1. Opinion

Editorial: Hillsborough wisely embraces wage theft ordinance

Published Oct. 23, 2015

The Hillsborough County Commission took a bold stand for low-income workers this week when it passed a wage theft ordinance. The ordinance will provide workers who believe they have been cheated out of pay or benefits with an easier way to resolve their claims. The ordinance puts workers first and paves the way for meaningful, safe resolution.

As low-income workers across the country fight for better wages and working conditions, wage theft has emerged as an important battleground. Wage theft occurs when employers intentionally withhold pay, and it is a particular problem in the restaurant, tourism and construction industries. Absent a state law that addresses the issue, local governments in Florida have been creating wage theft ordinances to hold employers accountable and recover lost income. The most popular model was created in Miami-Dade County, where the government acts a mediator for disputing parties.

Hillsborough's ordinance is a reasonable compromise that allows the county to retain oversight but distributes mediation responsibilities to state courts and enlists Bay Area Legal Services for workers' legal representation if talks fail. As the ordinance takes root, the commission should ensure that the hybrid model works as intended. Other Tampa Bay governments should get on board.


  1. In this Oct. 11, 2018, photo, rescue personnel perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach. GERALD HERBERT  |  AP
    While it is too late to stop global warming, we can prevent it from getting worse, two scientists write.
  2. Florida's toll roads
    Here’s what readers had to say in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
  3. President Donald Trump talks to the media before leaving the White House, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) MANUEL BALCE CENETA  |  AP
    President Donald Trump’s conduct is the issue as House begins public phase of impeachment inquiry.
  4. Pasco County community news TMCCARTY80  |  Tara McCarty
    Pasco County letters to to the editor
  5. Two people use a pedestrian crosswalk on Fowler Avenue at 22nd Street in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES
    Here’s what readers had to say in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
  6. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
  7. Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives at the Capitol to review transcripts of his earlier testimony in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, in Washington, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP
    The president’s personal pick as ambassador to the European Union all of a sudden could recall conversations that he’d previously claimed didn’t happen, writes columnist Carl Hiaasen.
  8. A replica of the Dali bronze statue: Terpsicore (Muse of Dance), can be seen with other sculptures outside the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER | Times SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    The Pinellas County Commission should embrace the museum’s request for bed tax money to pay for half of a major expansion project.
  9. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
  10. A crowd gathers to watch the annual Veterans Day parade and classic car show hosted by and held at the James A. Haley Veteran's Hospital and Clinics in Tampa.
    The nation owes an enduring debt to its service men and women.