What is the Average Settlement For Unpaid Wages in Florida?

Employers who fail to pay employees the minimum wage or overtime premiums are committing a serious offense. Under federal and Florida labor laws, employees are entitled to these wage and hour benefits.

Although Florida has no overtime laws, it follows federal law, requiring non-exempt workers to receive 1.5 times their regular pay rate for all overtime hours. The FLSA also allows employees to recover liquidated damages for their unpaid wages claims.

What is the Average Settlement For Unpaid Wages in Florida?

Critical Factors Affecting Your Unpaid Wages Settlement

Whether you’re owed minimum wage or overtime, it’s unfair and illegal for an employer to withhold the compensation that rightfully belongs to you.

Federal and state laws protect employees from such violations, ensuring they get paid in full and on time. Employers breaking these laws can be held accountable through claims or court.

To navigate these waters, an experienced Florida unpaid wages lawyer can be your best ally. They will review the specifics of your case and help you understand what compensation you might be entitled to.

The value of an unpaid wages claim can vary significantly, but here are some key factors that could influence your settlement:

  • The Total Unpaid Wages: The more you are owed, the higher the potential settlement.
  • Duration of the Unpaid Wages: Longer periods of unpaid wages can lead to higher settlements.
  • Evidence of Willful Violation: Your case could be more substantial if your employer knowingly violated wage laws.
  • Company Size and Financial Health: Larger companies or those in good financial standing may settle for higher amounts to resolve the issue quickly.
  • Liquidated Damages: This is compensation for the delay in receiving your owed wages and can double the amount owed under federal and sometimes state law.
  • Legal Precedents: Similar cases and their outcomes can influence the settlement amount.
  • Negotiation Skills: Your attorney’s experience and negotiation skills can significantly impact the settlement.

Unpaid wage claims in Florida typically settle for between $1,000 and $50,000 per employee, but each case is unique.

Analyzing Your Wage-Related Losses

Florida employees lose an estimated $8 billion annually in unpaid wages. This staggering figure highlights the widespread impact of wage violations, which affects many who can least afford to lose their hard-earned money.

When facing wage violations, employees can recover damages for:

  • Lost Wages: Compensation for the hours worked but not paid.
  • Liquidated Damages: These are awarded to penalize the employer and compensate the employee further, and they are equal to the amount of unpaid wages.
  • Attorneys’ Fees: If the court rules in favor of the employee, the employer may be required to cover the legal costs incurred by the employee.
  • Punitive Damages: Although less common, these may be awarded in cases of willful violations by the employer to serve as a deterrent against future violations.

Employers must pay at least the minimum wage for each hour worked. Failure to do so violates federal and state labor laws. It can lead to significant financial repercussions for the business.

The calculation of damages will consider the following:

  • Any additional state law violations that may increase the compensation owed.
  • The duration and extent of the wage violations.
  • The number of affected employees in cases of class action lawsuits.

What is the Average Settlement For Unpaid Wages in Florida?The Role of Penalties in Your Settlement

Wage theft in Florida is alarmingly common, with many employers infringing on workers’ rights to their hard-earned wages.

These violations often contravene the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Florida state laws, offering grounds for legal action against the offending employers. Here’s a simplified approach to understanding the impact of penalties in your settlement:

  • Understanding Penalties: Penalties serve as a deterrent against wage violations, compelling employers to adhere to wage and hour laws.
  • Impact on Settlements: Including penalties in your settlement can significantly increase the total amount you may receive, compensating for the wrongdoing and deterring future violations.

Checklist for Identifying Potential Penalties:

  • Verify the Violation: Confirm that your case clearly violates the FLSA or Florida state laws.
  • Document the Offense: Keep detailed records of unpaid wages, hours worked, and any communication with your employer regarding payment issues.
  • Seek Legal Counsel: Consult with an employment attorney to understand the penalties applicable to your case.
  • Consider Emotional and Financial Impact: Be prepared to discuss the direct financial losses and the emotional and personal impact of the wage theft.
  • Explore Litigation and Settlement Options: With your attorney, discuss whether pursuing a lawsuit or settling out of court promises a better outcome, factoring in penalties.

Legal Funding as A Bridge to Your Settlement

Facing unpaid wages can put you in a tight financial spot. Legal funding offers a lifeline, helping you manage your finances while your attorney fights for the compensation you deserve.

