Workers in the
War on Wage Theft
The Marlborough Law Firm is an employment law firm representing workers in wage theft lawsuits in New York and New Jersey, including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. We handle cases concerning the recovery of unpaid overtime, minimum wage, prevailing wages, stolen tips, and other compensation owed to workers by their employers. 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 the denial of benefits owed to an employee by law or by contract. Unscrupulous employers commit this crime through various schemes including 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.
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, but 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. That is why we concentrate our practice on multiple plaintiff litigation including complex 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 to stop the injustice on behalf of herself and her co-workers. If you are being cheated out of minimum wage and overtime, or the boss is stealing your tips, there is a good chance that he is doing the same thing to your co-workers.
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. While we still represent individual workers, we believe that class and collective action lawsuits are the most effective way to help the most people at once.
Both federal and state laws require that most workers be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half times their regular 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 vindicated the rights of more than a thousand workers who were cheated out of overtime pay. In 2020, we received court approval for the settlement of an overtime class action lawsuit against a portable toilet company for $7,200,000. In that case, hundreds of class members received substantial benefits from the settlement.
Federal and state laws also prohibit paying workers less than minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has not increased since 2009 when it was raised to $7.25 per hour. However, several states have higher minimum wage laws. The state minimum wage for NYC, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties is $15.00 per hour. 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, The Marlborough Law Firm obtained Court approval for an $11,000,000 class action settlement in a case concerning failure to pay minimum wage to a class of dollar store workers. Many class members were awarded more than $100,000.00 after years of working for less than minimum wage.
While both 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 and the shady ways that some employers misclassify their workers to avoid paying workers their due.
For example, many workers are told that they are not entitled to overtime pay merely because they are paid a fixed salary, but that is not correct. For most overtime exemptions an employee must be paid a salary AND must also have job responsibilities that match the strict requirements of a particular exemption. A non-management laborer who works on a construction site is not an exempt employee, even if he is paid a weekly salary. That worker must be paid at least minimum wage and must be paid 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 numerous 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 by paying less in wages. Third, the practice cheats government authorities when employers fail to pay into the worker’s compensation system and fail to pay payroll taxes. 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 New overtime attorneys are experienced in identifying and challenging these illegal misclassification schemes. In 2022, the Marlborough Law Firm received Court approval for a class action settlement valued at more than $875,000 in a case concerning the misclassification of NFL cheerleaders as independent contractors rather than employees.
Restaurant and catering workers are often targeted for wage theft by their employers. Under federal law and the law of several states tipped workers are entitled to keep the tips they earn on the job. However, these laws have not stopped some employers from stealing their worker’s tips. Moreover, employers often pay tipped employees at a sub-minimum wage while failing to comply with the strict requirements for paying such a low wage. In addition, many non-exempt restaurant workers are paid on a salary basis but receive no premium compensation when working overtime hours. These unlawful pay practices are often concealed using common fraudulent practices including paying workers off-the-books, and creating fraudulent time and pay records. Our New York-based overtime attorneys have litigated many restaurant wage theft cases and 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 workers on construction jobs resulting from federal, state, and municipal contracts are entitled to compensation at no less than the “prevailing wage” rates that 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 from lowballing their bids on those projects by paying substandard wages to their workers. Victims of prevailing wage fraud include non-union electricians, plumbers, laborers, and masons working on government-contracted jobs.
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, in a position where the average union member would earn $45.00 an hour in pay and an additional $35.00 an hour in benefits, a prevailing wage worker could be entitled to at least $80.00 per hour in pay and benefits. When a worker is paid only $15.00 per hour with no benefits and is cheated out of the prevailing wage, the monetary damages can be substantial.
As overtime lawyers in New York, we know how difficult it can be to understand and enforce your legal rights. Our legal team works tirelessly on behalf of our clients, to 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 offer a free consultation so that you can learn more about our firm and how we can help you with your legal question.
We know dishonest employers often gaslight their workers, telling them that they are not entitled to wages when the law clearly says that they are. If suspect that your employer is gaslighting you on matters related to overtime, minimum wage, tip stealing, prevailing wage, or independent contractor misclassification call us today at (212) 991-8960 or contact us online to discuss your legal rights.
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