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14k Florida Workers Owed $6.5M in Unpaid Wages

About 14,000 workers in Florida are owed millions of dollars in unpaid wages.

The U.S. Department of Labor says most of these workers don’t even know they’re owed money.

The agency said it is trying to make sure that money gets back to those workers.

Data released by the department indicated that Orange County has more workers with unpaid wages than any other county in Florida.

If your employer violated labor laws by not paying you overtime or minimum wage, the Department of Labor ensures the business pays you the money owed to you.

If the employer somehow cannot contact you, it is up to the federal government to do so.

“When the employer does not find them, then we we have up to three years to try to find them,” said Lesbia Rodriguez, assistant district director over the Wage and Hour Division in Orlando.

She said her team works daily to try to get workers’ hard-earned money back into their pockets by calling them and mailing them letters. But she said the division often hits a brick wall.

“Perhaps the employee may have already left their employer,” Rodriguez said. “That’s one of the reasons why we may not be able to contact them or find them, because the last known address is not readily available.”

More than 220,000 employee are owed a combined $161 million nationwide.

More than $6.5 million is owed to more than 14,000 workers in Florida, which equates to an average of $464 per employee.

“In Orlando, we have a high rate of violations,” Rodriguez said.

Orange County has the largest number of workers with unpaid wages in the state — more than 3,000 people are owed a combined total of $638,000.

The Department of Labor said if you are undocumented and your employer did not pay you, you can still get your money back. And you won’t risk being deported by reaching out to the agency.

The department said the undocumented are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

If the agency cannot get in touch with the worker within three years, the money is automatically returned to the U.S. Treasury.

Source: WFTV 9