Unpaid Wages and Overtime
The Long Island employment lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC can help recover wages, tips, salary, and overtime pay that has been stolen by employers. Wage theft in New York is unlawful and employers who do not pay employees properly may face stiff penalties including statutory damages or liquidated damages.
In 1938, the United States Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act. Among other things, the law set the 8 hour workday and the 40 hour workweek. In its most general terms, the law required employers to pay employees overtime for all hours worked more than 40 in a week. It also set a minimum wage. Although it was passed nearly 80 years ago, today, wage theft is prevalent in America's workplaces.
In addition to the FLSA, in New York and on Long Island, employees are protected by the New York Labor Law which has similar requirements as the FLSA. For example, the New York Labor Law requires that employees be paid a minimum wage and receive overtime for hours worked more than 40 in a week by an employee. Further, New York's Wage Theft Prevention Act which also applies to workers on Long Island, requires that employers give notices to employees upon hire and at each pay period. The notices, known as pay stubs, must indicate the employee's regular rate of pay, overtime rate, and other information.
There are many examples of how employers can steal pay from employees on Long Island. Sometimes, employers classify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime. Other times, employers improperly classify employees as salaried employees to avoid overtime pay requirements. Still other times, employers pay employees in cash and they pay these employees below the minimum wage. These employers believe they will not be caught if there is no record of the payments since these wages are paid in cash.
Many employees are subject to the minimum wage and overtime rules. But, some employees are considered exempt employees and may be paid on a salary basis. The exemptions to overtime pay and minimum wage can be complicated. Employees Long Island who think they are being paid improperly by an employer should consult with an experienced employment attorney.
The government takes FLSA violations very seriously. Employers who do not pay employees properly may be fined by the Department of Labor. Employees can also sue their employers for wage theft violations. Because employers typically pay many or all of their employees improperly, lawsuits for minimum wage and overtime violations can often be filed as a class action or collective action. Employees who are successful in bringing their wage theft lawsuit may be entitled to a variety of damages. Employees may recover their actual damages plus interest, or in other words, the actual wages which they should have received. Employees can also recover liquidated damages which can be as high as 100% of the actual damages. Liquidated damages are recoverable when an employer acts in bad faith in deciding to violate the wage and hour laws. Moreover, employers may be liable for the employees' attorneys' fees.
For violations of the Wage Theft Prevention Act which requires notices about pay, employers can be liable for as much as $5,000 per employee per year. The Wage Theft Prevention Act also allows employees to obtain attorneys' fees from employers.
Employees who have not been paid properly for minimum wage or overtime should speak with an experienced employment attorney. Just because an employer paid an employee in cash does not mean the employer can get away with violating the law. The Long Island employment lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC are available to help.