Employee and worker's Rights
Employment Law in New York
Employment law in New York and the United States protects and regulates the workplace activities of approximately 10 million employers and 125 million employees across the country.
Unfortunately, employers and employees have a history of violating these important laws. At the New York Lawyers Team, we have the experience and skill set needed to defend the rights of workers in the New York area. If your rights have been violated, contact us for a consultation to determine if you are entitled to legal action. Charges for consultations and attorneys fees may be different than New York Lawyers Team.
If you believe that your rights as an employee have been violated, call us today.
Types of Employment Law Cases We Handle
As seasoned employment law attorneys who have helped workers in the New York area for decades, we have handled a variety of labor dispute cases, including:
- Child labor
- Employee misclassification
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Federal contracts (working conditions and equal opportunity employment)
- Government contracts
- Healthcare plans
- Overtime pay
- Retirement standards
- Safety and health standards
- Sexual harassment and discrimination
- Special employment
- Wage and hour violations
- Work authorization for non-U.S. citizens
- Workplace discrimination
By providing personalized attention to each claim, we take the time to get to know our clients in an effort to best meet their needs. Our employment law attorneys are dedicated to seeking justice and protecting the rights of workers in New York.
Minimum Wage Requirements
One of the basic concepts of an employer-employee relationship is that an employer must provide his or her employees with fair pay for the work they provide.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), payment for the number of hours an employee works in a given week is protected by federal law and should not be interfered with by an employer or affected by workplace policies.
Each state is allowed to adopt its own minimum wage. A state can choose to apply the FLSA federal minimum wage of $7.25 or it can create its own minimum wage that applies to most workers in the state.
As of Dec. 31, 2017, New York has set its minimum wage at $10.40 an hour, with scheduled increases of 70-cent increments until it reaches $12.50 in 2020. *Minimum Wage may increase based on location in New York State*
Although the state’s minimum wage applies to most types of workers, employers are allowed to pay tipped employees less than the required minimum wage as long as the amount of tips an employee brings in makes up the difference.
In New York, employers can pay tipped employees a wage that is at most $3 less than the minimum wage. However, if a tipped employee does not receive enough pay through tips to make the $10 minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference.
Overtime Pay Regulations
Under the FLSA, employers must provide compensation for overtime for all nonexempt employees who are subject to the rules and regulations of FLSA, which includes those who are paid on an hourly basis. Overtime pay must equal one and one-half times the employee’s rate of regular pay for all hours worked more than 40 hours in one workweek.
New York’s overtime laws exempt certain employees from receiving overtime. Executives, administrators and other professionals earning at least $455 per week are not required to be paid overtime under Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA.
Other professionals who may be excluded from overtime pay in New York include:
- External salespeople, particularly those who set their own hours
- Certain types of computer-related workers
- Independent contractors
- Some transportation workers
- Agricultural and farm workers
- Live-in employees such as housekeepers
The New York Lawyers Team’s New York employment law attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that New York workers are fully compensated for the time they provide to their employers. If you are aware of any FLSA violations or an employer who has not paid you the wages you are entitled, contact us for experienced and accomplished legal representation.
Call us today if you have any concerns about the compensation you are owed.
How to Report Wage Theft
Wage theft occurs when an employer does not pay an employee the full amount of compensation he or she is rightfully owed based on the number of hours he or she has worked. This can include wages that do not meet the minimum wage or a failure to pay overtime.
Employees in New York who wishes to report an employer for wage theft must file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor either in person or by mail.
Our New York Laywers Team Employment Law Attorneys can help you file a complaint with the WHD, which has its only New York location in New York, less than three miles from our office.
All complaints filed with the WHD are completely confidential. Upon receipt of your complaint, WHD may launch an investigation into the employer to determine the laws that apply and if they committed any violations.
An employee who is covered by the FLSA and has been victim of wage theft can have his or her pay returned in full through a practice commonly known as back pay.
This remedy for wage violations is supervised by the WHD and generally has a two-year statute of limitations, except in the case of willful violations, which extends the statute of limitations to three years. You must file a claim within these time limits.
Your rights as a worker can be greatly affected by your job classification. Employers could take advantage of this and misclassify a worker as either exempt, nonexempt or as an independent contractor.
Employee classification determines a worker’s status under the FLSA and affects his or her level of pay, tax filings, workers’ compensation benefits, protection from retaliation and ability to collect overtime pay.
It is important to be classified under the proper category of employment in order to be fairly compensated for your work and receive the proper benefits you are entitled.
There are a number of categories of workers who are exempt from the requirements and protections of the FLSA. In order for an employee to be exempt from earning overtime, he or she must fall into a specified category of work or earn more than $455 per week on a salaried basis.
A nonexempt employee is one who earns less than $455 per week and is eligible to receive overtime for each hour they work past the standard 40-hour work week.
