Labor Law

Employment Law in New York

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DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT WAGE THEFT, DISCRIMINATION, OR WRONGFUL TERMINATION?
SPEAK WITH AN EMPLOYMENT LAWYER.

Minimum Wages, Overtime Wages, Prevailing Wages, and Living Wages

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What is the Minimum Wage in New York?
Beginning on December 31, 2019, the minimum wage in New York will range from $11.80 to $15.00 per hour depending on your place of employment in New York. The highest hourly rate of $15 is in New York City. For employees in other states, be advised that other states and their municipalities may set their own minimum wage rates; however, it cannot be lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
You may read more about the Minimum Wage in New York on our site. You are welcome to call 917-719-1102 to speak with an employment lawyer about your minimum wage concern.
It is best to have an experienced unpaid wage lawyer review your case rather than a generalist that may not be familiar with New York’s complicated laws on this subject.
What is Overtime?
Generally, employees are to be paid one and a half times their regular hourly rate for every hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Your current and former employers may have violated the law by failing to pay all or part of the proper overtime rate, which may have been done purposefully or due to a simple miscalculation of your overtime rates.
There are many indicators of potential overtime issues, including the receipt of either all or part of your wages in cash, wages paid out as a daily rate, improper time keeping methods, and so on.
If you think you have an issue with your overtime wages, you may read more about Overtime Wages on our site. You can call 917-719-1102 and speak with a an employment lawyer.
What are Prevailing Wages and Living Wages?
With respect to prevailing wages, if an employee performs construction, replacement, maintenance, repair work, and/or other building service work on a public works or government project, the employee needs to be paid the prevailing wage rate applicable to the employee’s trade or occupation. Prevailing wage rates can be substantially higher than minimum wage rates. Separately, there are certain types of employees that are entitled to a living wage, which is generally higher than the minimum wage.
These types of employees include those working for a New York City government service contractor that provides home care services (otherwise known as home health aide or HHA services), day care services, head start services or services to persons with cerebral palsy, building services, food services, or temporary services. Such employees may also be entitled to certain health benefits and/or other supplements.
If you think you may have been underpaid or would like to find out, please call 917-719-1102 and speak with an employee rights lawyer.
What is Wage Theft?
Wage theft is a term that covers various forms of unlawful conduct by employers, such as: failure to pay minimum wage, failure to pay proper overtime, underpayment of prevailing wage, failure to pay non-discretionary bonuses, delayed and/or infrequent payment of wages, unlawful deductions from wages, unpaid tips or unlawful tip sharing, and so on.
Employment laws at the federal and state level protect employees from wage theft. Attorneys call this practice area wage and hour law.
Some ways that employees experience wage theft:
Travel Time: Your employer may be violating the law by treating travel time between work sites and/or employer offices as unpaid work time. Commuting from home to work and vice versa is generally not considered work time.
Coming Early and Leaving Late: Your employer may be violating the law by not paying you for the time you work before or after your shift, particularly if you leave work late. For example, if you’re a driver, and you are required to perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections of your vehicle, such time is often not logged; however, this time should ordinarily be counted as work time. This can include situations where you are told to show up to work at a particular time, and you are then forced to wait a significant duration before you are put on the clock, and even in instances where you may be required to wait for a computer system to fully boot-up and load programs before being put on the clock.
Meal Breaks: Your employer may be violating the law by requiring that you work through unpaid lunch breaks. Employers may also be violating the law by having you clock out for short breaks or coffee breaks that are shorter than thirty (30) minutes.
