Each year, it is estimated that American workers lose between $40 billion and $60 billion to unpaid wages. That figure dwarfs the approximately $5.5 billion in total losses from burglary, robbery, and identity theft combined. Wage theft can take many forms, including failure to pay the minimum wage or overtime, tip theft, and failing to pay for all hours worked. For workers that are the victims of wage theft, there are federal and state laws designed to protect them.
If you suspect that you’re not being compensated correctly for your job, the obvious first step is to talk to your employer. However, in case that doesn’t help, it may be time to get a lawyer involved. A seasoned wage violation lawyer will fight for your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
When it comes to wage violation lawsuits, time is of the essence. You will want to gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. In this regard, a wage and hour attorney will offer advice and guide you in the right direction.
Wage Theft Prevention Act
In 2011, New York’s Wage Theft Prevention Act was enacted, requiring employers to give written notice of wage rates to each new hire. The written notice must include:
- Rate or rates of pay, including overtime rate of pay when applicable
- How the employee is paid (by the hour, salary, etc.)
- Regular payday
- The official name of the employer and any other names used for the business
- Address and phone number of the employer’s main office or location
- Allowances taken as part of the minimum wage, such as tips and meal and lodging deductions
Under the law, the notice must be given both in English and in the employee’s primary language.
Minimum Wage Violations
According to the New York State Department of Labor, the minimum wage has increased to $15 per hour for businesses of any size in New York City. In Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, it is $15 per hour, while in the remainder of the state, it is $13.20 per hour. These rates differ for those in the fast food industry and those who receive tips.
When you are an employee who is able to work for overtime pay, you expect to receive those wages. But when that doesn’t happen, you may feel betrayed by your employer.
New York has strict regulations on overtime violations including:
- Those who are permitted to receive overtime pay must be compensated at the rate of 1½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek
- Compensation for overtime violations in the form of back pay, damages caused by the failure to pay overtime rates, and attorney’s fees if applicable
If you are a server, bartender, or hospitality worker in New York City, you probably rely on tips for the majority of your income. But when your employer doesn’t clearly explain the business tip process, you may be cheated out of your rightfully earned money.
In New York City, employers may follow tip sharing, tip pooling, and/or the tip credit system. When done correctly and conveyed to employees appropriately, this is not an issue for businesses or employees. But, when an employer does not follow state protocol correctly, tip theft may occur.
Unpaid Wages and Illegal Deductions
If you have not been paid for work you have done, you need legal guidance. Such cases of unpaid wages may include:
- Your employer did not pay you for all hours worked including job training
- Your paycheck bounced due to insufficient funds
- You did not receive all tips earned
- Your rate of pay was lowered without notice
In addition, in New York, your employer cannot take illegal deductions from your pay. These may include:
- Shortage of cash
- Business loss
- Deductions not listed in Section 193 of the Labor Law
- Charges for check replacement
- Overcharges for paid family leave
You work hard for your paycheck. Don’t let an employer take advantage of you, resulting in unfair payment. If you have a wage and hour claim against your employer, we can help.
Contact Brown Kwon & Lam, LLP if you believe you have a wage and hour violation.
1. What Do Unpaid Wages Include?
Employees in New York are entitled to all their earnings, including bonuses, fringe benefits, commissions, and overtime pay. You must receive this compensation on time, even when you’re no longer associated with your workplace. In case your employer is withholding your payments unfairly, you may be able to recover losses through a wage and hour claim.
In addition to this, any deductions from your paycheck that were not explicitly authorized in advance may be illegal. Be sure to talk to a New York wage and hour attorney if you believe you have experienced illegal deductions from your pay. An unpaid wage attorney is your best shot at getting your rightful dues.
2. How Many Hours Can You Legally Work Per Day in New York?
Under New York law, employers are not restricted by the number of hours they require employees to work each day. In other words, an employer may legally assign 8-hour, 10-hour, 12-hour, or longer shifts, depending on company policy.
However, overtime laws apply when an employee works for more than 40 hours in one week. This means that as a nonexempt employee in New York, you must be paid for all hours worked over 40 in a payroll week. Farm laborers qualify for overtime pay if they work for more than 60 hours a week.
The minimum overtime wage rate is 1.5 times the employee’s standard rate of pay. If your employer refuses to pay overtime compensation, reach out to a New York wage and hour attorney.
3. What is the Minimum Wage in New York?
As of 2021, New York State’s minimum wage was $15 per hour. This amount is expected to stay the same through 2022.
However, the minimum wage varies based on where you live. The minimum wage in New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties is $15 per hour for both big and small firms. But in the remainder of the state, the minimum wage is $13.20 per hour.
No matter the amount, you deserve your full payment at all times. In case a New York employer is cheating you out of your rightful dues, get an unpaid wage attorney to assess your case.
4. How Can a New York Wage and Hour Attorney Help Me with My Case?
Although New York employers have a lot of leeway in deciding employee wages, they must follow relevant laws. Additionally, they cannot retaliate against employees who demand their rightful pay.
So, if you work off the books, are forced to clock out and continue working, do not get meal breaks, and have your tips stolen, you may be dealing with wage and hour violations.
Do not hesitate to reach out to the wage and hour lawyers at Brown Kwon and Lam with your case. Our legal team will stand by your side and help you seek justice.