New York recently increased the minimum wage for more than 1.5 million employees. However, that doesn’t mean all businesses are eager to comply and ensure their employees are paid at least the minimum wage. If you are an employee in New York and you believe that your employer hasn’t been paying you the minimum wage under these new laws, it’s important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible.
You may be entitled to back pay and compensation through a legal claim. The employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP advocate for New York City employees and know how to hold an employer to violate minimum wage laws accountable. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about your legal options.
Recent Minimum Wage Increases in New York
New York’s Minimum Wage Act requires all employees in New York state to be paid a minimum hourly wage. As of December 31st, 2021, officials in New York state increased the minimum wage amount for certain regions and counties. The new minimum wage rates are as follows:
- New York City employers with 11 or more employees: $15 per hour
- New York City employers with ten or fewer employees: $15 per hour
- Long Island and Westchester counties: $15 per hour
- The remainder of New York state workers: $13.20 per hour
Understanding Wage Order Standards
There are exceptions to the general minimum wage law. Wage orders can set industry-specific traits that differ from state minimum wage payments. For example, employees working in the food, hospitality, or service industries may qualify as tipped employees. When the service employee receives enough tips to meet the minimum wage, the employer can take a tip credit and avoid paying the minimum wage. However, the employer must notify the employee of the tip credit.
Those who work in the building service industry may receive a housing credit or apartment credit that will apply to their wages. Additionally, individuals who employ farmworkers have different standards. However, employers must pay at least the minimum wage for every hour the employee works for the vast majority of employees in New York.
Common Types of Minimum Wage Violations in New York
There are many ways employers try to avoid paying employees minimum wage. They may inadvertently fail to pay minimum wage by keeping inaccurate records. In New York, the burden to maintain accurate records of employees’ hours and wages is on the employer. When an employer fails to pay minimum wage because of poor record-keeping, the employee can still hold the employer accountable for lost income and other types of compensation. While acting in good faith, missing out on a payment one time could be a defense for employers. In other cases, employers will claim they are taking a tip credit but fail to pay service industry workers enough to meet New York minimum wage requirements. Finally, an employer may intentionally fail to pay an employee minimum wage, knowing they violate the New York minimum wage loss.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive For a New York Wage Violation?
If your employer has not been paying the minimum wage for the hours you worked, you can pursue a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), a federal law. You may also have a right to file a claim under New York’s Minimum Wage Act.
Victims of minimum wage violations may be able to obtain liquidated damages in addition to their lost wages. For example, successful claimants can obtain all their unpaid wages and additional money. If you are owed $10,000 because your employer failed to pay you the minimum wage, you could be entitled to $10,000 plus another $10,000 in liquidated damages. You may be able to obtain the following fees if successful:
- Attorney’s fees and costs
- Legal costs
- Interest on unpaid wages
How Much Is My Minimum Wage Case Worth?
The exact amount of financial compensation for minimum wage violations depends on the specific facts of your case. For example, whether you file a claim in state or federal court, which laws apply to your claim, and the amount of money you are owed from your employer can affect the compensation amount. When you work with the experienced employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP, we will carefully evaluate all the aspects of your case and create an effective strategy to pursue the most compensation possible in your case. We will hold your employer accountable and pursue the maximum monetary compensation you deserve.
Failure to Provide Notice of Pay Rate
Under New York law, employers must provide written notice to employees, including the rate of pay, the employer’s legal business name, and other important information. When an employer does not provide the notice within ten business days of starting employment, the employee can collect $50 for every work day during which the violation continues, up to $5,000 total.
Failure to Provide Wage Statements
Similarly, the employee can pursue additional compensation if the employer fails to provide the employee with wage statements during each pay period. The wage statements must include the pay rate, deductions made, the number of hours worked, and more. Employers who refuse to pay employees minimum wage often fail to provide wage statements or give their employees complete wage statements. If your employer has engaged in this type of unlawful behavior, you may be able to collect an additional $250 for each day that the violation continued up to $5,000.
Contact a Minimum Wage Attorney in New York City
Unfortunately, some employers will do anything, including violating local, state, and federal wage laws, to save a few dollars. If you are one of the many victims of minimum wage violations in New York City, it’s important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced minimum wage attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP have handled many cases in which New York City employers have broken state and federal laws by paying employees less than minimum wage. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP to learn more about your legal rights and how we can advocate for you to obtain the payments your employer owes you.