How a Criminal Past Can Implicate a Job Search in Tampa FL

Hunter Chamberlin as recently invited to be a guest speaker at the St. Pete College Titan Tuesdays to talk about how a criminal past can implicate a job search. If you know someone who is facing criminal charges, contact Hunter today for a free consultation at 813-444-4777 or via email at


Understanding the Legal Benefits and Disadvantages to Working as an Employee or Independent Contractor.

The new economy has ushered in a variety of opportunities for talented freelancers who know how to market their skills to businesses.  It’s not a hard sell for many either as companies strive to remain competitive by cutting costs while still delivering on quality.  

Having the flexibility to bring on additional workers only during surge production periods helps companies save money and stay responsive to an ever-changing market.  While the benefits of outsourcing are abundant, many businesses will always prefer to hire conventional employees for certain positions.  Here is a brief synopsis of the benefits and disadvantages of both conventional employment and freelance work as they relate to employment law.  

Standard Employees


The availability of corporate benefits is a key reason why you may choose conventional employment over freelancing.  You can expect companies to pay for all or part of your healthcare, workers’ compensation, social security and unemployment insurance.  Laws regulating these benefits offer some flexibility to small businesses that have less than 50 employees.

As an employee, you also have full rights under federal labor laws.  While companies can and do fire employees, they cannot legally terminate employment for a reason that is protected under the nation’s labor laws. If you believe that you’re facing a wrongful termination situation, give us a call, and we will review your case.  As a reminder, you cannot legally be fired for the following:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Age
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Veteran status
  • Citizenship
  • Genetic information


Some disadvantages of being an employee rather than an independent contractor relate to company culture and management styles.  Employees are expected to be contributing members of teams that build brands through the development of distinct corporate cultures.  Depending on your manager’s leadership style, this often means following strict directions for how and where your work is accomplished.


Independent Contractors


As a freelancer, you are almost expected to charge higher hourly rates than the ones that are used to calculate the salaries of conventional employees.  The extra money is to compensate you for using your own desk space, supplies and equipment to accomplish work.  You will also experience more autonomy when it comes to performing project tasks.  Working from satellite offices and other remote locations is common.


Besides receiving no employment benefits, freelancers are not covered under labor laws. You won’t receive an employee handbook, but you’ll perform work according to an employment contract.  As an independent contractor, you’re usually accountable to clients for what you deliver per the contract and not necessarily how your work is accomplished.  This can be a source of contention for some company managers who want to direct your work or get you to do tasks that are not in your contract.  If you are accused of violating the terms of a freelance employment contract, contact us.  We can review your contract and advise you about the steps that you need to take to resolve the issue.

Final Thoughts

Choosing to work as an employee or a freelancer is a personal decision that takes into consideration your unique professional aspirations and work style.  Let us be your go-to resource for employment law questions about conventional employment and independent contracting gigs.  Contact Chamberlin Law Firm today.

In The Courtroom – The Difference Between Legal and Factual Guilt

In law, you are either deemed as being factually guilty, or legally guilty depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest and subsequent prosecution in court. One is found to be legally guilty if there exist concrete facts that may incriminate you, say some exhibit or forensics. On the other hand, one may be deemed as being factually guilty if he committed the crime.
Essentially, factual guilt refers to what the defendant did while legal guilt is what the prosecutor can prove. For example, someone can be factually guilty, but if there is no sufficient evidence, the person cannot be legally guilty.

How We Can Help

  • Examining the evidence against you: For one to be deemed legally guilty, there must be evidence directly linking you to the felony. When approached by such a case, we carefully examine the evidence linking you with the alleged offense. We aim at ensuring that you are not wrongly sentenced for a felony you did not commit.
  • Sound legal advice: Everyday, we advise our clients on the status of their cases based on the facts. If you decide to proceed with your case, we will assign you our competent attorney to represent you.
  • Legal representation: When we take up your case, you can be assured of our absolute commitment to litigate for you. We believe that you are innocent until proven guilty. We also believe that for one to be guilty, there must be direct evidence linking them to a felony.
  • Appeals and compensation: If you feel that you have been sentenced wrongly or the court hasn’t paid attention to some facts, we are ready to go the full length and file an appeal for you. If proven innocent and compensation are due, we shall do our best to ensure you are compensated.

