Our New York Lawyers Help Employees Nationwide Recover Unpaid Wages
Lawyers Help Employees Recover Unpaid Wages in New York
Employment law attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C., collecting unpaid wages for workers in New York and across the country, believe that you deserve every dollar you earn. You go to your job and fulfill the requirements and demands of your employer. You have the right to expect that, in return, your employer will pay you in compliance with legal and ethical standards.
But for various reasons, many businesses do not pay their workers all of the money to which they are legally entitled. Some make honest mistakes, and others intentionally withhold wages, tips, and overtime payments in violation of laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If your employer is refusing to pay you minimum wage, overtime pay, commissions, tips or other money that you have legally earned, consider consulting an attorney about filing a claim for unpaid wages.
Leeds Brown is a full-service wage and hour law firm that concentrates much of its practice on recovering unpaid wages for hard working New Yorkers especially on Long Island and in New York City. Our lawyers have spent decades successfully enforcing the workplace rights of employees and aggressively advocating to secure wages, benefits and other remedies for those we represent. We may be able to do the same for you.
Find out more about your rights to recover your unpaid wages by calling Leeds Brown.
Withholding Wages Violates the FLSA
The FLSA is the law that, among other things, establishes federal minimum wage requirements, defines the 40-hour workweek, and corresponding overtime rules. It applies to employers whose annual sales are over $500.000 or who engage in interstate commerce. Nearly all businesses fall under the jurisdiction of the FLSA because, over the years, courts have interpreted “engage in interstate commerce” broadly. However, there are several categories of employees who are exempt or partially exempt from provisions of the FLSA.
Under the FLSA, an employee must earn at least the federal or state minimum hourly wage, whichever is higher. As of October 2016, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and the NYS minimum wage is $9.00 but may be higher depending on the industry. An employee who earns tips receives a lower minimum hourly wage, but when combined with tips, he or she must make at least the state minimum wage.
The FLSA requires that an employee is paid time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 40 hours in a given workweek. Professionals, executives, administrators, independent contractors, certain highly paid employees and several other miscellaneous workers are exempt from the overtime pay requirement.
It is these provisions that often result in the unlawful withholding of wages. Employment lawyers most frequently assist clients with the recovery of wages that stem from,
- Unpaid overtime
- Minimum wage violations
- Improper calculation of hours worked
- Incorrect classification of employees as exempt from overtime
- Withholding tips, tip-theft, miscalculating tip-credits
Minimum Wage Violations are Unlawful
Employers unknowingly and sometimes knowingly violate minimum wage requirements. Some businesses may not understand what their obligations are – different industries sometimes have different wage rules. For example, in New York City, fast-food workers for large chains receive a higher minimum wage than others. Some employers may think that the federal minimum is all they need to pay. Even unintentional violations, however, are unlawful.
Why would an employer purposefully refuse to pay minimum wage to workers? Perhaps an organization is trying to cut costs by underpaying staff, punish an employee for a week or two, or simply choses to ignore the law. It is important for most employees to know, however, that receiving minimum wage is your legal right. Your employer may ask for you to waive this right or give permission to take less pay. The courts will not enforce this – you may not legally waive your right to receive minimum wage. If your employer is paying you less than minimum wage, you have the right to recover your unpaid wages.
Misclassified Workers Deserve Overtime Pay
Because certain employees are exempt from overtime requirements as set forth by the FLSA, employers frequently misclassify workers to avoid paying the extra money. For example, an employer may call someone an independent contractor even though he is truly an employee. An employer may call someone an administrator even though she exercises no discretion on the job. Some companies wrongfully believe that all salaried workers are not entitled to overtime pay.
Experienced attorneys at Leeds Brown can help you determine if your employer has wrongfully classified you as an exempt employee. If so, you may be entitled to collect all of the overtime pay you have earned but not been paid. Whether the misclassification was a purposeful attempt to avoid overtime or an honest error, you may be entitled recover back wages.
Improper Calculation of Hours Results in Unpaid Wages and Overtime
Calculating hours in a workweek properly is essential to making sure employees receive the proper base wages and overtime pay. However, an employer may attempt to exclude part of an employee’s work time to avoid both obligations. For example, an employer may,
- Require you to work “off the clock.”
- Insist that you work through unpaid breaks like lunch
- Require, expect or allow you to do extra work at home for no compensation
- Not count time you spend putting or taking off required clothing or protective gear at work
- Exclude travel time required for work
- Eliminate time for mandatory training
Any of the above actions can result in an employee not getting the money he or she has earned. If your paycheck does not reflect all of the hours you are working, you may have a wage and hour claim against your employer.
In New York Tips Belong to Employees and May Not be Withheld
Tips are considered wages in many states, including New York, which means they belong to the employee. The rules that govern calculating and paying tips vary in different industries. Specific regulations define the meaning of tips and establish requirements for employers with regards to pooling, record keeping, applying tip credits, distributing gratuities and more.
The FLSA and New York State labor and employment laws may appear complicated and confusing, but one thing is clear. As an employee, you are entitled to receive fair wages for the hours you put in at your job.
If you think your employer is unfairly withholding wages, tips or overtime, you should find out what your rights are to recover your hard earned money. Whether you are the victim of an inadvertent job misclassification or an unscrupulous boss who refuses to pay minimum wage, you can get help by calling unpaid wage attorneys at Leeds Brown. Time may be of the essence so call today. You can reach someone 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658.