New York City employers must pay hotel employees one-and-a-half times their hourly wages when they work over 40 hours in a workweek. Unfortunately, many employers intentionally or negligently fail to pay their hotel industry employees overtime correctly. Hotel employees who have been denied overtime have a right to pursue a legal claim for compensation in New York.
Have You Been Denied Overtime in the Hotel Industry? We Can Help
Do you suspect that your employer has failed to pay you the overtime you deserve? If so, you aren’t alone. The New York City wage and hour attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP will review your case and help you understand your rights. We have successfully represented many clients in the hotel industry who have been denied the overtime they deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can fight for you.
Hotel Workers Are At Risk of Exploitation
Many hotel workers are low-income workers. Single mothers, immigrants, and individuals who lack an education make up a significant part of the hospitality industry. These workers may feel like they cannot enforce their employment rights. Concern over losing their jobs, threats from their employer, and a lack of understanding may make it feel impossible for them to enforce their overtime pay rights.
Unfortunately, employers in the hotel industry in New York City have been known to exploit some of the hardest-working employees. If you are denied overtime rates, your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a claim. If they choose to retaliate, an employment attorney can help you pursue a claim against them. You are not alone. The employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP will help you enforce your rights.
Overtime Laws That Protect Hotel Industry Workers
Multiple federal and state laws require employers to pay overtime. Specifically, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the New York State labor law, and New York City laws require employers to pay them an overtime rate of time and a half for hours worked above 40 hours in a workweek. The overtime rate needs to be at least one and a half times the employee’s regular pay rate.
Under New York laws, employers also need to pay for the “spread of hours” when an employee works over 10 hours in one day. The “spread of hours” law requires employers to pay an employee for an extra hour of pay at the minimum wage rate when an employee works over 10 hours in a single day.
Tactics Employers Use to Avoid Paying Hotel Employers Overtime
Employers use many different tactics to avoid paying hotel workers the overtime pay they deserve. An employer may try to misclassify an employee as an independent contractor to avoid paying overtime pay. However, if an employer has the right to direct and control the worker, the worker is probably an employee and entitled to overtime pay. Other tactics used by employers to avoid paying overtime include the following:
- Forcing the employee to clock out but ordering them to keep working
- Averaging the hours worked over a two-week period instead of one week
- Requiring an employee to do work before clocking in
- Misclassifying an employee as exempt
- Requiring an employee to stay at home while on call for work or having the employee work from home and not counting the time worked as overtime
- Using day rate pay to avoid paying overtime
Pursuing a Claim Against a Hotel for Unpaid Overtime in New York City
When an employer willfully fails to pay a hotel employee overtime wages, the employee has a right to file a lawsuit in court for double the amount of unpaid overtime. The employee will need to try to address the issue internally. After that, the New York Department of Labor’s division of wages and hours will investigate the claim. If they decide that there may have been a violation, you will be able to take your claim to court. It’s important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible because you have a limited amount of time to file your claim.
Some wage-and-hour claims are brought as class action lawsuits or as collective actions. After your claim has been filed in court, your attorney will begin the negotiation process. If you are unable to reach a settlement with your employer, your case may proceed to trial. If you win at trial, your employer will be required to pay you the unpaid overtime you deserve and additional liquidated damages and attorneys’ fees and costs.
New York Hotel Workers Succeed in Class Action Lawsuit for Unpaid Overtime
In the lawsuit, three employees sought damages from defendants who worked in the hotel industry. The plaintiffs allege that they performed tasks such as making reservations, greeting guests, and answering phones. They claimed that they were pressured into working 5 to 7 days a week, often for 12 hours or more a day. The plaintiffs claimed that they were only paid $5 an hour with no overtime pay for hours worked above 40 in a given work week.
The plaintiffs were immigrants who claimed that the defendant companies lured them by promising them a better future. When the employees asked about their wages, including unpaid overtime wages, the employers scared them, threatened them, and intimidated them. In deciding the case, the court ordered three New York City hotels to pay employees over $360,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for failure to pay overtime.
Reach Out to a New York City Employment Attorney
Hotel workers are prone to exploitation from their employers. Many hotel workers are low-wage earners and are understandably scared of losing their jobs, with good reason. If you are a hotel worker and you’ve been denied payment for the overtime you worked, it’s important that you reach out to an employment attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to your unpaid earnings and liquidated damages. Contact the skilled employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP today to schedule your initial consultation.