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Wage Theft Victory in Florida as Judge Dismisses Challenge by Wage-Dodge Enabling Retail Federation

This week, a Miami court dismissed the constitutional challenge brought by the Florida Retail Federation against the anti-wage theft program of Miami-Dade County. Judge Lester Langer wrote in his dismissal,

Miami-Dade County had the right, pursuant to a proper exercise of its police powers which are constitutionally guaranteed under the Home Rule Charter to enact the ordinance to prevent the theft of wages for working people in Dade County.

The attack on local wage theft enforcement has been countered, in some cases, by public outcry. Two bills that would enable wage dodgers have been introduced by Florida Rep. Tom Goodson, but both have eventually failed. According to the Florida Wage Theft Task Force:

…as of September 2011, Miami-Dade County’s wage theft ordinance “has processed 662 claims for a total amount of $1,760,177. Almost $400,000 has been recovered through conciliation and over $300,000 has been awarded through a hearing examiner process. In August alone, the program recovered and collected thru conciliation $52,000 for 109 workers.”

The Florida Retail Federation, which court documents describe as “a statewide nonprofit Florida corporation and Trade Association representing the mutual interest of retail related business the State,” supported both of Rep. Goodson’s wage dodging bills.


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