Working from Home or Outside of Work: Your employer may be violating the law by treating time spent working outside your place of employment as unpaid work time, including time spent answering work related phone calls or emails at home, or visiting a client’s home to perform a service away from your employer’s office.
Tip Credit Violations: Employers of service employees and food service workers, and other tipped-employees in the hospitality industry, cannot take a tip credit for any day in which that employee works more than 20 percent or two hours, whichever is less, of the workday in a non-tipped occupation. This is applicable to employees that are receiving less than the regular minimum wage per hour due to a tip credit being taken by their employers. Besides this, any tipped-employee being paid less than the regular minimum wage should be wary, as your employer may owe you significant back wages due to inadequate record keeping or improper tip pool arrangements.
Misclassification: Employees may be misclassified as exempt from overtime or misclassified as independent contractors. Employees misclassified as exempt are employees that are not paid overtime due to an employer’s willful or negligent belief that the employee is not entitled to overtime because the employee is paid a salary or the employee holds a position or title that makes them ineligible for overtime pay. Employers are often wrong about their classifications, and even major companies have made huge mistake on this point. Overtime exemptions can be complex. Salary may be important for some exemptions, but it is important to know that a salary alone is not the only consideration, particularly for executive and administrative employees. Employees misclassified as independent contractors are denied major benefits associated with regular employment relationships. These misclassified employees not only have to pay more taxes as independent contractors, they don’t enjoy the protection of unemployment benefits and New York State Paid Family Leave. Often this is done to save the employer on payroll taxes. If your employer exercises substantial control over such elements as your work activities, supervision, schedule, discipline, and compensation, you are likely an employee. If you are denied overtime based on this classification, your overtime wages may have been stolen – perhaps it is time to act.
How are Employees Protected?
Depending on the facts of each case, an employment attorney may use the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), New York State Labor Law (NYLL), the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA), and/or a combination of the above, to recover: the full amount of any underpayment due to employees, prejudgment interest, liquidated damages that may amount to 100% of the total wages owed to employees, as well as reasonable attorney’s fees.
Under certain circumstances, you may be compensated for back wages and damages going back six (6) years – also known as back pay. Certain types of notices and statements must be given directly to employees, and the failure to do so by the employer may be grounds for additional monetary recovery by employees, which may amount to thousands of dollars in added statutory damages.
The theft of wages by employers has a substantial effect, not only on individual employees, but on the economy at large. As a result, wage theft laws are strengthening in favor of employees.
Can Employees Get in Trouble for Complaining About Wage Theft?
It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate or retaliate against any employee for making a complaint to his or her employer, or any other person, which alleges that the employer has engaged in conduct that the employee, reasonably and in good faith, believes violates the Labor Law.
Although retaliation is illegal, an employer may choose to violate the law anyway. Employees should be aware of the most common forms of retaliation, which includes demotion and termination.
Employees can experience other forms of retaliatory conduct as well, so employees may need to describe their situation to an employee rights attorney for proper analysis. If an employee experiences such retaliation, it can be a basis for a separate legal claim that may result in a substantial monetary award.
What Should Employees Do?
Employees are welcome to contact this law office to discuss their issues and to explore available legal options with a real employment lawyer in New York. The best approach is to be an educated employee, and that’s what we try to do.
Please call (917) 719-1102 or email the office through lawyer@kcounsel.com, at any time, day or night. Employee rights are important and deserve proper enforcement.
We represent employees in New York City, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Westchester County, Long Island, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Check out our testimonials from real clients and hard workers like you.

Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment, and Wrongful Termination

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Discrimination is Illegal: Know Your Rights
It is illegal for an employer or licensing agency to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment an individual or to discriminate against an individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment, because of that individual’s age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, or domestic violence victim status.
A “hostile work environment” exists, for purposes of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, when the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment. Petty annoyances and unprofessional behavior alone is unlikely to be illegal, the conduct must be sufficiently wrongful, so careful legal analysis is recommended.
Unlawful discriminatory practices are punishable by a variety of legal frameworks, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, as well other similar state based statutes. The ability to recover certain types of damages, such as punitive damages, may vary depending on the availability of certain legal options.
What Should Employees Do?
Employees are welcome to contact this law office to discuss these employment issues and to explore available legal options. Please call (917) 719-1102 or email the office through lawyer@kcounsel.com, at any time, day or night. Employee rights are important and deserve proper enforcement.
We represent employees from New York City and the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, as well as Westchester County, Long Island, Nassau County and Suffolk County.
Take a look at what clients are saying about the services of this law practice.

Wage Discrimination Based on Gender

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Equal Pay: Know Your Rights
The law protects your right to get equal pay for equal work regardless of your gender. In New York, employers are prohibited from paying an employee a wage at a rate less than the rate at which an employee of the opposite sex in the same establishment is paid for equal work on a job the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility, and which is performed under similar working condition, except under certain circumstances.
If you have reason to believe that your rate of pay is lower when compared to similar coworkers, and this is due to your gender, you should contact this law office to discuss the facts that are relevant to your issue.
What Should Employees Do?
Employees are welcome to contact this law office to discuss these employment issues and to explore available legal options. Please call (917) 719-1102 or email the office through lawyer@kcounsel.com, at any time, day or night. Employee rights are important and deserve proper enforcement.
We represent employees from New York City, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Westchester County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County.
Take a look at what clients are saying about the services of this law practice.

Wage Theft: Frequently Asked Questions

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Here are some questions you might be asking yourself, with some basic answers.

Q: My employer didn’t pay me what can I do?
A: First, understand that this is a common issue, so don’t blame yourself. You may want to consider asking your employer in writing for payment of the wages due, in some verifiable way, such as through email or text; however, you may be owed more wages than you anticipated, so it should be a top priority to speak with a New York employment lawyer.

You have the option of filing a lawsuit against your employer in court to recover wages that are owed to you for your hard work as an employee. That’s how we help recover unpaid wages for employees.

Q: How do I sue my employer for unpaid wages?
A: This will require that you bring a civil action against your employer in court that has the power to hear and award money, and possibly injunctive relief, for such claims. The choice of court system and venue should be properly evaluated, as this may be important for strategic purposes.

For instance, federal court may offer a more efficient timeline than the New York State Unified Court System; however, differences in the legal interpretation or application of certain laws or procedures may make one court system more favorable than the other, depending on the facts of your case.

Q: What are my legal claims against my employer?
A: Naturally, if you’re owed wages, the easy answer is that you have a claim for wages, but that’s the short and unhelpful answer. It will be important to determine whether you simply have a breach of contract claim for wages or a statutory wage claim, and the latter often has more robust monetary remedies, such as liquidated damages and fee-shifting.

If it’s a statutory violation, we may also discover other interconnected violations that may bring you more compensation. The preliminary analysis of your facts, your story, will help determine your claims and the initial legal approach.

Q: What evidence do I need to sue my employer?
A: The type of claim you have will essentially dictate the sort of evidence that may be considered necessary or useful. Assuming you have a wage theft related claim, the employer has certain record keeping obligations. If your employer hasn’t kept proper records of your work hours, then your recollection and testimony will be important evidence.

Pay-stubs are often helpful, but not required, for these cases. Employees sometimes keep extensive records of their own hours worked, which may be immensely useful for obvious reasons, and although such records are not required to support your case, we surely love to see such strong evidence. Your specific industry or work environment may offer other helpful pieces of evidences that may support your case.

Q: What about my co-workers? What can be done for them?
A: Your fellow co-workers may be experiencing the same problem, so I am happy to speak with them as well.  You and your co-workers may be useful to one another as witnesses, which may strengthen your case and add credibility to your narrative.

Depending on how many employees are experiencing the same problem, your case may become a class action lawsuit, which may provide other inherent benefits, especially the benefit of bringing justice and compensation to potentially thousands of workers, like you, who were wronged.

A class action may proceed with just one willing employee, a representative of the class, someone like you… a hard-worker looking for justice. Helping workers collect unpaid wages and overtime is great, and I’m sure you’ll agree.

What Should Employees Do?
Employees are welcome to contact this law office to discuss their issues and to explore available legal options. Please call (917) 719-1102 or email the office through lawyer@kcounsel.com, at any time, day or night. Employee rights are important and deserve proper enforcement.
We represent employees from New York City, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Westchester County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County.
Take a look at what clients are saying about the services of this law practice.