You may love your job. As a nurse or a firefighter, you save lives. As a contractor or store employee, you serve your area with the goods and services they need.
Still, no matter how much you appreciate your position, there are certain things you should never do for your work. Among those things is acquiring a lower wage than acceptable by law.
At Sadaka Firm, our unpaid wages attorneys in New York and New Jersey understand taking a stand against your employer leads down a difficult and uncertain road. Whether you’re questioning your pay or hours or require assistance in your fight, count on us. Some of the areas in which we have assisted other clients before are listed below.
Working Below Minimum Wage
In New York, the minimum state wage stands at $12.50 per hour, while New Jerseyans will receive at least $13 per hour, effective January 2022. While both wages stand well above the $7.25 federal minimum wage, dropping the respective wages in each state, even by a cent, is illegal. Every employer must pay minimum wage, and every employee has the right to pursue wages owed with the help of an employment attorney.
Employers can override this law in multiple ways, including creating a set weekly rate and forcing workers to work more hours. For instance, let’s say you receive the bare minimum of $500 after working 40 hours per week in NY. If your employer forces you to work an additional ten hours without extra pay, you’ll be making $10 each hour, and is included in minimum wage violations according to wage and hour laws. An employer is in violation of federal or state law if an employer fails to pay wages owed.
Unpaid overtime means working more hours for the same amount of money. Returning to the scenario above, if you work 50 hours one week at the same set weekly rate of $500, you can look at it as if you’re receiving a mere $10 each hour or you’re doing unpaid overtime. An overtime lawyer can help you build a case against your employer for violating wage and hour laws.
Our unpaid wages attorneys will inform you that it’s illegal not to receive payment for certain hours worked and that you should be receiving a higher overtime rate for overtime hours. In the US, the Fair Labor Standards Act states any overtime outside of the initial 40 hours per week should result in a time and a half pay for each additional hour.
In this case, New York employees should receive $18.75 for each additional hour rather than $12.50, and New Jersey employees should receive $18 rather than $12. Anything below that is grounds for a lawsuit with a knowledgeable overtime lawyer on your side.
While it’s easy to tell if an employer is getting swindled out of their hard-earned money by looking at hourly wages and overtime, it’s not so easy for independent contractors. Independent work contractors differ from employees because they work off the clock for multiple clients rather than one employer. They also receive payment per project rather than for their time.
Many employers take note of this fact and proceed to misclassify their workers as independent contractors. By doing so, these workers are exempt from overtime pay and don’t receive protection from employer retaliation against the employees’ collective action. Independent work contractors must also pay for benefits themselves and receive no workers’ compensation while on the job.
Some occupations that commonly fall victim to misclassification in the New York and New Jersey area include:
- Home health aides
- Taxi and Uber drivers
- Delivery truck drivers
- IT workers
- Sales representatives
- Retail employees
If your employer claims you were exempt from hourly wages or overtime pay, our unpaid wages attorneys at Sadaka Firm will examine your case and help you with your unpaid wages, back wages or overtime violations claims.
Other Forms of Wage Theft
Working for less than minimum wage, doing unpaid overtime, and having an employer file you as an independent contractor to save a few bucks are some of the major forms of wage theft in the Northeastern United States. Unfortunately, they are not the only forms evident in the New York and New Jersey areas. Labor laws define other forms of wage violations include:
- Unlawful Deductions: If an employee makes a bad call, resulting in a business loss, or has contributed to property damage, an employer may retaliate by making deductions from the employee’s paycheck. However, this is a legal offense that can lead to the dismissal of the employer. If an employer has deducted your pay, you should seek the services of an employment lawyer to help you pursue compensation for lost wages in a wage and hour lawsuit.
- Taking Tips: On some level, stealing an employee’s well-deserved tips is a form of unlawful deduction. An employer has no claim over the gratuities left for or given to tipped workers for their services. Therefore, they have no right to deduct the money from the employee’s paycheck or to swipe the money for themselves. Many restaurant workers fall victim to these kinds of wage violations and may be eligible to pursue an unpaid wage claim with the assistance of an unpaid wages lawyer.
- Unpaid Bonuses: In many cases, bonuses (including Christmas bonuses, annual bonuses, etc.) are additional perks for employees who work hard all year. While many employers distribute them when the company is doing well and have a right to reject them in other cases, sometimes withholding bonuses can be illegal. For instance, if the employer and employee have a written, oral, or implied contract, refusing to pay are grounds for lawsuits in New York and New Jersey courts. Any breach of employer pay contract can lead to a qualification for an unpaid wage claim. Seek help from an unpaid wages lawyer for your wage and hour claim.
