A sweeping new law has been passed in New York by Governor Patterson, signing into law some of the strongest protections against wage theft. The law is designed to protect workers against employers unlawfully stealing or withholding wages from employees, and would create treble damages amounting to four times the money withheld, while also adding safe guards for whistleblowers reporting these violations.
This law removes barriers from workers coming forward to complain about unlawful deductions, unpaid overtime and failure to pay minimum wage. These lower barriers are encouraging, and hopefully will get workers in vulnerable industries like construction, food service and hospitality to come forward to report their employers for such violations. Previously, workers feared termination if they complained about these violations and the civil remedies were inadequate for recouping wages.
More importantly, this law applies to all workers in New York, regardless of immigration status. This means that all New Yorkers, legally employed or otherwise are covered under this new law, strengthening the rights of all workers against wage violations.
For more on the new law, head on over here.