New York City workers are protected by state and federal laws requiring them to be fairly compensated for their work. Workers are guaranteed to earn at least a minimum wage for all their work. Workers who work more than 40 hours during a single workweek are entitled to overtime pay for one and a half times their regular hourly rate.
Unfortunately, many employers intentionally or unintentionally violate wage and hour laws, resulting in employees not receiving the full amount of compensation they have earned. If you suspect that your employer has been withholding compensation from you, it is important that you discuss your case with an attorney. You may have a valid legal claim against your employer for compensatory damages and potentially punitive damages.
Common Examples of Wage and Hour Violations in New York
Employers can violate wage and overtime laws in many different ways by underpaying employees for their work. If you have worked hard for your employer and learned that you have not been fully compensated for your work, it can be disheartening to learn that this happens more often than many people realize. Thankfully multiple laws protect you as a worker and ensure you receive the wage you deserve on time from your employer. Some of the most common wage and hour violations in New York include the following:
Employers are not providing enough legally mandated breaks for employees during the work day. Your employer cannot force you to work through breaks without paying you.
Employers must refrain from classifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying employee benefits and other types of compensation to save money.
Minimum wage violations are another prevalent type of wage theft from employees.
Overtime violations occur when employers do not pay employees time and a half their regular rate for overtime hours worked.
Your employer cannot ask you to work off the clock to avoid paying you. You deserve to pay for every hour you work, including work you take home or otherwise finish away from your usual job site. Your employer must pay you for preparation, work-related travel, and side work.
Minimum Wage Violations in New York
Under New York’s minimum wage law, Employers in New York state must pay employees at least $14.20 per hour as of December 31st, 2022. If an employee lives in New York City, they may be entitled to a higher minimum wage. According to the New York minimum wage act, all New York state employees must receive, at a minimum, the applicable hourly wage rate. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as individuals who work in the service, hospitality, or food industry who qualify as tipped employees. If your employer has failed to pay you a minimum wage, you may be entitled to liquidated damages and lost wages. You may be able to obtain all of your unpaid wages plus an additional sum of money. The sum may equate to your unpaid wages. You may also be able to recover interest on your unpaid wages and attorneys fees and costs.
New York State Eligibility for Overtime Payment
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ensures that workers are adequately compensated for their work. Employers must pay non-exempt employees time and a half of the employee’s normal hourly rate for all hours worked above 40 in a week. If your employer has failed to pay you overtime, you have two years to file a lawsuit in federal court against the employer for unpaid overtime or wages. It is a violation by your employer that is willful. You have three years to file a claim. If you file under New York state law, you have six years to sue for wage theft. In some cases, combining your state and federal claim and litigating both simultaneously in federal court to maximize your recovery is possible.
There is an exception to the general rule for professionals, administrative, and executive employees who are exempt from overtime. However, just because your employer has categorized you as exempt from overtime pay does not mean they are correct. If you think your employer is wrongfully classifying you as exempt from overtime pay to save money, it is worth speaking to an attorney. For example, if you are working over 40 hours a week as a professional, administrative, or executive employee and not making at least the minimum salary to qualify for an exemption under New York law, you are required to be paid overtime.
Wage and Hour Violations for Undocumented Workers
Undocumented workers are still protected by state and federal wage and hour violation laws. Employers must pay them their legally required wages. New York courts have the right to force an employer to give an employee back pay to compensate them, even if the employee is not legally in the United States. Employers cannot raise immigration issues when the employee sues the employer for payment of minimum wages are overtime.
Restaurant Tip Credit Laws in New York
New York’s tip credit workers law is complex and states how much of an employee’s tip credit can be taken and who can share in the company’s tip pools. Overtime for tip credit workers can also be a challenging issue. If you are a tipped worker and you believe your employer has not been paying you a fair amount of tips or isn’t following New York law, it is crucial that you discuss your case with an experienced attorney.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Employment Attorney in New York
There are many states and federal wage and hour laws employers must comply with when paying their employees. Unfortunately, many employers do not comply with these laws, and employees are the ones who suffer by not earning their full compensation. If you believe you have a valid claim for the theft of overtime or minimum wages, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. At HKM Employment Attorneys, we represent clients in a wide range of employment law matters in New Paltz, New York, and the surrounding area. Contact HKM Employment Attorneys to schedule an initial consultation and learn how we can fight for you.