Archive for April, 2010

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Florida Overtime Laws – Working an Overnight Shift

April 29, 2010

Many people work hours that are outside of the traditional Monday-to-Friday "9:00 to 5:00" job. People who often do this include health care workers, factory shift workers, and those in the retail or transportation fields as well employees in various other fields. The state of Florida follows the guidelines of the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA). While employers are not required to pay their employees additional wages for overnight work, workers may find that wages can be higher on overnight shifts due to shift differentials. Regardless of the compensation arrangements made between an employee and employer for overnight shifts, non-exempt workers who work more than forty hours in a work week must be paid overtime in Florida.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was passed in 1937 and remains one of the primary laws dealing with overtime in the U. S. The FLSA was adopted in order to set wage standards and guidelines for employers. The state of Florida requires employers to follow these regulations when it comes to paying overtime for their employees.

Overnight shift workers are defined (in general) as those employees that work between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Employees who work three or more hours during this time frame are considered to be overnight workers. These types of workers are increasing due to the prevalence of all-night convenience stores and retail centers, supermarkets, etc. Overnight shift workers often prompt the monitoring and/or enforcement of the FLSA wage laws which mandate that any nonexempt employee be paid one-and-one-half time their regular pay rate for hours worked beyond a forty hours work week. This is due to the common misconception that people who work overnight shifts are always entitled to overtime pay.

Consult a Florida overtime attorney if any of the following apply to you and you are a non-exempt employee who works the overnight shift:

  1. Combining work weeks – if you work more than 40 hours in a week, you should be paid for overtime in the week that you worked it, even if your employer combines two or more weeks on a paycheck. For example, some employees get paid bi-weekly or semi-monthly which means an employer may refuse to pay overtime for the first week at, for example, 45 hours when the second week is less than 40 hours because they’ll combine the two to get a total of 80 hours or less.
  2. Meetings or training – if you are required to attend a meeting or do some training outside of work hours, you may be entitled to Florida overtime wages.
  3. Unpaid breaks or working through lunch – you may be owed overtime if your employer does not pay you for breaks of more than 5 minutes and less than 20 minutes or if you are required to clock out for lunch, but must complete work-related duties during your lunch break.
  4. Pre-approval of overtime – do you need to get approval before working overtime? If your employer will not pay for unapproved overtime even if you work the extra hours, you may be able to get Florida overtime wages.
  5. On call – if you are required to be ‘on call’ and must report to work on short notice, you may be entitled to overtime pay. Also, if you are required to check your company Blackberry or PDA, or answer emails or texts after work hours you may be entitled to overtime pay..

If you think you may be owed Florida overtime pay, don’t wait to consult with an attorney! The FLSA only permits an employee to recover up to two years of unpaid back wages (possibly three years if the employer’s violation is found to be wilfull). You could be losing valuable time with every day that passes.

If you have a question or need information on South Florida overtime wage claims, contact Florida overtime attorney Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today for a free consultation.. The Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates has handled some of the largest Florida overtime wage claims. Attorneys in their offices were recently appointed in Federal Court as lead counsel in an Overtime Class Action against a large Fortune 500 Company.

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Carnival Ecstasy Cruise from Galveston Injures 61 Passengers

April 23, 2010

The Carnival Ecstasy was involved in an incident while returning from a five day cruise to Mexico when the ship veered sharply to avoid a buoy floating through the Gulf of Mexico. Initial news reports indicate that 61 passengers onboard were injured.

One news report from a TV station in Bryan, Texas featured a interview with a passenger onboard the Carnival Ecstacy when the incident occurred. Gayle Epley was eating with her daughter looking out the window when she felt the ship start to shake, then lean sharply. She looked out the window, and rather than looking at the ocean, she was looking up at the sky. Ms. Epley reported seeing plates and glasses flying off tables due to the sudden and sharp turn. Other passenger reports indicate the ship listed approximately 30 degrees to the port, and that most, if not all, the water in the pool washed out.

