After New York increased the minimum wage for some employees, more than 1.5 million New Yorkers saw a raise come their way. However, that doesn’t mean that all businesses were eager to comply so quickly. Many employees have found that they need legal guidance to ensure they’re not being taken advantage of.
If you are employed in New York and believe that you have not been compensated under the new laws, contact the New York wage attorneys at Brown Kwon & Lam, LLP now.
New York Minimum Wage Increase
On December 31, 2021, New York State officials increased the minimum wage for certain regions and counties in the state. Several others remain the same, however. The minimum wage rates include:
- NYC – Big Employers (of 11 or more): $15.00 per hour
- NYC – Smaller Employers (of 10 or less): $15.00 per hour
- Long Island and Westchester counties: $15.00 per hour
- The remainder of New York state workers: $13.20 per hour
Under the New York law of the Minimum Wage Act, all employees in New York State must receive at a minimum the applicable hourly wage rate.
Wage Order Standards
However, wage orders can set industry-specific rates that may differ from the state minimum wage. It is important to understand that each industry has a set of rules that can cause wage issues.
For example, here are some exceptions that exist in various industries:
- Individuals who work in the food, hospitality, or service industry may qualify as tipped employees. This means that some employers may take credit for the basic minimum hourly rate. They can only do this if a service employee or food service worker receives enough tips to meet that minimum and if the employee has been notified of the tip credit.
- Individuals who work in the building service industry may receive an apartment or housing credit which applies to their wages.
- Individuals who employ farmworkers are subjected to additional standards. This can pertain to living environments for seasonal employees, meals, etc.
Industry-specific guidelines on wage rates and applicable factors are available on the New York State Department of Labor website here.
Room For Error with Wages
While these guidelines exist, there is still room for error by employers. For example, Hudson Hall LLC was caught in a class-action lawsuit for not complying with new wage standards. Their employees were not correctly compensated and were not receiving overtime pay.
This is not the first or the last time a business will unfairly pay employees. But if it happens to you, know there are law firms out there who can help you seek justice.
Penalties for Minimum Wage Violations
Victims of these violations may be able to collect liquidated damages in addition to their lost wages. This means that you can collect 100% of your unpaid wages and an additional sum of money. In some situations, the sum may equate to your unpaid wages. This means you may have $1,000 in unpaid wages and another $1,000 in damages.
In addition, you may also collect the following fees as part of a winning case:
- Interest on unpaid wages
- Attorneys’ fees
- Legal costs
In cases where your employer failed to support pertinent information, you may also receive additional compensation for:
- Failure to provide notice of pay rate: Your employer must provide a written notice that includes the rate of pay, the employer’s legal business name, and other information. When your notice isn’t provided within ten business days of the start of employment, the employee can collect $50 for each workday that the violation continues. This continues up to $5,000.
- Failure to provide wage statements: Employers must provide documentation during each pay period that includes the rate of pay, the number of hours worked, deductions made, etc. When your employer fails to do so, you may be able to collect $250 for each day the violation continues. This continues up to $5,000.
FAQs for Minimum Wage Violations
Q1. What Compensation Can I Receive from a Wage Violation In New York?
The exact amount of financial compensation for violations depends on certain factors. These include the specific facts of your case, whether you’ve filed your claim in the state or federal court, and the laws that apply to your claim.
Our seasoned lawyers will study all the aspects of your case and create a robust legal roadmap. Based on that, we’ll help you make sound decisions regarding compensation from the concerned employer.
You may be entitled to lawyer’s fees and statutory damages as well. We’ll make sure to hold your employer accountable and that you receive full monetary compensation.
Q2. Which Wage Rate Applies to Me: Federal, State, or Local?
As per the laws governing minimum wage violation cases, this aspect may differ from case to case. While your employer cannot pay you lower than the federal minimum wage, they also need to abide by the state laws when the state determines its own minimum wage rate above the federal state.
Federal wage law applies to all employers across America. But if you work in a state/city with its own wage laws, your employer should ideally pay you according to whichever law is more generous to employees.
Our lawyers know that the local wage ordinance determines the minimum wage rate in any city, and it can differ from federal and state rates. However, this doesn’t allow employers to pay you less than the federal/state rates.
Q3. Can My Employer Pay Me Less Than Minimum Wage If I Get Tips?
There’s no fixed answer to this question as it depends on how much money you make in tips and your state’s laws.
As mentioned, your employer needs to pay according to the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher. However, things can get tricky when tips come into the picture.
As per federal law, your employer can pay you a lower minimum wage if you routinely earn at least $30 in tips. But they can do this only if your wages and tips allow you to make at least the minimum wage for each hour you work. If you earn less than that rate, your employer needs to make up the difference.
Q4. Do I Need an Attorney for My Minimum Wage Rate Issue?
Whether you’re an employee who’s enduring minimum wage violations or an employer with a pay rate issue, you’ll do well to consult with experienced New York employment law lawyers.
This legal area can be extremely complex as each state has its own minimum wage laws. Working with a knowledgeable local attorney will ensure that you have someone familiar with your state’s specific laws in your corner. They’ll know how these laws will affect your case and help you explore your legal options accordingly.
You can always count on us. We’ll stand up for you, protect your rights, and represent you in court if required.
New York Minimum Wage Violations: Brown Kwon & Lam
Some employers will do anything if it helps them save a few bucks. As experienced minimum wage lawyers, we’ve dealt with numerous cases where employers have broken state and federal laws by paying their employees less than the minimum wage.
Our New York lawyers have a proven track record of helping clients hold their past/current employers financially accountable. No employer should be cheating their employees out of their hard-earned money. We’ll provide you with the legal guidance and representation you need against any employer who has denied you the pay owed to you.
If you have not been compensated correctly under the new New York minimum wage requirements, contact the employment attorneys at Brown Kwon & Lam, LLP today. We fight for your right to a fair wage and get you the payments your employers owe you.