delaware and is operated here in Florida.
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. First of all, you need to understand that Florida is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion.

Ultimately you're still under the direction and employ of your (real estate) employer that is directing you to do work for the shoe company. IF you were to be paid extra, it would be through the real estate company, not the shoe company.

Now whether or not you're to be paid depends upon your compensation with the real estate company (that is, whether you're paid hourly, salaried, or commission). If you're paid hourly, you need to be paid for any time that you're working. That means if you're working at the shoe company, you should also be paid. You would need to be paid hourly up to 40 hours a week, then 1.5x your hourly rate.

If you're paid salary, AND the work that you do for the shoe company is 49% or less of your total work, then I'm afraid to say that you wouldn't have a claim. There is a 51% rule, in that if you perform at least 51% of your work in the exempt (salary) job duties, even though you perform some job duties that would generally require hourly pay, you're still exempt. It's only where at least 50% of your job duties are not in the exempt salaried role that you would have a claim to the additional time.

As far as commission goes, so long as you're making minimum wage for the time that you actually work (both at real estate and shoe place), and minimum wage x 1.5 for the hours that you work over 40, that's going to be sufficient.

Now if you still think that you have a claim for unpaid wages, you could have a case. If your employer failed to pay you all of the wages you are owed, you can file a lawsuit in court. Unlike most states, Florida does not have a state agency that receives employee complaints and enforces state wage and hour laws. If you want to enforce your wage and hour rights, you may either file a complaint with the federal Department of Labor or file a lawsuit.

If you plan to move forward with a lawsuit or complaint with the federal Department of Labor, talk to an experienced Florida wage and hour lawyer about representing you. A lawyer can file a wage claim for you or file a lawsuit in court. If you win, your attorney can ask the judge to make your employer pay your attorneys’ fees. Now you can also file a small claim for it: Send a demand letter demanding payment within 30 days, otherwise you will pursue legal action against him, seeking that amount plus any additional damages as allowed by law. Send this letter certified, return receipt requested, as well as a copy sent regular mail. Keep a copy for yourself, as well as the return receipt number so that you can show the court that you made a demand for the unpaid wages. If they still don't pay, Do a search on the web for your county and "small claims court." You should find either a website or phone number to the small claims clerk. Ask them what you need to do to bring such a lawsuit. The small claims clerk will give you guidance on how to file this suit and how to get the other party served with notice. You will receive a hearing date, at which you should present your evidence and ask for a judgment for the amount that you should be paid.

Under Florida law, you have four years to file a lawsuit alleging that your employer failed to pay you the minimum wage. If your employer’s violation of the law was willful, you have five years to file your claim. Under federal law, you have two years from the date your employer violated the FLSA (or the date you learned of the violation) to sue or file an administrative claim. If your employer violated the law willfully, you have three years. An attorney can also tell you if you have any other claims, such as a breach of contract claim, to which different time limits typically apply.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 10 months ago.

I see that you have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 10 months ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?