It is no doubt that you work hard to make a living for yourself and your family. So it is completely unacceptable to receive wages that are anything less than you were promised. Read on to discover what action to take if you suspect your employer of wage theft and how a seasoned New York wage claim lawyer at Bell Law Group can guide you through it.
By law, what is considered wage theft?
By definition, wage theft may occur when an employer illegally does not pay its employees proper wages. This can be seen in practices such as paying an employee an inordinately low salary, failing to provide benefits owed to an employee by an employment contract, or otherwise failing to abide by federal and state employment laws and regulations.
Generally speaking, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that overall protects employees from poor wage practices. More specifically, the FLSA allows an employee to take legal action against their employer in an attempt to recover their agreed-upon wages that are being illegally withheld. Such legal action may lead to an employee being paid back wages, liquidated damages, punitive damages, etc.
In addition, there is the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act. This Act requires an employer to provide an employee with wage statements or pay stubs each payday. These statements should disclose an employer’s name, address, phone number, dates covered within the pay period, etc. Otherwise, an employer may be facing penalties as extreme as a one-year and one-day prison sentence and a $20,000 fine.
What should I do if I suspect wage theft by my employer?
There are varying ways in which your employer may withhold your rightful wages. So you must keep your eyes out for the following tactics:
- Your employer did not pay you for the hours you spent doing on-the-job training.
- Your employer did not pay you for the hours worked over 40 hours within one workweek.
- Your employer did not give you your full share of tips.
- Your employer did not give you your agreed-upon vacation pay, holiday pay, or bonus.
- Your employer did not give you notice before lowering your rate of pay.
- Your employer did not adjust your rate of pay to coincide with the current minimum wage standard.
So if you suspect any of the aforementioned forms of wage theft, then you should report it to the New York State Tax Force online or by calling their hotline, 1-888-469-7365. At the same time, you should strongly consider filing a wage lawsuit against your negligent employer. In the end, the first step you should take toward your legal action is to retain the services of a competent New York wage and hour lawyer. So call us at Bell Law Group today.