- Unpaid Commission: If an employee’s job duties include working on commission rather than a set wage alone, it doesn’t mean an employer or client can get away without paying for services. Working on commission means there is a signed contract stating an agreed-upon commission rate and services required. If an employer refuses to pay due to employee mistakes, broken products, or money shortage, they’re breaching the contract and risk a civil suit. You may be eligible to recover compensation if you were not properly paid for your commission.
Federal laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protect the rights of the employee or independent contractor by setting certain rules to enact fair wages and hours. If the employer or client tries to override these rules, the employee can take strong legal action against them in court. The FLSA and unpaid wages attorneys also allow employees to take collective action against an employer when they jeopardize their employee’s rights.
Other vital ways the FLSA protects workers’ rights in New York and New Jersey include making sure that:
- The employer pays at least minimum wage depending on the location: If the company is in a state with a set minimum wage, the employer must pay accordingly. If the state wage is lower than the federal minimum wage, the employer must pay according to the latter. Seek legal counsel of an unpaid wages attorney if you or other employees are not being paid the state minimum.
- The employer keeps track of their employee’s work schedules: To pay their employees correctly, employers should log the number of hours each employee works each pay period. In cases of disputes, this will serve as evidence on behalf of the employer or employee. Workers’ overtime pay must be paid according to hours worked, and according to state labor laws. If you have unpaid wages , your attorney client relationship with your overtime lawyers will protect your complaints against a current or former employer.
- Employees receive overtime pay: New York and New Jersey require employers to pay one and a half times more than the set wage for each overtime hour. Employees should seek the services of a knowledgeable overtime attorney if their employer failed to pay wages for overtime pay, illegally denied overtime, or underpaid employees for overtime wages.
- Employers decipher between exempt and non-exempt employees: Non-exempt employees are subject to overtime under federal law. Employers must follow the overtime pay rule above for these employees to satisfy FLSA regulations. On the other hand, exempt employees, including those in executive, administrative, and professional occupations, do not fall under the FLSA protection and don’t receive any assurance for overtime compensation. Exempt employees may qualify for accrued vacation time and other benefits that should be paid upon the employee’s exit from the employer. An employer’s illegal conduct for exempt employees could lead to an unpaid wage case if
- Employers decipher between employees and independent work contractors: As stated before, independent agents receive payment for completed projects rather than a set wage. If employers falsely claim a worker as an independent contractor, not only can the employer wrongfully withhold overtime and deduct payments, but the government will lose revenue and tax payouts in the process. If your employer has illegally claimed your unpaid wages as an independent work contractor, contact an overtime lawyer who can help you defend your rights with knowledge of state overtime laws.
How to Pick the Right Unpaid Wages Attorney
If you feel you have been a victim of wage theft, you’re not alone. In the US, over 4.6 million, or 26% of all workers, have been subject to wage theft within the past year. While numerous cases have come to light, many non-union workers in New York and New Jersey continue to work below minimum state wages.
If you’re ready to take a stand against your employer’s misdemeanors, reach out to knowledgeable attorneys who will examine your claim in detail and fight for your cause wholeheartedly. Our employment lawyers at Sadaka Firm have extensive experience with unpaid wage cases like yours.
Sadaka Law Firm
Since our firm’s opening in 2008, Mr. Sadaka and his team have continuously shown dedication to clients during trying moments in their lives. Our team has over a decade of experience being our clients’ advocates in wage claims, including minimum wage claim, overtime claim, and unpaid wage claim cases.
An experienced employment law attorney knows the wage and hour federal and state laws for unpaid wages, overtime pay, wrongly denied overtime, and employer’s conduct.
Mr. Mark T. Sadaka, the founder and face of the firm, has received recognition from multiple groups and associations. From The New York Metro Super Lawyers naming him a “Super Lawyer” for three years in a row to being on the list of New Jersey Super Lawyers & Rising Stars, Mr. Sadaka’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.
If you would like to take advantage of Mr. Sadaka’s know-how and the experience of his unpaid wage lawyers in New York and New Jersey cases, whether it’s to discuss liquidated damages or wage claims, contact us. We will provide you with a free case evaluation and discuss our contingency fee basis when you call 1-800-810-3457 today!