Florida Senate - 2013                          SENATOR AMENDMENT
       Bill No. CS for SB 1216
                                Barcode 481306                          
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       Senator Bradley moved the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Subsection (1) of section 34.01, Florida
    6  Statutes, is amended to read:
    7         34.01 Jurisdiction of county court.—
    8         (1) County courts shall have original jurisdiction:
    9         (a) In all misdemeanor cases not cognizable by the circuit
   10  courts.;
   11         (b) Of all violations of municipal and county ordinances.;
   12         (c) Of all actions at law in which the matter in
   13  controversy does not exceed the sum of $15,000, exclusive of
   14  interest, costs, and attorney’s fees, except those within the
   15  exclusive jurisdiction of the circuit courts.; and
   16         (d) Of disputes occurring in the homeowners’ associations
   17  as described in s. 720.311(2)(a), which shall be concurrent with
   18  jurisdiction of the circuit courts.
   19         (e) Of actions for the collection of compensation under s.
   20  448.115, notwithstanding the amount in controversy prescribed in
   21  paragraph (c).
   22         Section 2. Section 448.115, Florida Statutes, is created to
   23  read:
   24         448.115 Civil action for wage theft; notice; civil penalty;
   25  preemption.—
   26         (1)(a) As used in this section, the term “wage theft” means
   27  an illegal or improper underpayment or nonpayment of an
   28  individual employee’s wage, salary, commission, or other similar
   29  form of compensation within a reasonable time from the date on
   30  which the employee performed the work to be compensated.
   31         (b) A wage theft occurs when an employer fails to pay a
   32  portion of wages, salary, commissions, or other similar form of
   33  compensation due to an employee within a reasonable time from
   34  the date on which the employee performed the work, according to
   35  the already applicable rate and the pay schedule of the employer
   36  established by policy or practice. In the absence of an
   37  established pay schedule, a reasonable time from the date on
   38  which the employee performed the work is 2 weeks.
   39         (2)(a) If an employer commits wage theft as defined in
   40  paragraph (1)(a), an aggrieved employee may initiate a civil
   41  action as provided in this section.
   42         (b) County courts shall have original and exclusive
   43  jurisdiction in all actions involving wage theft, as provided in
   44  s. 34.01(1)(e). Notwithstanding s. 34.041, the filing fee for a
   45  claim brought pursuant to this section may not exceed $50.
   46         (c) The action shall:
   47         1. Be brought in the county court in the county where the
   48  employee performed the work; and
   49         2. Be governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules.
   50         (3)(a) Before bringing an action, the claimant must notify
   51  the employer who is alleged to have engaged in wage theft of an
   52  intent to initiate a civil action orally or in writing.
   53         (b) The notice must identify the amount that the claimant
   54  alleges is owed, the actual or estimated work dates and hours
   55  for which compensation is sought, and the total amount of
   56  compensation unpaid through the date of the notice.
   57         (c) The employer has 7 days after the date of service of
   58  the notice to pay the total amount of unpaid compensation or
   59  otherwise resolve the action to the satisfaction of the
   60  claimant.
   61         (4) The action must be filed within 1 year after the last
   62  date that the alleged unpaid work was performed by the employee.
   63         (5) The claimant must prove wage theft by a preponderance
   64  of the evidence. A prevailing claimant is entitled to damages
   65  limited to twice the amount of compensation due and owing. The
   66  court may only award economic damages expressly authorized in
   67  this subsection and may not award noneconomic or punitive
   68  damages or attorney fees to a prevailing party, notwithstanding
   69  s. 448.08.
   70         (6)(a) A county, municipality, or political subdivision may
   71  establish an administrative, nonjudicial process under which an
   72  assertion of unpaid compensation may be submitted by, or on
   73  behalf of, an employee in order to assist in the collection of
   74  compensation owed to the employee. Any such process, at a
   75  minimum, shall afford the parties involved an opportunity to
   76  negotiate a resolution regarding the compensation in question.
   77  The county, municipality, or political subdivision may, as part
   78  of the process, assist the employee in completing an application
   79  for a determination of civil indigent status under s. 57.082 and
   80  may pay the filing fee under s. 34.041 on behalf of the
   81  employee, if applicable. The process may not adjudicate a
   82  compensation dispute between an employee and an employer nor
   83  award damages to the employee.
   84         (b) A county, municipality, or political subdivision may
   85  not adopt or maintain in effect any law, ordinance, or rule that
   86  creates requirements or regulations for the purpose of
   87  addressing unpaid compensation claims other than to establish
   88  the administrative, nonjudicial process provided for in this
   89  subsection.
   90         (c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), a local ordinance
   91  governing wage theft enacted on or before January 2, 2013, is
   92  not preempted by this section.
   93         (d) Any other regulation, ordinance, or provision for the
   94  recovery of unpaid compensation by a county, municipality, or
   95  political subdivision is expressly prohibited and is preempted
   96  to the state.
   97         Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.
   99  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  100         And the title is amended as follows:
  101         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  102  and insert:
  103                        A bill to be entitled                      
  104         An act relating to employers and employees; amending
  105         s. 34.01, F.S.; providing jurisdiction of county
  106         courts over wage theft civil actions; creating s.
  107         448.115, F.S.; providing a definition for the term
  108         “wage theft”; creating a civil cause of action for
  109         wage theft; providing the procedure for filing of a
  110         civil action for wage theft; providing jurisdiction;
  111         providing a limitation on the filing fee; requiring a
  112         claimant to notify the employer of the employee’s
  113         intention to initiate a civil action; allotting the
  114         employer a specific time to resolve the action;
  115         providing a statute of limitations; requiring a
  116         claimant to prove wage theft by a preponderance of the
  117         evidence; providing a limitation for compensatory
  118         damages; prohibiting certain damages; authorizing a
  119         county, municipality, or political subdivision to
  120         establish a process by which a claim may be filed;
  121         prohibiting a local government from adopting or
  122         maintaining in effect a law, ordinance, or rule for
  123         the purpose of addressing unpaid wage claims;
  124         prohibiting the preemption of certain local ordinances
  125         governing wage theft; providing that any regulation,
  126         ordinance, or other provision for recovery of unpaid
  127         wages by counties, municipalities, or political
  128         subdivisions is prohibited and preempted to the state;
  129         providing an effective date.