Here’s how it can help:

  • Immediate Financial Relief: Legal funding provides immediate access to cash, which you can use to cover living expenses, medical bills, or other urgent costs.
  • Non-Recourse Funding: If you don’t win your case, you don’t owe the funding company anything, so there’s no risk to you.
  • Levels the Playing Field: Pre-settlement funding can give you the financial stability to wait for a fair settlement rather than settling early for a lower amount due to financial pressure.


  1. Not a Loan: Legal funding is not considered a loan since it is non-recourse and only repayable if you win your case.
  2. Eligibility: Your case’s strength and potential settlement amount will determine your eligibility for legal funding.
  3. Choose Wisely: It’s crucial to select a reputable legal funding company. Look for transparency in terms and fees and avoid those that pressure you into taking more funding than necessary.


  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your immediate financial needs are covered can provide significant peace of mind during litigation.
  • Empowerment: When financial pressures are eased, you’re in a better position to make decisions in your best interest rather than out of financial desperation.

Next Steps

  1. Consult Your Attorney: Discuss it with your lawyer before applying for legal funding. They can provide advice and may recommend reputable funding companies.
  2. Research: Look into different legal funding companies, comparing their terms, rates, and reviews.
  3. Application: Once you’ve chosen a company, the application process typically involves the funding company reviewing your case details in collaboration with your attorney.

Steps to Filing a Lawsuit for Unpaid Wages

If you believe your employer has wrongfully withheld wages, taking legal action might be necessary to recover what you’re owed.

Here’s a simplified guide to help you navigate through the process:

  1. Consult an Experienced Wage and Hour Lawyer: Your first move should be to discuss your situation with a legal expert specializing in Florida’s wage and hour disputes. They can provide invaluable advice on your case’s merit and outline your next steps.
  2. Calculate Your Unpaid Wages: With your attorney’s help, tally up the total wages you believe you are owed. It includes unpaid overtime, minimum wages, and any other wage violations. Your lawyer will ensure all calculations are accurate and reflect the full extent of your losses.
  3. Determine the Appropriate Legal Avenue: Decide whether to file your claim through the Florida Department of Labor or proceed directly to court. Your attorney will guide you on the best course of action based on the specifics of your case.
  4. Prepare Your Documentation: Gather all necessary documentation, including pay stubs, time records, employment contracts, and any communications regarding your wage dispute. These documents will support your claim.
  5. File a Written Notice to Your Employer (If Required): For certain claims, especially those seeking liquidated damages, you may need to notify your employer in writing about your intent to sue. This will allow them to resolve the issue out of court.
  6. Submit Your Claim or Lawsuit: Depending on your chosen path, file your claim with the Department of Labor or initiate a lawsuit in court with your attorney’s assistance. Ensure all paperwork is filled out correctly and submitted within the applicable deadlines.
  7. Pursue Settlement or Prepare for Trial: Many wage and hour cases settle before reaching trial. Be open to settlement discussions, but prepare with your lawyer to take your case to trial, if necessary, to recover the wages you’re owed.

Calculating Your Unpaid Wages Claim

If you suspect your employer has not paid you the minimum wage or the owed overtime, it’s crucial to understand how to calculate your potential unpaid wages claim. An accurate calculation can serve as a strong foundation for your legal case.

Here’s a straightforward approach:

1. Determine the Total Hours Unpaid

  • Regular Hours: List the number of regular hours worked but not compensated.
  • Overtime Hours: Tally any overtime hours worked. Remember, overtime is any hour worked over 40 in a workweek in Florida.

2. Calculate the Wage Owed

  • Regular Wage Owed: Multiply your hourly wage by the number of unpaid regular hours.
  • Overtime Wage Owed: For overtime hours, multiply your hourly rate by 1.5 and then by the number of unpaid overtime hours.

The Formula for Total Unpaid Wages:

Total Unpaid Wages = (Regular Hourly Rate × Unpaid Regular Hours) + (Regular Hourly Rate × 1.5 × Unpaid Overtime Hours)

3. Consider Liquidated Damages

Under the FLSA, you may also be entitled to liquidated damages. Liquidated damages often equal to unpaid wages, doubling your potential compensation.

4. Factor in Additional Penalties

If applicable, your claim may include additional penalties imposed on your employer for failing to pay wages as required by law. These penalties vary based on the specifics of your case and the laws violated.



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