Attorney Services In Tampa, Florida
Located in Tampa, Florida the Chamberlain Law Firm provides quality legal services centered on the client. Led by Hunter H. Chamberlin, we ensure that you are well represented in court and compensated where due. We broadly focus on all matters litigation and further specialize in criminal defense law that includes but is however not limited to the following:

  •  Civil litigation
  • Robbery
  • Expunging records
  • Drug Offenses
  •  DUI’S
  •  Firearm charges

At Chamberlin Law Firm, we are the industry leader in criminal defense. We work with a team of experienced attorneys who can represent efficiently in court. We work with the presumption of you are innocent until proven guilty. Based on this we build a formidable defense for you. Wondering if you are legally guilty? Contact Hunter at 813-444-477 for a free consultation.

Employment Law – Hiring, Firing and Everything In-between

Civil litigation comes in many forms. Torts, contracts, employment — these are potential areas of dispute. Knowing your rights and having a basic understanding of the law may protect you if you find yourself in a civil dispute. The same goes for criminal law. This article focuses on employment laws in Florida.

Hiring Laws

All states must comply with federal hiring laws. This includes companies not discriminating during the hiring process. Florida goes a step further. In our state, all companies are required to report new hires within 20 days. This rule is part a newer statute which was passed in 2017. It also created a statewide directory of new hires. This statute allows the state government to review company activities closer.

There are also laws pertaining to the interview process before being hired. In Florida, companies are not allowed to ask questions about marital status, pregnancy, and country of origin, among other characteristics. If there is a job-related reason, the question may be allowed.

Firing Laws

Florida is an “at-will” state. That means you, or your employer, can terminate your employment for any reason at any time. However, a company may not fire you for a protected reason. Protected reasons work hand-in-hand with the interview questions. For example, a company cannot fire a woman who gets pregnant. Let’s look at another example.

Let’s say that an employee, John Doe, has been working with Company ABC for a few years. One day, his supervisor finds out Mr. Doe is from Norway. Company ABC fires Mr. Doe because they don’t like Norway. This firing would be illegal.

Wage Laws

Like all states, Florida must comply with the federal minimum wage which is currently $7.25/hour. Florida, however, pays better at $8.25/hour. It’s illegal for companies to pay less than this either officially or “under the table”.

Our state does not have laws regarding overtime pay. However, Florida must still comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA advises that any nonexempt employee must be paid 1.5 times their salary for any overtime. It’s important to know if you are an exempt or nonexempt employee.

You may file a claim against your employer if you are a nonexempt employee and your company is not paying you extra for overtime. Before you take any action be sure to contact Chamberlin Law Firm for a free consultation.

Work Break Laws

Florida law states that, if an employee is under 18 years old, the company must give the employee a 30-minute break for every 4 hours worked. Florida law does not guarantee breaks for employees 18 years of age or older. However, meal breaks which last 30 minutes or longer do not need to be compensated.


Before taking any action it’s important to speak with a trained attorney. Any legal move you make can affect the final outcome of a case. You may contact Chamberlin Law Firm for a free consultation regarding employment laws, other civil laws, and criminal laws.

Under Age Drunk Driving? – What Should You Do Next?

Drinking under the influence commonly referred to as DUI, is not only an offense for adults but minors as well. When you’re caught driving under the influence of alcohol or other drug substances, you risk paying fines and serving a jail term. Underage driving under the influence is taken seriously in the United States, and minors who are caught driving under the influence of drug substances or alcohol can land in severe legal trouble.

If a police officer suspects that a teen is driving under influence of alcohol, he/she will subject the minor to the typical Blood Alcohol Content breath test. If alcohol is detected in the teen’s breath, then he/she will be taken into custody, and their vehicle towed. According to statistics, at least one in every ten high school teens drinks and drives.

Zero Tolerance Laws

You are drunk, driving and underage. This means that you’ve committed two illegalities at the same time. First, the law prohibits underage minors from purchasing or being in possession of alcohol in all states in the U.S. All states have zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drug substances.

