Workers in the
War on Wage Theft
The Marlborough Law Firm is an employment law firm representing workers in wage theft lawsuits. We fight for workers in New York and New Jersey, including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. We handle cases concerning unpaid overtime, minimum wage, prevailing wages, stolen tips, and other compensation owed to workers. Our New York overtime lawyers are dedicated to fighting for workers’ rights and against unlawful wage practices.
Wage theft is the failure to pay wages or denial of benefits owed to an employee by law or contract. This includes overtime and minimum wage violations, employee misclassification, illegal deductions in pay, requiring workers to work off the clock, or simply not paying their workers at all. Unscrupulous employers commit this crime through various schemes. Victims of wage theft can bring a lawsuit or file a claim with their state or federal Department of Labor.
Many attorneys refer to this practice area as “wage and hour law.” We call it what it is. It’s wage theft. Stealing wages is a crime in many states. However, few employers are prosecuted by law enforcement for stealing employee wages. We prosecute these cases in civil court to help workers recover their stolen wages.
We understand the value of strength in numbers when it comes to stolen wage cases. We concentrate our practice on multiple plaintiff lawsuits. These include class action and collective action cases to recover our clients’ hard-earned wages.
A class action lawsuit often starts with one brave worker willing to come forward. This “class representative” can stop the injustice on behalf of herself and her co-workers. When an employer steals one worker’s wages, there is a good chance that he is stealing from other workers too.
By bringing workers together to fight for a common goal, our New York overtime lawyers have been able to recover more than $20,000,000 from employers in recent years. We often represent individual workers. However, we believe that class and collective action are the most effective way to help the most people at once.
Most workers must be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half times their hourly rate when working more than forty hours in a week. The federal Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938 (“FLSA”) and many state laws protect workers’ rights to receive overtime. Those laws also provide for liquidated damages, which are additional damages against employers who cheat their workers out of overtime.
Our overtime lawyers have represented more than a thousand victims of wage theft. In 2020, we settled an overtime class action lawsuit against a portable toilet company for $7,200,000. In that case, hundred of workers received substantial benefits from the settlement.
Federal and state laws also prohibit paying workers less than minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is only $7.25 per hour. It has not increased since 2009. However, several states have higher minimum wage laws. The state minimum wage for NYC, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties is $15.00 per hour in 2023. The minimum wage for those areas is scheduled to rise to $17.50 per hour by 2024. Federal and state laws also require employers to pay liquidated damages for most unpaid minimum wage claims.
Our minimum wage attorneys have represented hundreds of class members cheated out of minimum wage by their employers. In 2020, we obtained Court approval for an $11,000,000 class action settlement. In that case, the defendants failed to pay minimum wage to dollar store workers. Many class members received more than $100,000.00 after years of working for less than minimum wage.
Federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws contain exemptions for certain employees. Employers will often claim that an employee is exempt from overtime and minimum wage laws when they are not. Our New York overtime lawyers are familiar with the legal requirements for employee exemptions. We are also familiar with the shady ways that some employers misclassify their workers to commit wage theft.
Employers often tell their workers that they are not entitled to overtime merely because they are paid a salary. But that is not correct. Most overtime exemptions require that an employee be paid a salary. But the worker must also have job responsibilities that match the strict requirements of the exemption. A non-management laborer on a construction site is not an exempt employee, even if he is paid a weekly salary. Non-exempt workers must be paid the state minimum wage and overtime when working more than forty hours in a week.
Employers often intentionally and unlawfully misclassify their employees as independent contractors. This crime has many victims. First, independent contractor misclassification deprives workers of many legal protections including the right to minimum wage, and overtime. Second, this practice gives wage thieves a competitive advantage over their law-abiding competitors, by undercutting their competition. Third, the practice cheats the government because employers fail to pay payroll taxes and pay into the worker’s compensation system. Fourth, the wage thieves cheat all taxpayers, because they are not paying their fair share of taxes.
Illegal independent contractor scams are often very complicated. Our overtime attorneys are experienced in identifying and challenging these illegal schemes. In 2022, the Marlborough Law Firm received Court approval for a class action settlement valued at more than $875,000. That case concerned the misclassification of NFL cheerleaders as independent contractors rather than employees.
Restaurant and catering employers often targeted their workers for wage theft. Tipped workers are entitled to keep the tips they earn on the job under federal law and some state laws. However, employers still steal their workers’ tips. Employers often pay tipped employees a lower minimum wage while failing to follow the strict requirements for paying that wage. In addition, many restaurant workers are paid on a salary basis but receive no premium compensation when working overtime hours. Employers often conceal these practices using common fraudulent schemes. They may pay workers off-the-books and creating fraudulent time and pay records. Our New York-based overtime attorneys have litigated many restaurant wage theft cases. We are experienced in identifying and exposing these common fraudulent practices.
Federal and state prevailing wage laws protect workers’ rights while working government-contracted jobs. Many construction workers on federal, state, and municipal contracts must be paid no less than the “prevailing wage” rates. These rates are determined to be appropriate in the area where the work is performed.
Prevailing wage laws are designed to ensure high-quality work is performed on government construction projects and to prevent contractors. But many employers lowball their bids on those projects and paying substandard wages to their workers. Non-union electricians, plumbers, laborers, and masons working are the most common victims of prevailing wage theft.
The prevailing wage rate is much higher than the state minimum wage. The rate is often similar to the rates paid to union members including the value of their benefits package. For example, a union member might earn $45.00 an hour in pay and an additional $35.00 an hour in benefits. Workers are often paid as little as $15.00 per hour without benefits on prevailing wage jobs. In these cases, the monetary damages can be substantial.
We know how difficult it can be to understand and enforce your legal rights. Our legal team works tirelessly on behalf of our clients. We ensure that they receive the personalized and responsive legal representation they deserve.
The Marlborough Law Firm primarily serves clients in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan.
We know dishonest employers often gaslight their workers. They will tell the that they are not entitled to wages when the law clearly says that they are. Know your rights. Call us today at (212) 991-8960 or contact us online to for a free consultation.
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