The American dream for prosperity is not always a regular 9-to-5 workday prospect. Earning a living wage in many occupations can be difficult. However, workers are often required to put in extra work to earn their paychecks. Employers do not always pay workers the full balance of the wages they have earned. Some wage and hour violations may be the result of an oversight, while others may be intentional. Unfortunately, many workers continue to trudge through their work duties without a full understanding about their right to be paid for all of the hours they work, including their right to overtime pay.
Common Wage And Hour Violations
Laws in New York, as well as federal laws, set standards that employers must follow regarding wages and overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA) for instance, sets forth rules for when workers must be paid for overtime. Some business either make mistakes or intentionally sidestep the law altogether to deny overtime pay, at the expense of hard working employees.
DAMAGES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE LAW
Under the Federal FLSA, an employer will be liable for wages and overtime owed for two years, three years if it is proven that the employer acted intentionally. Under NY's Labor Law, there is a six year statute of limitations.
In addition to payment for all wages and overtime owed, both Federal and NY law allow for 100% liquidated damages and attorneys' fees to the successful plaintiff.
To find out whether you have been deprived of overtime or wages, contact the Law Offices of Louis D. Stober, Jr., LLC
Wage and hour violations include:
- Misclassification of workers as exempt employees -- Some businesses classify workers as exempt, even though their job duties do not qualify for exempt status. Exempt employees earn a salary. Unfortunately, some employers attach a title to a position and unfairly claim the duties qualify as a managerial or professional position.
- Misclassification of workers as independent contractors -- Independent contractors are essentially in business for themselves. However, a business may misclassify some workers to avoid paying overtime and other expenses that apply to employees. To determine if you are misclassified as a contractor there are some question to ask, such as: Do you control your own hours? Does your employer supply your tools? Who determines your duties and the manner in which you perform your job? Essentially, determining employee or contractor status is based upon the relationship between the business and the worker.
- Failing to pay for "off the clock" duties -- Workers are not entitled to pay for the time they spend traveling to or from the business. However, if travel is required during the course of the day, workers should be paid for that travel time. Occupations that require safety gear as in integral part of the job are a common source of pay violations. Workers should be paid for their time spent "donning and doffing" safety gear. In today's electronic age, some workers are required to respond the emails or perform other duties after hours. Non-exempt employees are entitled to receive pay for all of the time they put in for the company, including training exercises performed after hours.
- Failing to count time as "on the clock" -Rest breaks and meal time breaks are common sources of wage and hour disputes. Many "short breaks" during the workday are compensable work hours. For instance, a worker who eats lunch at his or her desk, while continuing to perform duties for the employer, is entitled to pay. The worker is not relieved of duty in this type of "lunch" arrangement. The time should be recorded as on the clock.
Getting paid for all work performed is critical for workers. Employers may look for ways to reduce their expenses. However, workers who understand their rights may be able stand up to obtain the full pay they deserve, including back pay for violations of the FLSA.