Failure To Properly Pay Employees
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal statute that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and child labor standards affecting both full-time and part-time workers. The statute also bars retaliation against employees for asserting their rights under the statute. The FLSA applies to employers throughout the country, regardless of size, that engage in interstate commerce (generally, with at least $500,000 in annual business), including federal, state and local governments. Violations of the FLSA can prove costly for a business, leading to litigation and production disruptions. With more than 40 years of legal experience, the attorneys at Polizzotto & Polizzotto understand how to navigate these complex litigation issues with professionalism.
As knowledgeable employment law lawyers, we can represent employers accused of violations and employees filing accusations. Our thorough understanding of the law gives us unique insight into both sides of an employment dispute.
FLSA violations can cover a wide range of issues, including:
- Failure to pay overtime: While states typically define overtime differently (either working more than 40 hours in a week or more than eight hours in a day or a combination of both), the employer must follow the regulations pertaining to its business. As a general rule, covered workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay at a rate not less than 1½ times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek. Failure to pay employees for the overtime they have worked can lead to both morale issues and potential legal battles with treble damages.
- Employee misclassification: The differences between an exempt and nonexempt employee can be significant. An exempt employee, for example, is not eligible to receive overtime pay. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an employer to classify a position (salesperson, supervisor, etc.) as exempt when, by the letter of the law, it is nonexempt. If you are an employee who feels misclassified or an employer who wants to ensure legal compliance, call our firm.
- Tipped employees: Under the FLSA, employers of tipped employees (e.g., restaurant workers) may credit the tips toward part of the minimum wage requirement. Employers of tipped employees must pay a cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour if they claim such a tip credit. (Under New York law, the required cash wage for tipped workers is $5 or more.) If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s cash wage do not equal the minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.
Many undocumented workers shy away from legal matters for fear of the possible impact on their immigration status. Both documented and undocumented workers have the right to sue for violations.
If an employee proves a violation of the FLSA, the remedies available under the statute include back pay, liquidated damages, attorney’s fees and costs. Compensatory damages and punitive damages are not available under the FLSA.
An individual alleging a violation of the FLSA may go directly to court and is not required to file an administrative complaint with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the U.S. Department of Labor beforehand. The time limits for going to court are within two years of the alleged violation or, in the case of a willful violation, within three years.
Because the rules and procedures under the FLSA are complicated, an employee should discuss his or her complaints of pay violations promptly with a qualified employment attorney. If you are concerned that your employer is mistreating you, schedule a confidential consultation at our Brooklyn office.
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Learn your legal rights by discussing your case with an experienced employment law attorney. We have represented both employers and employees in a variety of cases so we have a thorough understanding of both sides of a dispute. Schedule a consultation by calling us at 718-213-4861 or completing the online contact form on this website.