Pinellas and Hillsborough to join South Florida counties in combating wage theft

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By Rob Lorei

Hillsborough and Pinellas counties will soon be joining several South Florida counties in passing local ordinances aimed at protecting workers from wage theft. Wage theft is when employees are withheld  rightly owed wages or benefits, sometimes through forcing workers to work off the clock, denying paychecks, or garnishing employee tips.  It especially affects service workers within the restaurant and hotel industry.

Here to talk about the new ordinances within the counties are: Tom DiFiore, Housing and Consumer Attorney for Bay Area Legal Services;  Jeanette Smith, Executive Director of the South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice; Cheryl Shroeder Executive Director of West Central Florida Central Labor Council; and  Aaron Carmella, Field Director of West Central Florida Federation of Labor. Hillsborough County’s recently passed ordinance ,expected to take effect at the beginning of the new year, will establish a business/worker mediation process through its courts administration office . Pinellas county is expected to pass it’s own ordinance pending a public hearing scheduled for Nov.10, which will allow workers to seek help through its consumer protection department.