LARGO, Fla (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay business shut down in November and employees say they haven’t been paid since.
Jump Station in Largo was a play place for children. It was known for hosting children’s birthday parties. The business was located at 12640 62nd Street. However, the business closed abruptly Nov. 9.
Andre Hensen, 15, was employed at Jump Station for eleven months. It was the teenager’s first job. He said he learned his job was shutting down the day the owners locked the doors for good.
“I came in and my manager was breaking down because she just found out they were closing,” said Hensen. “She told us today would be our last day.”
Hensen said he enjoyed working at Jump Station and worked very hard there. Hensen and his mother Lindsay Shaw said now all they want is to be paid for that hard work.
“They weren’t good at paying,” said Shaw. “They have been late two and three weeks before and his checks have bounced as well.”
Hensen and his mom said the teen hasn’t seen a paycheck since the indoor play place suddenly closed in November.
“It sucks because I can’t really do things I want,” Hensen said.
Shaw came to 8 On Your Side for help and we went looking for answers. A sign on Jump Station’s door said they closed down because one of the owners, Brent Fisher has health issues. An email to employees, apparently from Fisher’s wife, Suzanne, blames money problems.
When 8 On Your Side went to Fisher to ask how he plans to fix the situation, he admitted to not having paid employees since shutting down the business.
As for the reason why he said, “I’m trying to raise the funds.”
When 8 On Your Side asked Brent how he planned on paying employees back he closed the door and said, “pay them.”
Tampa attorney Luke Lirot said Fisher needs to do the right thing.
“He has to pay his employees,” said Lirot. “If he has the ability, any business owner should start disposing of their assets to generate their money to pay those employees because there’s just nowhere to hide.”
Lirot said according to the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Florida statutory requirements, business owners have no choice but to pay their employees.
“It’s an absolute requirement to pay your employees, ” said Lirot. “If you get sued for not paying your employees under the federal act you would be required to pay double what they would have been paid and you have to pay the other sides attorney’s fees. The worst part of that is there’s no bankruptcy protection, there’s nowhere to hide.”
Hensen and his mother believe the Fisher’s are taking advantage of the employees because the majority of them were teenagers. Regardless, Lirot said the owners have to pay up despite their age.
“Employees all have the same right,” he said. “If you’ve worked an hour you’re entitled to minimum wage. There is no decreased wage because you’re a teenager.”
Shaw said after five weeks of trying to get in contact with the Fisher’s and not being able to, she’s ready to sue.
“Our next step is seeking an attorney since they don’t want to respond to us,” Shaw said.
With Christmas right around the corner, all Hensen says he wants, is to get what’s owed to him.
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