New York

New York State Department of Labor

The Empire State of New York is home to nearly 20 million people, per a 2008 estimate. With a gross state product of $1.1 trillion, New York boasts an economy around the size of the entire country of Turkey. New York City, New York, serves as the epicenter of business and finance in the western hemisphere. From tourism to entertainment to livestock to chemical production to import-export services, New York supports a gargantuan and multi-faceted economy.

The New York State Department of Labor manages all labor-related disputes, such as:

  1. Harassment. Supervisors and coworkers cannot subject employees to lewd comments or jokes or to ply coworkers or subordinates with unwanted sexual advances.

  2. Retaliation. State and federal laws protect employees from discrimination, harassment or other workplace violations of their legal rights. Unfortunately, some employers illegally retaliate against workers for complaining about abuses by reducing work hours, demoting employees, or fostering or allowing a hostile work environment.

  3. Discrimination. Workers of all genders, races, national origins, disabilities, religions, and other characteristics must receive the same treatment as their colleagues. This protection extends to decisions about whether to hire a qualified candidate as well as whether to promote an employee or assign specific work duties.

  4. Wage and hour violations. New York employers must observe state and national laws regarding compensation. They must classify employees correctly, pay fair overtime to eligible workers, and keep accurate timecards.

  5. Whistleblower and Sarbanes Oxley claims. Since 2002, the Sarbanes Oxley Act has provided protection for employees who report suspected illegal or fraudulent activity of their employers. The law also protects those employees who refuse to participate in such allegedly fraudulent or illegal conduct.

The DOL handles unemployment and insurance questions, workforce development training, worker protection, and other key services. In addition, the DOL puts out press releases, publishes information for workers online and offline, holds public meetings and hearings, and files annual reports about various worker’s rights issues.

Per the DOL’s website, the agency’s mission is to offer assistance to the unemployed, connect employers with people who need work, diligently ensure the safety of New York workers and the public, and help law abiding employers get a fair deal.

Despite New York City’s great wealth, the city is home to incredible inequalities. Numerous prominent New York City restaurateurs, for instance, have grievously underpaid their workers, violated wage and hour laws, disobeyed rules against harassment and discrimination, and retaliated against workers who’ve alleged unfair practices. Fortunately, awareness regarding this type of behavior has risen due to recent high-profile cases. When companies violate the law, employees who fight back against abuses empower other workers to do the same.

If your New York City employer has been treating you unfairly, you may worry that he or she has the “upper hand.” However, with state and federal law (and a qualified employment attorney) on your side, you can get the compensation and fair treatment you deserve. To discuss the validity of your potential case, contact a New York employment law firm, such as Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP, for a confidential assessment.