Unpaid Wages in New York City
Don’t Be a Victim of Unpaid Wages in New York City
If you are thinking about calling someone about unpaid wages, like the attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C., representing employees in New York City, consider the following questions:
- Do you work more than 40 hours per week?
- Do you receive overtime pay or time-and-a-half when you do?
- Are you making below minimum wage?
- Does your employer say you are an independent contractor?
- Do you think you may be an employee?
- Does your employer say you are not supposed to get overtime pay because you earn a salary?
- Do you work for tips and have to share them?
- Are you paid all the tips that you earn?
The answers to the above questions may determine if you should investigate filing a claim for wage theft against your employer. Wage theft occurs when an employer violates one of the many wage/hour laws, and the result is less pay in an employee’s pockets. Anytime a business fails to pay overtime or minimum wage to an eligible worker, it is illegal and may result in the filing of a claim.
At Leeds Brown, our wage theft attorneys understand the legal obligations of employers to pay workers. When employers don’t fulfill their obligations, we are available to help you hold them accountable and secure the money to which law entitles you. Overtime, minimum wage, and tip laws can be confusing and complicated. An employee may be afraid to speak up out of fear of losing his or her job. Don’t let your employer take advantage of you. Understand your rights to collect wages by calling Leeds Brown.
Violations of Overtime Laws Cost Workers Money
Overtime regulations are set out in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law (NYLL). These laws state that eligible employees must receive pay at one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours they work above 40 in a workweek. Overtime, also called time-and-a-half, is premium pay designed to reward workers for extra hours they put in. For instance, an eligible employee with a regular rate of $12.00 per hour who works 50 hours in a workweek, will earn $12.00 for 40 hours and $18.00 per hour for the extra 10. The extra pay can make a big difference to a hard worker trying to make ends meet, especially in New York.
Some employers, however, routinely violate overtime laws. For many of those employers, violating overtime laws is an easy, though unlawful, way to keep expenses down. Overtime pay for one or many employees can be a burden for businesses, and they will often go to extremes to avoid paying workers a premium for their time. Some examples of ways employers violate overtime laws:
- Misclassifying employees as exempt under the narrow professional, executive and administrative exceptions to eligibility for overtime
- Misclassifying employees as independent contractors (who are not eligible for overtime).
- Shaving hours to avoid overtime
- Demanding off the clock work to keep hours low
- Ignoring work performed before and after a shift
- Failing to pay for time spent working through breaks
- Refusing to pay for overtime worked, claiming it was unauthorized
- Arguing that because they pay workers on a salary basis instead of hourly, those workers are not entitled to overtime
- Taking advantage of employees who do not understand their rights by threatening their jobs or issuing punishment if they report wage violations or otherwise seek to secure their overtime.
There are tests to determine what it means to be an employee who is actually exempt from overtime rules or an independent contractor who is not an employee and thus not entitled to overtime. Each case looks at several factors to make a final decision as to whether an employer is in violation of the law and owes back pay to overtime eligible employees. Even if the failure to pay overtime was a simple oversight, the company is still legally obligated to pay the employee who performed the work.
The law prohibits an employer from retaliating against or targeting an employee who seeks to clarify the overtime rules and whether he or she is receiving proper overtime wages.
Employees Deserve Minimum Wages
The FLSA and the NYLL require employers to pay workers minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Many states, including New York, have a minimum wage that is higher than the federal one. Nearly all employees are entitled to minimum wage, yet employers routinely find ways to violate this very important legal requirement. When they do, it takes money from some of the hardest working members of our communities. Ways employers violate minimum wage may laws include:
- Miscalculating or misusing tip-credits for tipped workers
- Deducting the cost of uniforms from paycheck so hourly wage falls below the legal threshold
- Forcing workers to make up for cash register shortages, breakage and other items that can push wages below the legal threshold
- Targeting an employee for demanding minimum wage or filing a claim
- Telling employees, they are not entitled to minimum wage because they earn a salary or some commissions
Unfortunately, many of the workers who bear the brunt of minimum wage violations are largely unaware of their rights and need their jobs the most. No one wants to be labeled a trouble maker or have to find new work where the conditions and violations might be even worse. Don’t be the victim of an unscrupulous employer. Understand your rights, enforce them, and make sure your “take-home” pay includes every dollar you deserve.
Employers in New York Pay Back Wages and Steep Penalties
When your employer violates minimum wage, overtime or other wage/hour laws, you are entitled to take action to collect your earnings. You may be able to file a lawsuit in court or an claim with the Department of Labor. If your employer retaliates against you, you may be awarded significant damages in addition to back pay. Your employer may also have to pay thousands of dollars in fines.
You work hard for your money. Don’t assume your company is following the law and paying you everything it entitles you to receive. The first way to ensure that your wages are correct is to understand the rules.
Contact experienced wage theft attorneys at Leeds Brown for a free consultation. Our lawyers can evaluate your case and help determine the best way to get you on the road to recovering the wages that belong in your pocket, not your employer’s.
Call Leeds Brown, taking wage theft cases in New York City and the surrounding areas, at 1-800-585-4658. Time may be of the essence so preserve your right to file an unpaid wage or overtime claim by calling now. Someone is here to take your call 24/7.