Fair Labor Standards Act
Wage and Hour
New York employers are required to pay employees at least $7.25 per hour of work. There is an exception for tipped and service employees, who are required to receive a minimum of $4.60 per hour of work. If you are not fully compensated at least minimum wage, you may have a cause of action against your employer. The Fair Labor Standards Act allows underpaid employees to compensate for lost wages and potentially receive additional recovery awards.
Any non-exempt employee that works more than 40 hours per workweek is required to receive time and a half for any overtime work. What many employees do not know is that the time you spend putting on or putting away uniforms and equipment is included in your minimum wage calculations and count towards your hours on the clock. Employers may not have you work "off the clock" or refuse to pay you for certain hours worked. Even if "everyone is working extra hours" because it is a "busy season", or it is part of the company culture, you are entitled to count those hours towards your minimum wage and overtime. The overtime compensation rule excludes certain employees including bona fide executives and administrators. Do not be afraid to speak up.
When an employee is working at-will (without a contract), the employer is permitted to fire the employee for almost any reason, or for no reason at all, as long as the firing does not violate the law or public policy, including discrimination. Wrongful termination is a non-voluntary termination for an improper reason, including reporting a discrimination issue. Additionally, you may have a claim for wrongful termination if you are fired for the following reasons:
- Breach of employment contract
- Refusing to commit an illegal act on behalf of your employer
- Complaining about workplace safety or refusing to work in unsafe conditions
- Reporting wage and hour issues to a regulatory agency
- Reporting wrongdoings by the Whistleblower Protection and Dodd-Frank Act.