Employees at a Florida company are worried about recovering lost wages after their company attempted to enact a retro-active minimum wage change. The company, BlueWare, is under fire for failing to pay its workers fairly, violating their employee rights by withholding money.
BlueWare has allegedly failed to pay many of its workers for an extended period, with some reports indicating that six weeks have elapsed since the employees last received money. One administrative worker said she is missing one paycheck and at least $500 in connection with a training course bonus; she left in July. Several of the 10 workers in the case say they were making six-figure salaries before BlueWare decided to enact the cuts. A letter from the company to its employees acknowledged management’s failure to pay the workers, indicating that the previously worked hours would be compensated. However, instead of receiving their actual salaries, every employee will be paid at the minimum-wage rate of $7.79 per hour for their completed work.
The company argued that the change was warranted because it would not receive any cash inflow until September, when several contracts are slated to be paid. Officials familiar with the situation say the software company was paid up-front for its most recent work. A BlueWare-affiliated group received more than $5.69 million in October 2012. In addition, high-ranking officers in the company are facing criminal charges related to financial misdeeds, including bribery and bid-tampering. A politician has been accused of taking kickbacks to ensure that BlueWare received a contract for scanning court documents.
The employees in this case have already left the company. Their lives have been unduly affected by the company officials’ poor decision-making, with some even losing their homes and partners because of the financial strain. Employees deserve to be paid a fair wage for their work. Companies are not simply allowed to change payment because of financial difficulties. Employees are rightfully protected by laws that mandate that they are paid correctly and on time.
www.floridatoday.com, “Caught in fallout, BlueWare workers in wage dispute” Lee Nessel & Dave Berman, Aug. 27, 2013