Wage Theft Is Illegal
Attorneys Help Protect Workers from Wage-Theft
Lawyers in the New York City metropolitan area and across New York State, like the ones at Leeds Brown Law, P.C. represent employees when the people or business they work for violate one of the discrimination or wage/hour laws that exist to protect workers. Federal laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provide workers with rights to things such as overtime pay, minimum wages, and gratuities. There are many rules, definitions, and guidelines issued by the US Department of Labor (DOL) and corresponding New York State agencies to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities. These organizations spend their time ensuring that workers across the country receive fair pay and equal treatment. When they don’t, employees have recourse; they can file claims and lawsuits against their employers.
“Wage theft” is a kind of violation that occurs when an employee does not receive money for all of the time he or she has worked. Under the FLSA, this is a fundamental right – you are entitled to receive pay for your work. When your employer does not pay you for all of your hours, does not pay you at least the legal rate, or otherwise pays you less than the law requires it may be considered wage theft and can lead to an unpaid wages claim.
Having experienced unpaid wage attorneys to assist you with your claim can go a long way toward securing a positive outcome. At Leeds Brown, our legal professionals dedicate themselves to providing passionate and aggressive representation for workers who are victims of wage theft. We have spent decades helping employees recover their hard earned money plus other damages to which they may be entitled. We love the work that we do, and it shows in our results.
Do I have an Unpaid Wages Claim?
There are many New York Stateand Federal statutes that provide protection for workers when it comes to earnings and the laws tend to favor employees. Any time your employer fails to provide you with the full compensation to which the laws entitle you, you may have an unpaid wage claim or wage-theft case against them. You may be able to recover back pay plus other monetary damages.
Consider the following scenarios which commonly give rise to wage theft claims or civil lawsuits against employers:
Unpaid overtime – This is perhaps the greatest area in which employers try to avoid their obligations to workers. Overtime is any hours above 40 an employee works in a given workweek. The overtime rate of pay is one-and-a-half times the regular hourly rate. It is also known as time and a half.
Employers go to great lengths to avoid paying overtime because it is expensive. They may do so in some of the following ways –
- Misclassifying workers as exempt administrators, professionals or executives
- Misclassifying employees as exempt independent contractors
- Demanding off the clock work and not calculating those hours into the work week
- Shaving hours
- Averaging paychecks over two weeks (spreading hours over several weeks)
Employers who are legally obligated but do not pay overtime wages to their employees may be subject to punitive fees in addition to the overtime compensation they owe their workers.
Failure to pay minimum wage – Despite state and federal laws, some employers still cheat their employees out of minimum wages. Paying less than the legal minimum hourly rate is a blatant violation that occurs with regularity in various ways. Tipped and day rate workers are particularly vulnerable to minimum wage violations.
Working during deducted breaks – An employer does not have to pay an employee for breaks. However, the breaks must be true breaks – the employee must perform no work duties. If you perform work during your “break,” your employer must compensate you for that time.
Travel time – An employer must pay for travel time if an employee has to participate in work-related travel or is instructed to perform work-related travel during regular business hours.
Working pre-shift and post-shift – Employers sometimes ask workers to perform duties before shift or to stick around after to complete tasks. Usually, employees never get paid for such “off the clock work.” Employees, however, should get paid for all of the work they do. If your employer has you performing tasks off shift, you may be entitled to file a claim to collect your unpaid wages. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time performing such work, you are still legally entitled to those wages, and, over time, they may add up to quite a bit of money.
On-call shifts – On-call time can be hard to figure out. Usually, if employees can use the on-call time for their own purposes, the employer is not required to pay them for it. If employers impose restrictions on employees, during the on-call time, such as requiring them to be on the premises, then there is a greater possibility that the time is compensable.
Compensatory time – Some employers offer workers “comp” time instead of overtime pay. Comp time is hours employees can use for personal time off from work. For example, if you work 10 hours of overtime, instead of receiving overtime pay, you receive 10 hours off during another work period. There are many restrictions on the use of comp time instead of pay, and it is not always lawful to make this kind of arrangement.
If any of the above seem familiar to you and you think that your employer may owe you back wages for regular or overtime hours, reach out to unpaid overtime attorneys at Leeds Brown. Whether you work in the New York area or elsewhere, there are complex regulations that govern your workplace wages. Understanding your basic rights is the first step toward protecting them. Having experienced wage theft lawyers representing you when your employer withholds pay can also be helpful in ensuring you receive all of the wages to which you are legally entitled. We can help you navigate your unpaid wage claim with the dedication and skill that have earned us the gratitude of thousands of satisfied clients.
Someone is available at Leeds Brown to take your call 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658.