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Failure to Pay Minimum Wage Under FLSA and New York Labor Law

Unlawful wage deductions and failure to pay minimum wages are among the contentious labor issues nowadays. Litigation related to wage and hour issues has escalated in recent years due to a growing incidence of unfair actions on part of the employers.

There are several key aspects of wage and hour laws which you should be aware of in order to protect your rights as an employee. These include:

  • Your employer can be held liable even if they are not aware of their legal responsibility to pay overtime compensation.
  • Proven violations will lead to compensation including the payment of attorney fees and liquidated damages amounting to anywhere between 25% and 100% of the back pay.
  • As per New York State laws you can file a lawsuit up to 6 years (as compared to 3 years under federal laws).

These are only some of the important aspects which you need to know while filing employment litigation. If you believe that your employer is indulging in unfair wage practices or if you are a victim of wage theft, you should consult with an experienced and capable employment law attorney such as Emre Polat.

Difference between Federal and New York State Laws

Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which was passed by Congress in 1938, governs litigation involving wage and hour claims. This was passed as one of the statutes in a series of pro-labor statutes.

This Act covers everything from equal pay for equal work to minimum wages, child labor standards and maximum hours/overtime compensation. In 1967, a prohibition against age discrimination was also added as a statute.

However, the administrative aspects of wage and hour obligations are governed under state laws. FLSA is not concerned with issues such as the amount of wages to be paid, when wages need to be paid, deductions allowed or the requirements surrounding meal and rest periods. These specifics fall under the purview of state laws. That said, neither of the laws preempt each other.

What are the Minimum Wage Obligations as per Law?

The federal and state laws have clearly stated minimum wage obligations, which an employer must follow. Apart from this, an employer also has clearly defined standards which they need to be follow with regard to child labor. Section 142-2.1 of the Wage Order of the New York State spells out the minimum wage figures.

Apart from minimum wage obligations, the employer in New York has to follow pre-defined requirements for notices to employees and post signs in the workplace. Also, they need to maintain records as per federal laws and state laws, which include the frequency of payments and other administrative obligations.

If you are a commissioned employee in New York then minimum wage laws apply to you as well. If your employer is violating New York’s minimum wage law by paying less than minimum wages over the course of a single work-week, then you should get in touch with an employment litigation attorney who can help you fight for your rights.

Recent court cases have established that officers of an organization can be held personally liable for violating New York labor law where compensation for commissioned workers is related.

Compensation for Failure to Pay the Minimum Wage

The New York labor law clearly lays down the cost and remedies which a New York employer would be held liable for if they fail to pay as per the stipulated minimum wages and hours. In an exceptional situation, the employer might also be subjected to criminal penalties.

Defenses for an Employer are Limited

The burden to maintain accurate records of employee hours and wages is on the Employer. There are very few defenses which are possible in a lawsuit regarding wage and hour laws. An employer missing out on a payment on ‘good faith’ is one of the possible defenses.

Speak to a Minimum Wage and Overtime Law Attorney in New York

Wage and hour laws in New York are complicated and confusing. If you believe you have been a victim of unfair wages or your employer has failed to pay minimum wages, get in touch with an attorney at (212) 480-4500.

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