For as long as paid employment has existed, employers have been looking for ways to reduce the amount of money that they pay out to those working for them. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which was passed into federal law in 1938, set a minimum wage, required employers to pay overtime for work done after the standard 40 hour work week, and also prevented child labor but even with this in place, employers have found ways to avoiding paying the wages their employees are legally owed.
What Are The Most Common Wage Violations?
Regardless of whether an employer is simply making a mistake or they are willfully and knowingly engaging in a wage violation, the most common wage violations include:
Most employees in New York do qualify for overtime pay but there are some individuals who do not. Those who do not qualify for overtime are labeled as “exempt”. Employers learned long ago that they could misclassify an employee to avoid paying them 1 ½ times their regular rate for overtime – but just because an employer says an employee is exempt doesn’t mean that they actually are. To learn more about who is actually exempt in New York, visit this page.
Illegally Deducting Wages
What many employees don’t realize is that employers are able to deduct amounts from their employees pay without their permission and this can and does happen to hard-working New Yorkers on a regular basis. It’s important to review and keep all pay stubs to catch illegal deductions when they happen.
Not Calculating Wages Properly
While it’s true that overtime should be 1 ½ times the regular pay rate per hour, many employees don’t realize that their bonuses and commissions can and should be calculated into the regular rate.
Not Tracking Work Hours Correctly
Sadly, we have represented clients in the past whose employers altered their time sheets, failed to pay them for company travel, didn’t want to pay them for being “on-call”, or pressured them to work outside of their regular hours without counting those hours. The bottom line is, any work done for an employer should be paid.
Retaliating Against Employees
The right to a minimum wage and to overtime are protected by law and if an employee in any industry chooses to report their employer for failing to protect those rights, their employer cannot fire them because of OSHA Whistleblower protection programs. If they do choose to terminate the employment, the worker can then pursue legal action.
No one enjoys standing up to their boss, but if you are owed money, this is exactly what needs to be done – but you aren’t alone, an experienced attorney can help.
What Can I Do If I Think My Employer Is Committing A Wage Violation?
Under the FLSA, an employee who suspects their rights are being violated have two options:
- The employee can file a complaint with the Department of Labor.
- The employee can file a civil lawsuit against their employer.
Our Attorneys Can Help Get Your Unpaid Wages
Filing a lawsuit may seem like an extreme step to take, however, it is often the only way for the employee to recover their unpaid wages but that’s not all that can be obtained. A lawsuit can provide the plaintiff with:
- The full amount of unpaid wages.
- Interest on the unpaid wages.
- Penalties for the employer failing to pay the plaintiff in a timely manner.
- Attorney’s fees.
When working with a client, our experienced legal team collects evidence to support their allegations, such as employee records, financial records, time sheets, surveillance videos, photographs, and witness statements, and we carefully build a case. Then, depending on our client’s wishes, we negotiate a settlement or take the matter before a judge and jury. To learn more about how we can help you or a loved one, call us now.