Legal Aid solution for wage recovery
The Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LASBC) is clearly the best solution to assist employees in recovering unpaid wages. Just look at the success of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County in helping employees jilted by unscrupulous employers.
Palm Beach’s wage recovery machine has taken in an average of $2,082 in lost wages per worker through a holistic approach simply focusing on the solution—taking cases, working them and recovering money using current law. Executive Director Bob Bertisch issued a report showing $114,511.14 has been collected thus far for 55 employees—all without passing a duplicative ordinance.
Similary, Broward Legal Aid Executive Director Tony Karrat does a phenomenal job with his team helping thousands of individuals with little or no fanfare. His organization is ready and willing to assist in the wage recovery process with the appropriate support.
However, some Broward County commissioners seem dead set on passing an ordinance mirroring state and federal laws that have been on the books for over 70 years when all they need to do is look in their own back yard for the solution.
Through a combination of county funding, pro bono services, education, and dedicated Legal Aid staff, jilted employees attempting to get paid for their work can access LASBC to advocate for them free of charge. What is even better is that Legal Aid can address other grievances at the same time.
Unfortunately, some commissioners feel it necessary to add unnecessary laws and appropriate a minimum of $175,000 to hire more employees for a duplicative program despite LASBC’s proven track record of success.
Some commissioners also maintain that another law will make it easier to recover wages. In fact, Bertisch and his supervising attorney, John Foley, indicate the contrary and they have all the laws they need to recover wages for clients.
County Attorney Joni Armstrong Coffey echoed those sentiments as she outlined for commissioners the answer in a memorandum dated October 18, 2012, stating, “between Fair Labor Standards, the Florida Minimum Wage Act, and a breach of contract claim, all employees have the ability to raise claims that cover all of their unpaid wages.”
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, along with many other organizations, has worked hard to find solutions and build consensus for wage recovery in a relatively short period of time. We maintain that education is critical to reduce the number of wage claims coupled with an increased legal aid effort.
We all know we don’t write rules for law abiding citizens and businesses. There will always be employers trying to skirt the law. For wage culprits, Legal Aid Service of Broward County is the solution for employees to get relief under ample current law.
It’s up to Broward Commissioners to recognize duplication makes no sense while support for LASBC is the solution.
Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved, Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, Inc.