Your Pay and Work Time in New York Are Protected by Federal and State Law
When an employer violates the law, either intentionally or unknowingly, it is critical for the affected employee to ensure that his or her rights are protected. Nobody should ever receive less pay than they deserve due to an employer’s failure to abide by overtime pay requirements or minimum wage laws. Further, anyone who has been denied meal periods or has been subject to illegal paycheck deductions deserves to be compensated. We have state and federal laws that govern the minimum amount that workers are paid, who is paid overtime and how workers are paid. These are all in place to protect workers. The job of Ricotta and Marks, P.C.’s wage and hour disputes attorneys is ensuring that their employers treat them fairly.
From required minimum pay rates to meal breaks, Long Island employees have many wage and hour law protections under federal and state law.
Whether done unwittingly or intentionally, mistakes that employers may make include:
- Not paying the correct minimum wage
- Paying the “training wage” or “youth minimum wage” to the incorrect people or for too long
- Not paying overtime
- Incorrectly classifying employees in terms of overtime pay
- Making employees work “off the clock” and not giving them compensation
- Deducting too much for tips
- Paying employees under the table or in cash without any other benefits
- Deducting for wages paid in goods (for instance, if an employee is guaranteed a meal as part of his or her payment)
Any of these things can be actionable, and you should protect your rights. If you believe your employer has been paying you incorrectly, come tell our attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C., your story. Our lawyers will listen attentively and use their knowledge of the law to determine whether or not your employer is in violation of state and federal wage and hour laws. We will aggressively pursue your case and work to resolve it successfully.
Call Ricotta & Marks, P.C., at 347-464-8694 or contact us to schedule your free initial consultation today. We help people in all types of industries with New York wage and hour claim issues, including those in the service industry.
Federal and State Law Protections for Employees
Employees in New York have certain rights when it comes to wages and pay under both federal and state law. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the primary federal law that provides protection to workers in New York and across the country, while New York State Labor Law and the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) protect workers under state laws in New York.
Under the FLSA, workers and employees in New York have some of the following protections:
- Employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, but it is critical for Long Island employees to know that New York law provides greater protections that include a significantly higher minimum wage. The FLSA requires employers to abide by state minimum wage laws.
- Nonexempt employees (such as those who are not salaried) must be paid overtime wages at 1.5 times the hourly rate for any hours worked beyond the 40-hour workweek;
- Employers are required to display a poster that outlines worker rights and protections under the FLSA;
- The FLSA requires employees to keep employee time and pay records, and to post information about the FLSA and employee wage and hour law protections in the workplace.
- Employers must provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time to express breast milk, and employers must provide a place that is shielded from view and free of co-worker intrusion—and is not a bathroom—for a nursing mother to express breast milk.
- Employees do not have a right to break time for lunch or a coffee break, but if an employer does give a break that lasts from 5 to 20 minutes, that break time is compensable (in other words, the employee must be paid for that time); and
- Employees have a right to use a bona fide meal period (30 minutes or more) for themselves and cannot be required to complete work duties during that period, otherwise, the employer can be required to pay the employee for that time.
Additional Worker Protections Under New York State Labor Law
New York State Labor Law provides more protections to employees than the FLSA does, and it is essential for employers in New York to recognize that they need to abide by New York’s laws when they provide greater worker protections. Examples of some of the protections in New York include but are not limited to:
- Minimum wage is set at $15.00 per hour in New York City, $13.00 per hour in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, and $11.80 per hour in the rest of the state;
- Workers are entitled to “one day rest in seven,” meaning that certain employers are required to give certain employees one day of rest (at least 24 consecutive hours) during every calendar week; and
- Certain employees are entitled to a noonday meal break of at least 30 minutes, and employees who have a shift that starts before 11 a.m. and continues beyond 7 p.m. are entitled to an additional meal period of at least 20 minutes between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Protections Against Workplace Retaliation
New York law also gives employees protection against retaliation if they exercise their rights under New York State Labor Law. If an employer discharges, penalizes, discriminates, or retaliates in any other way against an employee who exercises his or her rights, the employer can be liable for retaliation. To be clear, if you file a wage and hour law claim in order to seek the compensation you are owed, you should never have to face adverse actions from your employer simply because you exercised your rights under the law. Adverse actions that can amount to unlawful retaliation can include but are not limited to:
- Getting assigned a less desirable schedule;
- Being demoted;
- Facing termination;
- Being denied training opportunities;
- Denial of certain benefits;
- Experiencing increased and unexplained oversight;
- Facing harassment;
- Receiving a pay cut; or
- Getting a poor performance review because of the wage and hour law claim.
Employees have protection if they make a complaint, provide information to the Department of Labor, start a proceeding, testify, or engage in any other action related to rights under the Labor Law. If an employer retaliates, penalties can include:
- Penalty of anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 for a first offense, and up to $20,000 for a second or subsequent offense;
- Required payment of lost compensation to the employee;
- Required payment of damages to the employee; and
- Other appropriate relief for the employee.
The debate between who is salaried and who gets overtime seems to be a sticky one. If you make below a certain amount annually and your duties do not require any form of management, you are eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If you are salaried, have management responsibilities or some other high-level duty for your company, you may not be eligible. Depending on the number of hours you put in a week, this may affect your bottom line significantly.
If you believe that your employer should be paying you overtime, we can help you pursue action against the company, including filing a claim with the FLSA. We work hard to protect your rights as an employee. Employment law is all we do, and we do it well.
Attorneys Aggressively Protecting Workers in Wage and Hour Disputes
Employees have a wide variety of wage and hour law protections under federal and state law, including rights to be paid a certain amount of minimum wage and to be paid in a timely manner. Long Island employees also have rights to meal periods and rest breaks, as well as a higher minimum wage. Employers must abide by federal and state law when it comes to paying employees. When an employer violates wage and hour laws contact our New York wage and hour dispute lawyers at 347-464-8694 to discuss your situation. We take all wage and hour violation cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no fee unless we win your case.
Se habla español