At Joseph & Norinsberg we are employee advocates. In our practice, we have dealt with many unique issues and questions, but there are some recurring themes with respect to what employees want to know. Today, we will answer a few frequently asked questions involving employee rights in New York.
What is the Minimum Wage in New York?
The current minimum wage is $8.75, set to bump up to $9.00 per hour at the end of the year. There are some employees who are considered “exempt” from the minimum wage because they are paid a salary and have the requisite responsibilities. There are also some employees, like restaurant staff, that have modified minimum wages because they are tipped.
It should be noted that employers are notorious for misclassifying employees, in other words claiming that they fall into an exempt category when they do not and should be receiving minimum wage. Oftentimes it is an inadvertent mistake, but such classifications should be compared to relevant law and not taken at face value.
Am I Entitled to Overtime?
Typically, the same employees that are subject to minimum wage requirements are also subject to overtime pay requirements and are entitled to overtime pay. Under New York and federal laws, these employees are entitled to time and a half for hours over 40 in a week-long period.
Approximately 20% of Papa Johns franchisees in New York are currently looking at legal trouble because of alleged wage and hour violations of this type. The conduct of some of the franchisees appears intentional – one is accused of giving workers fake names to use when clocking in after exceeding 40 hours per week – others, less so. In either case, the franchisees that are found to have violated the laws will be required to make amends by paying their employees the back pay they deserve.
Does My Employer Need a Good Reason to Fire or Demote Me?
Maybe. New York is an “at will” state where employers are typically free to terminate or demote employees for any reason, fair or unfair. However, the major caveat is that employers cannot fire or demote employees for discriminatory reasons.
For example, an employer could demote an employee because the supervisor doesn’t like the way the subordinate staples papers. It is a nonsensical, unfair reason, but it is permissible under the law. An employer could not, however, fire an employee for being too old. One New York based company, Strategic Legal Solutions, recently paid out $85,000 for discriminating on the basis of age.
Sometimes an employer will give a valid but untruthful reason for terminating an employee for a discriminatory purpose. An experienced employment law attorney can help reveal the true impermissible reason in court.
When Do I Get My Last Paycheck if I Quit or am Fired?
Under New York law, you should receive your final paycheck on your regular payday. You can request that your former employer mail your check which might be preferable if you usually picked up your check but don’t want to go into the office following your departure.
Other Employment-Related Questions
Have another employment related question? Contact the employee focused attorneys at Joseph & Norinsberg at (212) JUSTICE or [email protected]. The legal work environment is complicated and we can help you untangle and understand