Although adult drivers will only be found culpable if their blood to alcohol content exceeds 0.08%, the law is a bit strict when it comes to minors below the age of 21. An underage driver even with an insignificant amount of alcohol in their blood system ranging between 0.01 and 0.02 will be apprehended. Think about this, even a half glass of wine taken during dinner time can easily subject a minor to DUI charge.

What are the Penalties for Underage DUI?

The DUI citation in all states may result in revocation of your driver’s license, fines, mandatory alcohol education, and a lengthy probation period. In some rare cases, an underage driver can even be handed a jail term on their first drunk driving offense if the case is serious.

You should also keep in mind that if you get a DUI and you’re under 21, but over 18, the magistrate may treat you as an adult. The legal penalties for underage Dui include the following:

  • A fine of up to $500
  • A minimum of 30 and a maximum of 180 days driver license suspension
  • Mandatory alcohol education classes
  • Six months of probation
  • A minimum of 8 and a maximum of 40 hours of community service

As a parent, you’re expected to be a good example to your child. Don’t drink and drive and always remind your teenager to avoid alcohol until they become adults. Parents should also remember that providing alcohol to an underage is an offense and can lead to a fine of up to $4,000 and a one-year jail term.

Have You Been Charged with an Underage DUI?

Chamberlin Law Firm is experienced in dealing with DUI charges, and we will help you advocate for a favorable judgment while protecting your best interests. Contact us today for assistance.

How to Expunge Your Criminal Records in Florida

Learn more with “Chamberlin Chats” on YouTube.

The Sunshine State may not be so sunny when you have a past criminal record on your shoulders. Furthermore, Florida’s law enforcement agencies and courts make it simple for anyone to access your criminal records. If you ask anyone who has been arrested in Florida, they’ll tell you how difficult it can be to achieve important things in life like get a job, travel, or find a decent home. In Florida, you can only expunge your criminal records if you have no past convictions, regardless of when or where the conviction occurred.

If you qualify to get your criminal records expunged, you have the opportunity for a fresh start in life. A new beginning can be a great investment of your time and money.

The Benefits of Expunging Your Criminal Records

The primary benefit of expunging your criminal records is that, under Florida law, you can legally fail to acknowledge the arrests and convictions under the expunged record.

Other benefits of expunging your criminal records include:

  • If you hold a professional certificate or license, the expungement will help you retain those certificates and licenses.
  • An expungement can potentially impact positively on your credit rating.
  • An expungement enables you to legally state on your job application that you’ve never been convicted of a criminal offense.

The Process of Record Expungement in Florida

Record expungement can be a complicated process. Any small mistakes on the petition could force you to begin the process all over again. That’s why it’s wise to involve an experienced expungement attorney in Florida to represent you and ensure that everything is done correctly from the beginning. Again, ensure that the attorney provides an option to clear your records beyond the courtroom. Most often, criminal records are kept by many online background check companies who must be notified that your records have been expunged by the courts; otherwise, they’ll keep your records in their systems for years.

Certificate of Eligibility

The first step towards expunging your criminal records is to verify your eligibility by obtaining a certificate of eligibility. You’re required to complete section A of the application and sign it before a notary public. An authorized law enforcement officer will take your fingerprints and submit a properly completed fingerprints form together with the application. A certified disposition of the case that you want to expunge must also be obtained from the clerk of the court where the charges were brought. In some cases, you may be required to provide a copy of Termination of Probation with a nonrefundable method of payment.

The next step is to have a state attorney or prosecutor complete section B of your application. If your application has any missing portions, it will be returned or unprocessed. You will also need to complete a declaration indicating how the conviction has hurt your career and job opportunities, your future plans, training and education, social and religious affiliations, and how your life has completely turned around.

What Happens when Your Application for a Certificate of Eligibility is Denied

If you have reasons to believe that your certificate of eligibility was a mistake, you can request a review. Sometimes the denial may be based on inaccurate or incomplete criminal history information, so you must follow the review process and have those records corrected as detailed under the Florida laws. However, if you have reasons to believe that your criminal records are correct but the law was incorrectly applied to your case, you can appeal the decision through an expungement attorney.

