Wage And Overtime

Wage theft occurs when an employer fails to pay employees their legally owed or contractually promised wages. Federal and state laws set minimum wage and overtime rates. The federal minimum wage rate is currently $7.25 per hour, although federal contractors must now pay their employees $10.10 per hour.

Approximately twenty states, including New York, mandate a higher minimum wage than the federal rate. As of December 31, 2013, the minimum wage rate for most workers in New York State is $8 per hour.

Overtime pay is available to most employees who work more than 40 hours per week. The legal overtime rate is one-and-a-half times an employee’s regular wage rate for each hour worked above 40 hours in one workweek.

In New York State, low-wage workers are entitled to spread-of-hours pay, which is an additional hour of pay, if they work more than 10 hours in one day.

Wage theft can take many forms. I have represented employees who received no pay for the work they performed and others who were paid below the minimum wage rate. Some were made to work “off the clock,” while others had their tips stolen, or were required to work through unpaid meal breaks. I have also represented employees who were misclassified as “independent contractors” or had illegal deductions taken out of their pay.

Consult with an experienced employment lawyer if you believe you have not received all of the wages you are owed by your employer. All workers, including undocumented immigrants, have the right to go to court and sue their current or former employer for the wages they have earned and not been paid.