Many New York City employers incorrectly pay their employees for overtime work. When a New York employee works more than 40 hours in a single week, employers must pay the employee the correct amount of overtime. New York City employers who pay incorrect overtime are engaging in a form of unlawful wage theft. Local, state, and federal laws prohibit wage theft in the form of unpaid overtime wages. The penalties for wage theft can be significant. Mispayment of overtime wages, whether intentional or unintentional, is unlawful in New York.
Employees may be entitled to restitution and damages for underpayment of overtime wages. If you are a New York employee and you suspect that your employer is not paying you properly for overtime, you may be entitled to compensation. At Lipsky Lowe LLP, our wage and hour lawyers focus exclusively on employment law issues, including incorrect payment for overtime. Our clients work hard to earn a living, and they deserve the correct amount of payment for their overtime work. With a deep understanding of New York State and federal labor laws, we fight assertively on behalf of our clients.
The FLSA and Incorrect Payment for Overtime Wages
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that workers in America receive adequate compensation. As long as the FLSA covers the employer, the employer must pay the employee not less than one and one-half times the standard hourly rate for all overtime hours worked. Any hours worked in addition to 40 hours per week are considered overtime hours per the FLSA. For example, when an employee usually makes $20 per hour and works 50 hours in one week, the employee must receive 10 hours of overtime pay at $30 per hour.
Which Employees Are Exempt from Overtime Payment Protection?
Many employees, including most hourly wage earners, restaurant workers, and service-industry workers, are protected by the FLSA’s overtime payment regulations. Not all employees are protected by the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA, however. Typically, people in the following positions are exempt from overtime pay protections under the FLSA:
- Outside salespeople
- Licensed professionals such as certified public accountants, lawyers, and doctors
- Employees with expert level computer skills
- Independent contractors
- Employees whose employment requires advanced degrees
The employee’s job title does not necessarily determine whether or not the employee is exempt from overtime wage protections. The duties of the employee are the most significant factor in deciding whether or not the employee is exempt from overtime protection. Employees without authority and discretion are more likely to be entitled to overtime pay. The following types of employment are typically not exempt and are entitled to overtime pay:
- Employees who work in the service industry
- Bank tellers
- Many childcare workers
- Nurses and medical technicians
- Restaurant servers and hostesses
- Customer service representatives
- Retail employees
- Some account executives
- Back-office financial employees
- Supervisors who cannot hire, fire, set pay rate, set work schedules or discipline employees
New York State Overtime Eligibility
New York law requires employers to pay employees who work more than 40 hours in a week one and one-half times the standard hourly rate. Domestic employees who live at their workplace must receive overtime pay when they work more than 44 hours in one week. Similarly to the federal law, individual employees on a salary are exempt.
Taking Legal Action for Incorrect Overtime Pay
Generally, employees must file lawsuits for unpaid wages per the FLSA within two years. If the employer intentionally fails to pay overtime wages or recklessly disregards its obligations, however, the employee has three years in which to file a federal claim. Successful plaintiffs can recover liquidated damages, which double the amount the employer owes the employee. Additionally, successful plaintiffs may be entitled to attorneys’ fees.
New York State’s labor laws allow an employee six years in which to file an overtime theft claim. In many cases, combining state and federal claims and litigating them at the same time in federal court can help employees maximize their recovery amount. New York law allows employees to collect 100 percent of their unpaid overtime as liquid damages. Employees may also be entitled to interest on their unpaid wages and attorneys’ fees and costs.
When employers fail to provide their employees with a notice of their rate of pay or required wage statements, the employee can collect additional damages. Employees may receive $50 per workday that the violation occurred up to a total of $5,000 in compensation. Employers who fail to pay the correct amount of overtime may not comply with other New York state employment regulations. Our lawyers can assist you in determining which violations your employer made and help you recover compensation for those violations.
Filing a Claim for Incorrect Overtime Pay with the New York Department of Labor
An employee may benefit from filing a wage claim with the New York Department of Labor. Doing so can be a less complicated and challenging process than filing a lawsuit in court. After the employee files the claim, the Department of Labor will investigate the unpaid overtime claim, conduct a hearing, and determine whether or not the employee is entitled to damages and compensation.
Our NYC Wage & Hour Attorneys Can Help
If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re entitled to overtime pay, our attorneys can help. Taking the time to speak to a skilled employment lawyer at Lipsky Lowe LLP can be extremely beneficial. We can advise you as to whether or not you are entitled to overtime compensation. If you are entitled to overtime compensation, we can help you fight for your right to that compensation.
Our lawyers understand that issues involving payment are delicate, and we work diligently to help our clients meet their goals and receive compensation. Our lawyers help our clients evaluate all of their legal options and provide responsive, excellent representation. Contact our New York City employment law firm today to learn how we can help you recover incorrect overtime wages.