As I previously posted , Florida’s new $15 minimum wage (passed by voters) has to go through a legislative implementation process which may exclude certain businesses or certain employees.

And, I’m already hearing news that small businesses and business lobby groups are pushing back on Amendment 2 due to the COVID19 pandemic.  Specifically, businesses are arguing that because of COVID19 closures and restrictions on operations, in addition to high unemployment in Florida, any increase in minimum wage pursuant to Amendment 2 should be delayed.   Businesses also point out that with the economy in disarray due to the pandemic, now is a difficult time to be raising prices for customers who may also be struggling.

Supporters of Amendment 2 argue that since the raise is incremental, $1 a year, businesses should have time to adjust to the increase.   Supporters of increased minimum wage also argue that increasing minimum wage permits those employees to spend more on goods and services thereby stimulating the economy.  Low wage workers tend to spend a much larger percentage of their wages in their local communities.

Amendment 2 passed with 61% voter approval which demonstrates high approval by the Florida voters.


Dori K. Stibolt is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims.  You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or dstibolt@foxrothschild.com.

 

I recently posted about Florida’s new minimum wage law, passed by voters as Amendment 2 during the November 2020 general election.  As I noted in my earlier post, Amendment 2 (which calls for a gradual increase to a $15 minimum wage in Florida) is supposed to begin with an increase to a $10 minimum wage beginning on September 30, 2021.  Please note that Florida’s legislature will create regulations to implement Amendment 2 which may change who is covered by same.

As a result, employers need to be aware of the annual increase of Florida’s minimum wage which is triggered by Florida Statute § 448.110, and will increase Florida’s minimum wage separate and apart from Amendment 2.  Accordingly, come January 1, 2021, Florida’s minimum wage will rise from the current rate of $8.56 per hour to $8.65 per hour.

Under Florida Statute § 448.110 4(a) and (b), the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity must calculate Florida’s minimum wage based upon the increase, if any, in the Federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Earners and Clerical Workers in the southern region.  Based upon this year’s calculation, Florida’s new minimum wage for 2021 will rise by nine (9) cents.

 

Employers of tipped employees, who meet eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the Fair Labor Standards Act, may count tips actually received as wages under the Florida minimum wage.  However, the employer must pay tipped employees a direct wage.  The direct wage is calculated as equal to the minimum wage $8.65 minus the tip credit for Florida, $3.02, or a direct hourly wage of $5.63 as of January 1, 2021.

The photo in this post is of the Surf Board Christmas Tree in Palm Beach, Florida (photo by me).


Dori K. Stibolt is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims.  You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or dstibolt@foxrothschild.com.

 

Florida voters once again showed their approval for a progressive ballot initiative.  Florida’s Amendment 2, which proposed a gradual increase of Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, received more than 60% approval by voters and therefore passed on November 3, 2020.  Amendment 2 received 60.8% of the vote, which was considerably more than President Trump who received 51.2% voter approval in Florida.

Florida’s Amendment 2 will increase Florida’s minimum wage from $8.56 an hour to $10 an hour beginning on September 30, 2021.  Thereafter, Florida’s minimum wage will increase by $1 an hour per year until it reaches $15 an hour.  The federal minimum wage is currently at $7.25 per hour.

 

While its a tradition for Florida voters to pass progressive ballot initiatives, it also is a tradition for Florida’s Republican controlled state legislature to defang those initiatives.   As such, Florida businesses will have to wait and see how Florida’s state legislature defines “employer” and “employee” and whether the legislature moves to exempt certain industries or make other efforts to reduce the coverage of Amendment 2.

 


Dori K. Stibolt is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims.  You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or dstibolt@foxrothschild.com.

 

As of October 1, 2020, the eviction/foreclosure ban in place since April has been lifted by Florida’s Governor.   See my post for more.

 


Dori K. Stibolt is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims.  You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or dstibolt@foxrothschild.com.

 

Governor Ron DeSantis has extended his narrowed eviction/foreclosure ban, due to COVID19 for another month.  See my post for more.

 


Dori K. Stibolt is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims.  You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or dstibolt@foxrothschild.com.

 

Florida finally issues regulations that permit the sale of edible cannabis products.  See my post at Fox’s In the Weeds.


Dori K. Stibolt is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims.  You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or dstibolt@foxrothschild.com.

Governor  Ron DeSantis has extended, but narrowed, the eviction/foreclosure ban related to COVID-19.  See my post for more.


Dori K. Stibolt is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims.  You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or dstibolt@foxrothschild.com.

With dramatic increases in COVID19 cases in Florida, three counties in South Florida (Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe) have modified or rolled back their reopening plan.  See my post for more.


Dori K. Stibolt is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims.  You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or dstibolt@foxrothschild.com.

I’ve posted about Emotional Support Animals (“ESA”) before, see my posts here , here and here.   I keep coming back to this topic because emotional support chickens, peacocks on planes and little dogs at the grocery store (a common sight in Florida during the winter season) fascinate me.   Now comes news that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill that may end up limiting ESAs at your local condo complex.

SB 1084 , was signed by Gov. DeSantis on June 23, 2020, and provides for the following changes to Florida Housing Law:

  • Section 817.265 of the Florida Statutes is amended to provide that a person who falsifies information or written documentation or who knowingly provides fraudulent information or written documentation to obtain an ESA or otherwise knowingly and willfully misrepresents himself or herself as having a disability or a disability related need for an ESA commits a misdemeanor of the second degree.
  • Section 456.072 of the Florida Statues is amended to provide that  a health professional who provides information, including written documentation, indicating that a person has a disability or which documentation supports a person’s need for an ESA without personal knowledge of the person’s disability is subject to disciplinary action.
  • SB 1084 further amends Section 760.27 of the Florida Statutes to defines an ESA as “an animal that does not require training to do work, perform tasks, provide assistance, or provide therapeutic emotional support by virtue of its presence which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.”
  • SB 1084 also provides cover for home owner or condo associations to deny a reasonable accommodation request for an ESA if the animal being requested poses a “direct threat to the safety or health of others or poses a direct threat of physical damage to the property of others which threat cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation.”
  • SB 1084 permits home owner or condo associations to request supporting information for the ESA if a person’s disability is not readily apparent.
  • Additionally, the practitioner or provider of the supporting information for the ESA must have personal knowledge of the person’s disability and must be acting within the scope of his or her practice.
  • If a resident requests more than one ESA, he or she must provide supporting information for each animal.
  • The association may also require proof that each ESA is properly licensed and vaccinated.
  • Persons with ESAs are liable for any damage done to the premises or to another person by the ESA.
  • No fee will be required for ESAs under SB 1084.

This new law was mainly the result of many years of efforts from  the Florida Realtors group.  Realtors have been concerned about the continued use of ESA Certificates that can simply be downloaded after a purchase from on-line providers who have no relationship with the resident seeking the ESA.  Additionally, the recent explosion of ESAs  requested by condo or apartment residents has basically nullified the ability for landlords or residents (who may have allergies or other issues) to designate a housing complex as pet or animal free.

It will be interesting to see the litigation that will likely spin off as a result of this new law as the issue of ESAs is certainly not yet settled.  And, this new law doesn’t address ESAs in restaurants or stores (which are already not permitted, but often confused for service dogs or animals).

 


Dori K. Stibolt is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims.  You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or dstibolt@foxrothschild.com.

With talk about allowing some businesses to reopen, employers will need to plan for employees to return to in-person work.   Some of those employees will likely be those who have previously tested positive for COVID19.

See this post from Fox’s  Randall C. Schauer, explaining the guidance for how and whether to bring COVID19 positive employees back to work.