A good employment relationship relies on trust. Bosses and owners have to be able to believe each other’s promises and know the ways to find recourse if words are not kept. Fortunately, federal and state laws protect employees in New York from suffering excess losses in or failing to receive compensation.

One of the most powerful laws that allow for this protection is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This 1930s-era law was the first guarantee of a minimum wage, as well as increased pay for workers completing more than a full-time schedule every week. In general, salaried workers are entitled to a 50 percent extra salary for any hour worked above 40 per week.

A Nassau County woman recently sued the owner and operator of several area restaurants under the FLSA, with the claim that was she was not paid either a minimum wage or the appropriate overtime increases. The collective action lawsuit alleges others were subject to the same conditions by the restaurant owner.

The situation revolves around tip credits, a sometimes controversial option for food service employees. Restaurants may offer a salary lower than minimum wage if they receive enough tips to reach minimum wage when combined with salary. The suit alleges that the owner did not increase employees’ salaries with a tip credit when they did not receive enough tips.

Employees may get the compensation they deserve even if an employer has failed to honor agreements or the law. If official requests and mediation have failed, an attorney may be the option for workers. Legal representation can assist people who are claiming the salary, benefits and other remuneration for which they work so hard.