Unpaid Wage Attorneys Help Employees File Claims
At Leeds Brown Law, P.C., we take great pride in representing workers nationwide including Long Island, New York City and the surrounding counties. We have decades of experience helping employees secure the wages to which they are legally entitled. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the bar for rules about payments for overtime work and minimum wages. The Act is complicated and confusing, and employees can benefit from speaking with legal professionals about their rights and remedies.
If your employer is withholding wages, not paying minimum wage, stealing your gratuities, not providing overtime pay or violating your rights in any other way, consider calling Leeds Brown for a free case evaluation. When your employer owes you money, having dedicated wage and hour attorneys advocating for your rights can help you to achieve success in your unpaid wages case.
Fair Labor Standards Act – Terms to Know
Yes, the FLSA is complicated. It can take years of practice to understand the intricacies and substance of its provisions. However, as an employee, you may want to familiarize yourself with some of its terms:
Employees who file successful FLSA successful claims may receive an additional monetary award of reasonable attorney’s fees.
Compensatory time also called “comp time” is time off from work instead of overtime pay. For example, if you work 50 hours in a workweek, you receive 10 hours off from work the following week instead of 10 hours of overtime pay. Providing comp time instead of overtime wages is permissible in some circumstances.
Department of Labor (DOL)
The United States Department of Labor, or DOL, is the federal agency that oversees and enforces the provisions of the FLSA.
There are some employees who may be exempt from the overtime and/or minimum wage provisions of the FLSA.
Under certain circumstances, exemptions from the minimum wage provisions of the FLSA include, but are not limited to, employees who are farmworkers, babysitters, seasonal recreational workers, commissioned employees, executives, administrators, and professionals.
Exemptions from FLSA overtime rules also can include employees who are executives, administrators, and professionals who satisfy a specific salary test and duties test. The duties generally require a relatively high level of discretion and education.
Some FLSA claims stem from employers classifying employees as exempt administrators, professionals, and executives when, in fact, the employees do not perform any work that would fall into those categories. These employees seek to prove that they are not exempt and are, therefore, entitled to overtime and other wages.
A person who is an independent contractor under the law is not an employee and is not necessarily entitled to the same wage and hour protections under the FLSA. Characteristics of an independent contractor include working for more than one company at one time and maintaining control over most aspects of work including pricing and decision making. Determining who is an independent contractor and who is an employee is case specific.
True independent contractors are usually not eligible to receive overtime pay or many benefits available to employees. For these reasons, many workers file claims alleging businesses wrongfully categorize them as independent contractors when they are really employees.
Liquidated damages is another name for double damages. In a successful FLSA unpaid wage claim, employees can be awarded double the amount of their unlawfully unpaid back wages. An employee may get less if the business can prove that it reasonably believed that it was paying wages in compliance with the FLSA.
The FLSA sets the lowest wage an employer can legally provide for a non-exempt employee. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. States also have minimum wage laws, however, and the higher wage prevails.
Employees entitled to receive overtime and/or minimum wage under the FLSA are called nonexempt.
Off the Clock
Off the clock work is also called “off duty” work. It is work employees perform outside regular work hours for which they often do not receive pay. For example, staying late to perform tasks after clocking out, bringing something home to do or cleaning equipment may be off the clock work. Many FLSA cases involve employees trying to recapture compensation for this work.
When a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek, he or she is entitled to receive overtime pay. Overtime pay gets calculated at the rate of one and a half times the regular rate of pay. For example, an employee with a regular rate of pay of $20 per hour should receive $30 per hour for every hour she works over 40 in a given week.
Regular Rate of Pay
If overtime is time-and-a-half of an employee’s “regular rate” of pay, how do you figure out the regular rate?
For an hourly employee, the regular rate of pay is the hourly wage for all non-overtime work performed. For a salaried employee, it is the salary divided by the number of non-overtime hours worked. For example, an employee who earns a salary of $400 per week and works 40 hours during that week has a regular rate of $10 per hour.
Discrimination and Retaliation
The law prohibits retaliation or discrimination against any employee who tries to assert his or her rights under the FLSA. An employer may not fire, demote, harass, transfer, withhold pay or otherwise punish a worker who attempts to recover wages.
State and City Law
New York, like most states, and New York City, like many large cities, have additional wage and hour laws that augment the federal FLSA. Employees are entitled to the more extensive benefits of city, state and federal laws. For example, the minimum wage in New York State is higher than the federal minimum wage outlined in the FLSA and employees in New York should be receiving the higher amount. The minimum wage is even higher in New York City for certain types of employers and employees should be paid the increased amount.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for an FLSA claim varies depending on the specific circumstances of the alleged unpaid wage violations.
While this list of terms is by no means comprehensive, it gives you some insight into the complexities of the FLSA and its provisions. One thing is clear; there are numerous ways employers avoid their obligations under United States, New York State and New York City employment laws. If you are working for a business that owes you back pay for overtime, minimum wages, off the clock work or tips consider speaking with someone at Leeds Brown.
You, like so many New Yorkers, work hard for your paycheck and deserve each and every dollar to which the law entitles you. Don’t be a silent victim of wage theft or retaliation. Enforce your rights.
Contact unpaid wage attorneys at Leeds Brown to find out if you have a viable claim against your employer. Our hands-on, team-based approach means that you receive personal and professional attention from our experienced legal team. You can reach someone 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658.