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New York Overtime Pay & Unpaid Wages Lawyers – NY Department of Labor

Unpaid Wages and Overtime: Know Your Rights as an Employee


There are laws in place that protect employees and ensure that they’re fairly compensated for the work they perform. This is especially true where an employer requires an employee to work overtime, or hours beyond their normally scheduled shift. While the law establishes how employees must be compensated through minimum wage and overtime laws, less reputable employers might try to take advantage of an employee.

On the other side of the coin, some employers may be charged with violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Minimum Wage Act, or other state or federal labor laws. These aren’t always legitimate claims or charges, and the employer may need to show that they have acted in compliance with the laws. An audit by the federal or state Department of Labor offices can adversely affect the business if they don’t have a legal representative experienced in dealing with such situations.

Common Types of Unpaid Wages

One of the most obvious examples of unpaid wages is the nonpayment of wages for regular hours worked, which may include under-reporting the number of hours worked by the employee. In other instances, the employee may be compelled to work overtime hours, yet may not receive the appropriate compensation for the additional time. They may receive straight pay instead of overtime pay, which generally consists of time and a half, or they may not receive pay for those hours at all.

The employer may also make errors in distinguishing between exempt and nonexempt employees, which can affect the net pay for the individuals concerned. Depending on the type of work involved, the employee may rely on sales commissions or bonuses as a part of their total compensation package. In these cases, a failure to pay a commission or bonus can also be considered unpaid wages. Similarly, denying pay for break periods, or where the law requires the employer to pay for lunch breaks, can fall under the category of unpaid regular wages.

In some cases, unpaid wages may be the result of an honest error in bookkeeping. Other circumstances may also have caused an employee to be underpaid for his work. While there are certainly some less reputable employers in today’s society, many incidences are the result of honest errors. In either case, experienced attorneys will have the expertise to sort out issues of nonpayment, and mediation can often help avoid a lengthy court hearing.

Real-World Examples of Unpaid or Underpaid Wages

Even when you take the time to learn about labor laws, it can be difficult to understand them in a practical context. By looking at real-world examples of the previously mentioned types of nonpayment, you can more easily identify situations in which you may not be receiving your rightful pay. Conversely, these examples may help employers avoid situations in which they’re mistakenly underpaying their employees or independent contractors.

  • Paying unequal rates, based upon gender or race, for performing similar duties.
  • Erroneously classifying employees as nonexempt for the purpose of denying them overtime work.
  • Compelling employees to work through their breaks and lunches, but still deducting pay for those breaks.
  • Requested to stay after shift has ended to complete work without pay.
  • Withholding tips from wait staff or bartenders, where they receive less than minimum wage.
  • Denying overtime pay to employees for telecommuting work done from home.

These circumstances are some of the more common experiences, though other incidents may not be covered here. If you feel you’re not being paid fairly, you should contact an experienced attorney to discuss the matter in confidence. Attorneys who regularly work in this area of the law will know how to handle your case to protect you from retaliation by your employer. In many cases, employees won’t come forward and speak up for themselves, fearing they may be terminated or that their undocumented citizenship status may be reported. Even in these cases, employees are protected from retaliation under state and federal employment laws. Fear should never keep you from seeking that which you have a right to receive.

Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but states or cities may establish a higher rate for employers in their jurisdictions. For this reason, it’s always important to check the Department of Labor fact sheets, which should be posted in your place of employment. If you don’t see the information posted, you can ask your employer to provide the information, or you may contact the local Department of Labor website. In today’s digital age, it’s much easier to locate information about your rights as an employee.

Seeking legal representation can help ensure you receive all of the pay you’re owed and that you’re paid fairly for the work you perform. As is always true, your consultation with an experienced lawyer is confidential, whether you hire the lawyer or not. Even a single consultation can provide you with a better understanding of your rights as an employee.

New York Overtime Pay and Unpaid Wage Lawyers – US Department of Labor Complaints

If you haven’t received payment for wages or overtime, you should seek a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys represent the employees wronged because of employers that violated wage and hour laws. We have lawyers who understand this area of law exceptionally well, and in addition, we have also represented the companies who received an audit from the United States Department of Labor for hour and wage disputes. We represent the employers who face penalties because of non-payment for breaks, which is required by labor law and unpaid wages.

Some of the disputes that we have represented clients for include:

  • Under-reporting the number of hours worked
  • Not paying wages
  • Failure to pay for overtime wages
  • Not paying for paid time off
  • Unpaid sales commissions
  • Paying for meals, breaks, and rest

Examples of the Disputes We Cover

Let’s say the employer denies an employee who telecommutes to work overtime pay for what they did from home. We’d work hard to represent the employee in that case. In addition, we represent food service staff and bartenders who receive less than minimum wage for their work, and the employer withholds their tips. You can take legal action in these cases. The employees who don’t receive payment for working through their lunch break could also be grounds for legal action. Finally, we represent cases where unequal pay took place between people of different sexes and races.

Technology-Driven Workplace

We work in an environment that looks so different from what it did five decades ago. Technology has become the beating heart of the workplace today, and employees must remain available for calls from the boss at a moment’s notice. Some employees could have a claim for pay when they wait at the workplace, or they could have a claim for the work they did otherwise.

Abusive Employers

Unfortunately, the work world has plenty of employers who take full advantage of undocumented immigrants. Many times, an employee fears to step forward over the work-related abuse because of how the employer threatened to report their citizenship status if they were to file wage complaints. As lawyers, however, we work in this business to tell you that undocumented immigrants have rights too, and unscrupulous employers don’t have the right to abuse them. In fact, based on employment laws, undocumented workers have the right to work free of retaliation from an employer. However, if you happen to work as an undocumented employee, we strongly advise you to call us so that we can acquaint you with your rights. You need someone with a strong understanding of how to navigate this minefield. We will confidentially discuss the basics of your case regarding overtime and the rights you have. You have a right to protection, and your employer shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this.

The Fair Labor Standards Act

Our lawyers have represented countless employees who had a legitimate claim against an employer. They looked at the overtime pay and the record-keeping from FLSA. This law became effective July 24, 2009, and this was when minimum wage increased from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour. Meanwhile, overtime pay couldn’t be less than one-and-a-half times the rate of payment for work that was done over 40 hours for one week of work.

The Minimum Wage Act of New York State

Based on the New York State Minimum Wage Act, New York increased its minimum wage up to $7.25 to adhere to federal laws. The only special rules that you will encounter are for the restaurant employees who can be paid at a more reduced minimum wage. These workers could receive anywhere from $4.60 to $4.65 an hour. In addition, the tip allowance has been increased up to $2.60 every hour. We have lawyers with experience in this field and work with the overtime laws and handling wages that were unpaid for a hotel worker or waitress. Food service workers refer to anyone who serves beverages and food to the goods, whether at a restaurant or at a hotel. This isn’t limited to the guests who receive tips.

The Importance of Legal Representation

One of the things that you can’t underestimate is the value of a good attorney to represent you in your case. When an employer has wronged you, especially if they happen to be a bigger company, you need qualified legal representation because the employer could already be preparing a case. Whenever you speak with the other party or agree to anything, you should first have your lawyer on hand because they can defend you in the court system. You don’t want to sign anything until after you have learned what it means on a legal level because you could be signing away your rights.

If you feel you have been the victim of unpaid wages or overtime violations, contact an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your case and protect your rights as an employee.

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