A basic principle of the American economy is that every employee is entitled to fair pay for their work.
By law, New York employers are supposed to pay any employee, with some exceptions, overtime when they begin working more than 40 hours in any given week. However, according to a recent report, more employers are being sued by their employees because they were not paid for hours they worked overtime.
Most employees in New York state are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week. This is true even if the hours were not authorized in advance or the employee waives his or her right to overtime pay. Residential employees must work 44 hours in a week before being eligible for overtime pay.
A class action lawsuit has been filed by an unpaid intern with CBS "Late Show With David Letterman" on behalf of unpaid interns employed by the company over six years. The plaintiff alleges that the companies minimized labor costs by giving work to unpaid interns that would have otherwise gone to paid employees. The lawsuit claims that CBS and Letterman's production company violated overtime and minimum wage laws. It seeks back pay, overtime pay, interest and attorney fees.
Estimates state that New York City employers steal as much as $1 billion annually from workers in unpaid wages. An attorney for the National Employment Law Project says employees may lose $2,500 per year on average. Many are low-wage restaurant workers or undocumented, but employees in all industries and from all backgrounds may be victims of wage theft.
In recent years, exotic dancers have been bringing lawsuits against strip clubs in New York and around the country saying that they were denied a minimum wage and other benefits generally given to employees. Increasingly, courts have agreed with the position that they are employees and not independent contractors. As clubs operate more as legitimate businesses, they have come under scrutiny from the IRS and the Labor Department.
U.S. Department of Labor has determined that LinkedIn did not appropriately compensate employees in a variety of states for overtime hours. According to a Labor Department announcement, the company will pay out approximately $6 million in unpaid overtime wages as well as damages to current and former employees in California, Illinois, Nebraska and New York.
The National Labor Relations Board ruled on July 29 that McDonald's could be named as a joint employer. This would potentially bring the company under closer scrutiny with regard to its labor practices. In March, employees of the company from three different states filed lawsuits alleging that the company used software to control labor costs. If costs were too high at any given point, employees were told to wait before clocking in.
Except for those employees who are exempt from overtime, if someone works more than 40 hours in one week in New York, he or she is entitled to 1 1/2 times his or her normal wage for every hour worked over the 40-hour limit. The problem is, however, that many employers dispute how much an employee worked, whether he or she is exempt, or what the rate of overtime pay should be. If an employer refuses to pay an employee what he or she is due, the employer may have to defend against a wage and hour lawsuit in court.
Abercrombie & Fitch Stores Inc. is a well-performing retailer that has claimed a significant portion of the clothing market. As such, its stores are often busy and its employees are expected to work long hours. Whenever an employee works over 40 hours per week, however, he or she is due overtime pay, which is a requirement under both federal and New York state laws. Should an employee be denied that pay, he or she may choose to file a wage and hour lawsuit against his or her employer.