Independent contractors are not considered employees of a company and do not receive the protections guaranteed under the FLSA. These types of workers are not entitled to unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation.
New York law requires an employer who attempts to hire an independent contractor to designate this worker as such by signing a “declaration of independent business status,” which states his or her independence from the company.
If you are unsure whether your current classification is accurate, our New York employment law attorneys can review the terms of your employment to determine you are entitled to FLSA benefits.
Labor laws also prohibit workplace discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including:
- Job assignments
- Fringe benefits
Discrimination is still prevalent in all job environments and can have a severely negative impact on those who are victims of this type of behavior.
Race Discrimination in the Workplace
Title VII of The Civil Rights Act protects workers from discrimination based on race or ethnicity and states that an employer is in violation of federal law if they:
Refuse to hire or terminate any individual or discriminate against an individual with respect to his or her pay, conditions of employment or workplace privileges based on that individual’s race, ethnicity or national origin. Segregate or classify any employee in a way that would deprive him or her of employment opportunities or would affect his or her status as an employee because of race, ethnicity or national origin. Title VII also prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee or job candidate based on his or her religion or practicing beliefs.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits an employer from discriminating on the basis of an employee’s gender, specifically affecting the wages that an employee earns. Employees of different sexes cannot be denied equal compensation for performing equal work in the same job.
Employees are also protected from any discrimination and harassment that takes place in the form of hiring, firing, unwanted advances, promoting, job classification, benefits and training opportunities. If it is found that an employer based his or her decisions for these actions on an employee’s gender, the employer can be held liable for sexual discrimination.
Employees who are 40-years or older are protected from discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. This law declares any firing, abstaining of hiring or withholding of a job promotion based on an individual’s advanced age as illegal.
Individuals who are disabled are protected by Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Any act of discrimination against an individual who qualifies as disabled may include:
- Imposing qualifications for job eligibilities that eliminate the consideration of an employee or candidate with a disability
- Denying an employee the opportunity to participate as a member on a planning or advisory board because of his or her disability
- Denying an aid, benefit or service that is provided to other employees • Providing different aids, benefits or services unless necessary
- Incorporating activities, services or programs that do not meet the needs of or exclude individuals with a disability Any complaints concerning workplace discrimination must be made with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), either in person or by mail.
Our New York employment law attorneys can help any employee who has been subjected to discrimination by his or her employer or co-worker file a confidential complaint with the EEOC's New York office.
We can provide valuable legal guidance and advice that can help you when filing a workplace discrimination complaint. We will also take legal action if necessary. Contact us to set up a consultation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your claim.
Protection Against Workplace Retaliation
If you have filed a complaint for workplace discrimination, harassment, or unethical or illegal practices, it is important to note that you are also guaranteed protection from retaliation for reporting these kinds of actions.
Retaliation occurs when an employer unjustifiably punishes an employee for engaging in legally protected behavior. An employee is safe from any actions taken against him or her by an employer seeking retribution for filing a complaint.
Examples of retaliation can include:
- Immediate dismissal of the employee with no explanation
- Reassignment to a lesser position after filing a complaint
- Decrease in salary or hourly wages
- Open hostility or threats made by an employer or co-worker
- Denial of a rightful promotion
Federal laws offer extensive protection for an employee who files a complaint against his or her employer to either an internal source, like the company’s human resources division, or to an external source like the EEOC. Workers are also offered state protection under A.R.S. §23-1501, otherwise known as the New York Employment Act (AEPA). This act prohibits an employer from unlawfully firing an employee for filing a claim against his or her employer.
Whistleblowers are also granted extensive protection from retaliation by the False Claims Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s whistleblower protection program.
These laws provide valuable protection for an employee even in the event of an unfounded claim as long as he or she reported the claim in good faith. This means that as long as the claim was filed with the intention of correcting a wrong, federal protection against dismissal or retaliation will be extended to the employee.
If you have experienced any form of retaliation after filing a claim, our New York employment law attorneys can help you explore your options and provide legal advice or representation if you choose to pursue a lawsuit.
Contact us to learn more about retaliation protection.
Our New York Lawyers Team Attorneys are Here to Help
Our staff shares a passion for protecting the rights of New York residents. With our main office headquartered in New York, we are able to service clients from all across the state.
The attorneys of the New York Lawyers Team continue to fight for the rights of employees who have been exploited or discriminated against by their employer.
Through years of experience and a phenomenal hub of resources, our New York employment law attorneys will do all that we can to help increase an exploited worker’s chances of receiving maximum compensation.
If you or your loved one has been a victim of illegal workplace practices, contact the New York Lawyers Team’s New York employment attorneys as soon as possible. We can discuss in full detail the circumstances surrounding your claim and determine if there is any legal action that best suits your interests.