Wage and Hour Disputes
Workers who are paid by the hour have long been vulnerable to theft of wages by employers. In addition, many salaried employees and even people classified by their employers as “independent contractors” may be entitled to overtime compensation. Many workers are unaware they are owed thousands of dollars in wages to which they are entitled by federal law and state laws.
Wage theft can occur in almost any job and in almost any location. Common types of violations include:
- Minimum wage: The minimum wage for most employees in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester is $15 per hour. The minimum wage for most employees in the rest of New York State is $14.20. Minimum wage violations often occur when employees work “off the clock” or when employees are paid a day rate or shift rate that works out to less than the minimum wage for all hours worked.
- Wage and hour for restaurant workers: Employers may take a “tip credit” to pay tipped restaurant employees, such as servers, runners, bussers, and bartenders, less than the New York minimum wage only if they are given the necessary written notice and spend at least 80% of a shift performing tipped work. Tipped restaurant workers who do not receive the required notice or who spend more than two hours or 20% of their shifts performing sidework may be able to bring minimum wage claims.
- Overtime: Federal and New York law require employers to pay non-exempt employees 150 percent of their base pay for every hour worked above 40 hours per week. Nevertheless, some employers require or allow their workers to work overtime without paying this overtime premium. Some businesses may avoid paying employees for excess hours by paying a day rate or shift rate; they do not pay workers after their expected shifts have ended. When these abuses are not stopped, workers may lose thousands of dollars, individually and as a group.
- Misclassified workers: Salaried employees are entitled to receive overtime compensation unless they are paid a high enough salary and meet certain job duties requirements set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York law. Employers may classify some salaried workers as overtime exempt even though the employees’ actual job duties make them entitled to receive overtime pay. This type of misclassification is a particular problem among administrative and computer technology workers.
- Independent contractors: There is a fine line between employee and consultant or independent contractor. Employers may improperly classify an individual as an independent contractor to avoid employment law requirements, like minimum wage and overtime, among others.
- Timely payment of wages: New York law requires employers to pay “manual workers” on a weekly basis. “Manual workers” include all types of employees who spend more than 25% of their workday performing physical tasks. If an employer does not pay manual workers on a weekly basis, the employees may be able to recover substantial damages.
- Unpaid commissions: Individuals who earn commissions for their work, both employees and independent contractors, rely on employers paying them their rightfully earned commissions on a timely basis. State and local laws in New York protect these workers and require the timely payment of commissions, without undue delay or outright denial.
Joseph & Kirschenbaum’s accomplishments in wage and hour matters include:
- A more than $5 million judgment after trial against two New York City Valbella restaurants on behalf of classes of tipped employees who claimed that they were not provided notice of the tip credit
- $16 million settlement for a class of bankers that asserted claims for unpaid overtime
- $8.4 million settlement for a class of delivery drivers who were paid biweekly instead of weekly
- $7.5 million settlement for a group of delivery drivers who were classified as independent contractors and were not paid an overtime premium
- $2.54 million settlement for a class of retail employees who asserted claims for unpaid overtime
- $1 million settlement for a class of tipped restaurant employees who claimed that they were improperly paid pursuant to a tip credit
- Arbitration award of more than $900,000 for attorney who was not paid all wages due
- $250,000 settlement of salesperson’s claims for unpaid commissions
You may be concerned about lost wages, by earning less than minimum wage, unpaid overtime or other hourly wage disputes. You may feel your role is not properly classified or you are incorrectly working as an independent contractor. Perhaps your commissions are not paid as earned and promptly.
Contact the employment law firm of Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP to explore your situation. The attorneys will review the facts of your employment and advise you on possible next steps on these issues. Arrange a no-cost evaluation by calling 212-688-5640, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us online using this form. Se habla español.