Final Verdict

Expunging a criminal record is a complex process that requires the assistance of a reputable Florida criminal defense attorney. Any slight mistakes on your application could result in denial or unnecessary delays in your case. The Chamberlin Law Firm provides quality, client-centered legal services in Florida. If you’re accused and charged with any criminal offense ranging from traffic crimes and misdemeanor to serious felony offenses, contact us today for professional legal representation or criminal record expungement.

Hunter Chamberlin Speaks with Russell Rhodes on Fox 13’s Ask a Lawyer Program on the Statue of Limitations on Sexual Abuse in Tampa FL

Hunter Chamberlin spoke with Fox 13’s Russell Rhodes to answer legal questions on the statue of limitations on sexual abuse in Tampa Florida as a part of the Ask-A-Lawyer segment. Hunter in the video above speaks on the statue of limitations in a case where Larry Nassar who pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing area was sentenced 40-175 years in prison. Hunter and other Fox 13 Tampa Bay lawyers were standing by this month with legal expertise on the statue of limitations on sexual abuse. This free program allows Fox 13 Tampa Bay viewers to call a lawyer with their legal questions. If you know someone who is facing criminal charges, contact Hunter today for a free consultation at 813-839-1300 or via email at


Hunter Chamberlin Speaks with Fox 13 on the Legal consequences of Swatting in Tampa FL

Hunter Chamberlin spoke with Fox 13’s Laura Moody to answer any legal questions on the legal consequences of swatting. Watch the video below about Florida law on the case of a suspect facing a felony charge of fatally ‘swatting’ man 1,400 miles away. Hunter and other Fox 13 Tampa Bay lawyers were standing by this month with legal advice. This free program allows Fox 13 Tampa Bay viewers to call a lawyer with their legal questions. If you know someone who is facing criminal charges, contact Hunter today for a free consultation at 813-839-1300 or via email at

The Fair Labor Standard ACT’s Executive, Administrative and Professional Exemption

Over the course of the 16 years I have been practicing law, I have often represented small business owners who have inadvertently run afoul of the federal minimum wage and overtime laws. Those laws are contained within the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Department of Labor has promulgated countless regulations interpreting, limiting, and expanding the FLSA. The result is a complicated set of laws and regulations with numerous exemptions and exceptions. Most small business owners simply do not have the time or resources to learn and understand these rules. It is therefore not surprising such businesses often find themselves embroiled in costly and burdensome litigation for failure to comply with some provision of the FLSA. While this article is certainly not an exhaustive treatise on every aspect of the FLSA law and its attendant regulations, hopefully it will provide some guidance to small business owners and help them avoid some of the common mistakes.

            One of the most common misconceptions a small business owner might have with respect to the FLSA is that if the employee is paid a salary, that employee is exempt from the FLSA requirements and the employer will not have to pay overtime for any hours the employee works in excess of 40 in any given week.[1] That is false. Simply because an employee is salaried, as opposed to hourly, does not itself exempt them from the minimum wage and overtime provisions. To clarify when overtime is required and when it is not, I will address (1) what the FLSA requires; (2) who is exempt from the FLSA (3) who is not exempt from the FLSA; and (4) how a salaried, non-exempt employee’s overtime wages are typically calculated.


The FLSA is codified at 28 USC 8. There are two main operative sections to the FLSA, §206 which pertains to the minimum wage, and §207 which pertains to overtime wages. Section 206 mandates that employers must pay their employees no less than a specified hourly amount per work week (defined as 40 hours). That amount is currently $7.25 an hour. Be aware, however, that many states have set a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage. Section 207 provides that employers may not employ employees who are engaged in commerce, or the production of goods for commerce, or employees who are employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or the production of goods for commerce for longer than 40 hours per week unless the employee is paid one and half times their regular rate for each hour or portion of an hour in excess of 40.[2]


Within the FLSA are numerous exemptions where the minimum wage and overtime provisions are inapplicable. Such exemptions include, but are not limited to “any employee employed by an establishment which is an amusement or recreational establishment, organized camp, or religious or non-profit educational conference center” §213(a)(3); “any employee employed in the catching, taking, propagating, harvesting, cultivating, or farming of any kind of fish, shellfish, crustacea, sponges, seaweeds, or other aquatic forms of animal and vegetable life…” §213(a)(5); “any employee employed in connection with the publication of any weekly, semiweekly, or daily newspaper with a circulation of less than four thousand the major part of which circulation is within the county where published or counties contiguous thereto…” §213(a)(8); and “any switchboard operator employed by an independently owned public telephone company which has not more than seven hundred and fifty stations…” §213(a)(10).

