Wage & Hour Claims
During the past year, the news reports included many stories about restaurant and hospitality workers uniting to demand higher wages and better working conditions. However, wage theft and other unfair practices are by no means limited to the food service and hospitality industries. Workers of all types—from wait staff to tradespeople to administrators and professionals—can become victims of exploitation by their employers. Often, workers do not even realize that they are being systematically deprived of thousands of dollars in wages to which they are entitled under the laws of the United States, New York State and New York City. Our attorneys at Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP know that wage theft and exploitation are not problems limited to only one type or class of worker. That is why we make it our business to serve as both a sympathetic ear and an undeniable voice for New York's exploited workers.Types of New York City wage and hour issues
Federal laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act are limited in the wage and hour protections they provide to workers. However, both New York State and New York City laws go much further, providing a wide range of employment rights and privileges that include the following:
- General wage and hour – Most workers in New York are entitled to at least an $8.75 per hour minimum wage as well as time-and-one-half for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. New York law also regulates pay issues for rest and meal breaks, on-call time and off-the-clock work such as donning and doffing.
- Wage and hour for restaurant workers – Because many restaurant workers do not receive a minimum wage, tips typically constitute the bulk of their earnings. That is why New York City and New York State have instituted numerous laws designed to prevent tip theft and misappropriation by restaurant and hospitality owners. Tips are strictly protected and cannot be seized by owners or shared with non-tipped staff.
- Prevailing wage laws – Tradespeople working on government and government-related contracts have extensive rights to minimum levels of pay and benefits, regardless of whether they are members of a union. Some tradespeople may be entitled to a prevailing wage in excess of $40.00 per hour along with fringe benefits. As a result, many tradespeople who consider themselves well compensated are in fact being deprived of thousands of dollars in wages to which they are legally entitled.
- Misclassified workers – Most people know that salaried workers do not receive overtime for staying late, coming in early or working weekends. However, just because your employer designates you as salaried does not mean that you meet the criteria set by the Fair Labor Standards Act to be exempt from overtime requirements. This type of misclassification is increasingly common, especially among administrative and computer technology workers.
- Independent contractor issues – Another trick that employers have adopted is to misclassify people as independent contractors to avoid minimum wage, overtime and other employment law requirements. Much like classification of salaried-exempt employees, however, just because your employer says that you are an independent contractor does not make it a legal truth.
- Unpaid commissions – In many cases, commissioned workers—both employees and independent contractors—live at the whim of their employers and feel they have no recourse when payment of their rightfully earned commissions is delayed or outright denied. However, state and local laws in New York do provide protections and require the timely payment of commissions due.
- Equal Pay Act – Gender inequality in compensation for work is subject not only to prohibition under the Civil Rights Act but also special regulation under amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act known as the Equal Pay Act. However, the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act each offer different remedies and carry different limitations and requirements. Unfortunately, many women have been denied the benefit of these laws simply because they failed to act quickly enough to pursue their rights.
Over nearly two decades, our knowledgeable team at the law firm of Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP has built an exemplary reputation throughout New York as staunch and effective advocates for workers of all types who are victims of wage injustice. Our attorneys understand the anger that comes with realizing you have been deprived of your rightful pay and the fear that can come with making the decision to stand up to your employer. That is why we are here to fight for you every step of the way. Contact us today to arrange a no-cost intake evaluation. We are available toll free at 1.866.348.7394 or online. Se habla espanol.