Carnival released a statement saying the incident occurred Wednesday afternoon as the 2,052-passenger ship, the Carnival Ecstasy, was sailing in the Gulf of Mexico. The Ecstasy was on the final leg of a five-day cruise out of Galveston, Texas. Carnival says the Ecstasy was forced to perform an unusually sharp maneuver to avoid a large buoy that was adrift and mostly submerged. A spokesperson for the line tells Cruise Critic that the ship only listed 12 degrees, and that the ship’s radar did not detect the buoy.

Cruise Ship accident injury lawyer Joseph Maus says that ‘although the ship departed from Galveston, Texas, any claims for injuries suffered on a Carnival ship must be brought in Florida’. Maus says that Carnival Cruise Lines has a clause in their Ticket Contract which requires full particulars of the cruise injury and accident be given to Carnival in writing within 185 days after the date of the injury, event, illness or death giving rise to the claim. If a party injured on a Carnival Cruise Ship wants to file a lawsuit for injuries from a cruise, the suit must be filed within one year after the date of the injury, event, illness or death, and served on Carnival within 120 days after filing. Additionally the Ticket Contract requires that the lawsuit is filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, even though the Ecstasy departed from Galveston, and the injury occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.

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What To Look For In a Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorney

April 14, 2010

From the moment you book a cruise, your head is filled with visions of the good times ahead. Images of sun, fun, relaxing, and shore excursions in exotic ports will get you through the time between booking and departure. The one thing most people never envision when daydreaming about their vacation, however, is an injury, but accidents happen all the time on cruise ships! Just a second of inattention or a sudden roll of the waves and you could be hurt by simply walking around on board the ship, not to mention the accidents that can occur while on shore excursions.

In the case of accidents, the cruise lines have many restrictions about how a cruise ship injury should be handled. You’ve probably never noticed the seven to ten pages worth of restrictions that come with your cruise ship tickets, or the limitations and requirements that someone must follow if they are involved in a cruise ship accident or injury.  Often, people think they can handle their injury claim by themselves, but unless you are someone who is very familiar with various state, federal and maritime laws that may apply in cruise ship accident claims, it is extremely easy to lose your rights to make a claim. 

If you are involved in an injury or accident while on your cruise, do yourself a favor and hire an experienced Florida cruise ship injury attorney. Not just any attorney will do either, due to the aforementioned complex laws that apply to cruise ship accident claims.

Be sure to:

  • Hang on to your cruise ship ticket after your injury! It provides details on some of the "special requirements" that govern your cruise and cruise ship accident, and your attorney will need it.
  • Ask your prospective Florida cruise ship injury attorney if they are familiar with Maritime and Admiralty laws as these laws may be controlling in a cruise ship injury case.
  • Ask the attorney what results they have gotten from their cruise ship injury cases: results speak for themselves.
  • Ask the attorney if they are admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.  Many cruise ship ticket contracts require that the claim be brought in Florida’s Federal Court in Miami.
  • Ask your prospective Florida cruise ship injury attorney if they are AV-rated – this is the highest legal ability and ethics rating awarded to attorneys.

What should an experienced Florida cruise ship injury attorney be familiar with regarding injuries and accidents on cruise ships? They should know about: 

    • The one year Statute of Limitations in most cruise ship accident cases.
    • The typical provision that requires most claims to be brought in Federal Court in South Florida.
    • Any pre-suit notice requirements.
    • The provisions required by passenger tickets.
    • Any jurisdictional issues depending on whether the ship is in territorial waters.

So, dream away about that upcoming vacation, but don’t take chances with a claim should you be injured while on your cruise. Make sure you have an experienced Florida cruise ship injury attorney on your side.

For more information, contact cruise ship accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today. Mr. Maus provides a free, no obligation consultation to answer your questions and help you determine if you have a claim against your cruise line. He is an experienced Florida cruise ship injury attorney who has handled thousands of claims ranging from slip and trip and falls, sexual assault, cruise ship viruses and violations of safety and cleanliness standards, injuries during onshore excursions, and many other types of claims which are related to cruise ships.   His office handles claims on a contingent basis which means there are no attorney’s fees charged unless a recovery is made on your behalf. Mr. Maus is licensed to practice throughout the State of Florida, in the Southern and Middle Districts of the United States District Court, and is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court and is an “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest legal ability rating awarded, and the highest ethical rating awarded to attorneys.

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