However, the most common exemption, and the exemption that most often trips up small business owners, is the executive, administrative, or professional exception, codified at §213(a)(1) (“the 213(a)(1) exemptions”). The 213(a)(1) exemptions exempts from the minimum wage and overtime provisions any employee who is employed in a “a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity….” It also exempts academic administrative personnel, teachers in elementary or secondary schools, and outside sales personnel. Many small business owners erroneously believed their employees fall within the 213(a)(1) exceptions and thus require their employees to work in excess of 40 hours in any week but do not pay them anything additional for those hours. It is therefore critical for business owners to have a strong understanding of which employees are within the 213(a)(1) exemptions and which are not.

The Department of Labor (“the Department”) has promulgated rules interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act which elucidate who falls within and outside this exception. These regulations can provide valuable guidance to a business owner and help them avoid an FLSA violation.

a. Executive

In 29 C.F.R. 541.100, the Department defines “employee employed in a bona fide executive capacity.” In order to qualify for the executive exemption, the employee must meet four criteria. First, the employee must be paid on a salary basis in an amount set by a complicated formula. (Pursuant to §541.600(1), the current minimum salary is $913 per week.) Second, the employee’s primary duty must be management of the company or a department of the company. Third, the employee must regularly direct the work of two or more subordinates. Finally, the employee must either have the explicit authority to hire or fire other employees, or the ability to make recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, or promotion of other employees. If an employee lacks any one of the four criteria, that employee is not within the purview of the executive exemption.

b. Administrative

Section 541.200 pertains to the “administrative” exception. It defines “employee employed in a bona fide administrative capacity….” In order to qualify for the administrative exemption, the employee must meet three criteria. First, the employee must be paid a salary according to the same formula as the executive exemption. Second, the employee must be primarily engaged in “office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers…”   Finally, the employee’s duties must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment on important business matters. As with the executive exemption, lacking any one of these three criteria renders the employee non-exempt with respect to the administrative exemption.

c. Professional

Section 541.300 expounds on the “professional” exception. It defines “employee employed in a bona fide professional capacity” as someone who meets two criteria. First, the employee must be paid a salary according to the same formula as that of the executive and administrative exceptions. Second, the employee’s job duties must either require advanced knowledge in the field of science or learning acquired from extended specialized education. Alternatively, the employee’s job must require the “invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. If the employee meets both requirements, the employee is within the professional exemption.


Just as the Department of Labor has provided guidance as to employees for whom the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions do apply, the Department has also elucidated professions where the 13(a)(1) exemptions do not apply. According to §541(3)(a), the 13(a)(1) exemptions do not apply to “manual laborers or other “blue collar” workers who perform work involving repetitive operations with their hands, physical skill and energy.”

The Department’s rational is that these employees should be protected by the FLSA because they “gain the skills and knowledge required for performance of their routine manual and physical work through apprenticeships and on-the-job training, not through the prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction required for exempt learned professional employees….” Such employees include “non-management production-line employees and non-management employees in maintenance, construction and similar occupations such as carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, iron workers, craftsmen, operating engineers, longshoremen, construction workers and laborers….” Section 541(3)(b) provides another long list of professions who are outside the scope of the exemption, including police officers, probation officers, park rangers, fire fighters, and paramedics. According to the Department, these occupations are outside the scope of the exemption because these employees do not manage a business, they are not involved in work directly related to the management of a business, and their work does not require “knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction or the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor….”


