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Unpaid Wages

If your past or present employer failed to pay you the wages you earned, you may be entitled to back pay, liquidated damages and attorney fees.

The wage rules apply to both your past and current employers.  And the rules apply even if your employment was terminated, if you resigned, if you were paid "off the books", or if you were an undocumented worker.

Most often, unpaid wages involve a failure to pay overtime at one and one-half times your regular wage.  Many employees believe that if they are paid a salary, an employer may make them work more than forty hours per week. Frequently, this is done by an employer classifying a worker as "exempt." However,  if you  worked  more  than  forty hours per week for a past or present employer, you should have an attorney review your situation to make sure you are receiving all the overtime wages you earned. 

Calling a worker an "independent contractor"

also  does  not  mean  you are not actually an


Every day, there are employers who do not pay employees the wages to which they are entitled under the law.  Many employees don't even realize that it's happening. And, even if they do, they're afraid that if they say anything, they will be fired or retaliated against in the workplace.  At the same time, many employers don't realize that they are underpaying their workers.  Sometimes an employer doesn't pay you the full amount on purpose.  Other times, it is a mistake.  Either way, you should receive the full amount of wages that you have earned.

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employee covered by the wage rules, including those governing overtime.

Another method employers use to avoid paying overtime is by providing compensatory time off ("comp time") instead of overtime. This often is not a permissible substitute for overtime pay.

Being forced to work off-the-clock is a method employers use to avoid payment of wages.  If you arrived at work before your regular work shift began or stayed at work after your regular work shift ended and you preformed work for your employer (such as operating,  servicing, or maintaining workplace equipment, preparing for or cleaning up after work activities, putting on or taking off work clothing and gear, or dealing with job-related telephone calls, emails, or letters), you are entitled to be paid for that work.  It may be only a few minutes each workday but when those few minutes are multiplied by ten or hundreds of workdays the total time for which you should be paid is significant.

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The failure to pay minimum wage is also a frequent problem.  While all employees are entitled to be paid minimum wage, many times, employers take advantage of undocumented workers who  are fearful of speaking up for their right to be paid the wages to which they are entitled.

Emloyees who work for tips are very often not paid what they are entitled.  While tips may be used to figure out if an employee is making at least minimum wage, in New York an employer may not consider tips as part of wages unless proper written notice is given to tipped employees.  Even then, the total hourly wage received by a tipped employee must still equal full minimum wage, not the lesser minimum wage allowed if your employer provides proper notice that tips will be used to offset that full minimum wage.  If tips do not equal at least full minimum wage, employers must make up the difference. Also, if a past or present employer makes you separately do work for which you do not receive tips, you may be entitled to be paid full minimum wage for that work without the employer using tips in the calcuation for that work.  Finally, on days that your workplace may not have much business and your tips do not equal minimum wage your employer may be required to make up the difference.

Proper wage documentation is also frequently ignored or overlooked by employers.  In New York, the Wage Theft Protection Act requires that at the  time you   are  hired  you  must  be given  written notification of your wage rates. Also, you must  receive  proper   wage   documentation. 

each time you are paid.  If an employer failed to provide the required wage notice within 10 days of an employee's hire date, the employee could recover $50 per day for a violation, up to $5,000.  If an employer fails to provide proper documentation each time an employee is paid, an employee may be entitled to $250 per violation, up to $5,000.

PLEASE: Do not assume or jump to the conclusion that you are not owed any wages. This is a determination that must be made in consultation with a lawyer.  This is why we offer a free confidential consultation.  In many cases, employees do not know that they are being paid less than they are owed.  You might be surprised to discover that a past or current employer owes you (and your fellow employees) significant wages and damages for not paying you what you earned.  In addition, the law says your employer cannot retaliate against you for asserting your right to wages that you should have been paid.  So please don't fear for your job.  Right now, we'd like you to tell us what's going on at work and we'll tell you whether  we can help.

If  any of the above situations sounds like your experience with a past or present employer, you're invited to call us and tell us about your situation at work.   No one outside our office will know that you called.  Your call and everything you tell us is absolutely confidential. No one from our law firm will contact your employer or share your information with anyone.  Call us toll free at : 1•844•WAGE4ME or contact us here for a free consultation.

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• The calendar works against you!

• The law limits how far back in time you may go.

• Each day you wait could result in your losing wages that are

  owed to you simply because you waited too long to file your


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