The New York State Department Of Labor is reporting that in 2010, nearly 26.6 million dollars was returned to workers for unpaid overtime and other wage violations, the second highest amount in the Department’s history.
This record sum given back to workers is indicative of the current workplace, with employers trying to cut corners at the workers’ expense, failing to pay legally required overtime, withholding wages or by illegally deducting money out of paychecks.
Last year, we saw a number of businesses failing to adhere to the law, many of which were in the service industry. Saigon Grill, a Manhattan restaurant chain, entered into a massive million-dollar settlement with delivery workers and restaurant staff. Dozens of other area restaurants were sued by employees claiming that they were not paid the proper minimum wage, or that the restaurants had often misappropriated tips meant for servers and not management.
New York State has thankfully taken steps to strengthen laws against wage theft by introducing the Wage Theft Prevention Act. The act, signed into law by outgoing Governor David Paterson, goes into effect on April 12, 2011 and will strengthen the rights of workers’ against illegal deductions and paid overtime. The act creates significantly higher penalties for employers in the state, and increases the period in which an employer is liable. The act also requires employers to keep detailed records on tips and overtime accounting, further heightening employer accountability.
If your employer has failed to pay overtime, or has been withholding wages, contact us today to evaluate your rights.