Applying the FLSA and Department regulations creates a category of employees who do not fall with the 13(a)(1) exemptions and thus are entitled to be paid overtime for any hour or portion thereof they work in excess of 40 in any given week. However, those employees may be paid a salary as opposed to an hourly wage, and they may work more than 40 hours only occasionally. So once an employee determines an employee is outside the scope of the exemption and thus entitled to overtime, how does the employer calculate what the overtime pay should be? According to the Department, an employer may use the Fluctuating Work Week (FWW) method to calculate the overtime to which the employee is entitled.

As the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida explained in Lewis v. Keiser Sch., Inc. (S.D. Fla., 2012), the employee must meet five criteria in order for the employer to be able to use the FWW method. First, the employee’s hours must fluctuate from week to week. Second, the employee must receive a fixed weekly salary that remains constant irrespective of the actual number of hours the employee works. Third, the amount the employee receives must be at least enough to pay the employee for all hours worked not less than the federal minimum wage. Fourth, the employee and employer must mutually understand that the employee will be paid a fixed salary regardless of the number of hours actually worked. Finally, the employee must be paid, in addition to the fixed salary, half his or her hourly wage for every hour or portion thereof in excess of forty in any given week.

            This prompts two important questions. First, we are discussing non-exempt salaried employees. How do we calculate the hourly wage of someone who is paid on a weekly basis? Secondly, the FLSA mandates that an employer must pay overtime at 150% of the hourly wage, yet the FWW requires only 50% of the hourly wage. Fortunately, the federal courts have clarified both issues. With respect to the hourly rate of a salaried employee, the United States Supreme Court explained that the “regular rate” is determined by dividing the number of hours actually worked by the weekly wage. See Overnight Motor Transportation Company v. Missel, 316 U.S. 572 (1942); See also Kohlheim v. Glynn County, Ga., 915 F.2d 1473, 1480 (11th Cir.1990). Consequently, if a salaried employee is paid $1,000.00 per week and works 45 hours in a given week, the employee’s “regular rate” would be $22.22 per hour ($1,000.00 divided by 45 hours). In that scenario, the employee would be entitled to be paid the regular $1,000.00 salary, plus an additional $111.10 for that week ($22.22 multiplied by the 5 hours in excess of 40 worked that week.)

So the overtime rate is determined, but why half-time instead of time-and-a-half? The Southern District of Florida answered that question in Torres v. Bacardi Global Brands Promotions, Inc., 482 F.Supp.2d 1379, 1381 (S.D. Fla., 2007). The Court explained that since the salaried employee is being paid a flat salary for all hours worked in a work week, irrespective how many hours that is, that salary includes payment for all hours in excess of 40 hours in a week. Consequently, as a result of the fixed salary arrangement, “a non-exempt employee who receives a weekly salary for all hours worked has, by definition, already been paid his “regular rate” for all hours worked in the workweek. Thus, a salaried employee is only owed half-time for any hours worked in excess of forty per workweek.” In other words, the non-exempt salaried employee is entitled to be paid 150% of their regular rate, but the salary constitutes the 100%, thus entitling the employee only to an additional 50%.

      Given the complexities of the FLSA, it can be very easy to run afoul of its provisions. Unfortunately, the FLSA contains very draconian punitive remedies for FLSA violations including full payment of unpaid overtime for up to three years, an equal amount in liquidated damages, and payment of the employee’s attorneys’ fees. Consequently, even a minor underpayment can result in a significant financial liability. Therefore, the best practice is to know the FLSA provisions and ensure you are in full compliance with those provisions. Hopefully, this article will help small business owners do just that.

[1] Another misconception is that an employer may escape the obligations of the FLSA simply by paying them a 1099 rather than a W-2 and designating the employee as an “independent contractor.” That is also false. I will address that misconception in another forthcoming article. Stay tuned.

[2] These provisions, like other sections of the FLSA and every other federal law, has numerous exceptions where the law is inapplicable. For the sake of brevity, this article will concentrate on the FLSA’s main provisions and will not delve into every exception.

Fox 13 Tampa Bay Battle Over Gun Laws Video with Hunter Chamberlin and Walter Allen

Hunter Chamberlin was standing by with Fox 13’s Walter Allen to discuss the battle over gun laws.

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