Unpaid Wages & Overtime Lawsuits – Westchester New York Labor & Employment Lawyer

Unpaid Wages & Overtime Lawsuits

Westchester New York Employment Lawyer

Westchester New York Labor & Employment Lawyer – How Employers Steal Overtime

STOP.  If you are trying to figure out if you can sue your boss for unpaid wages or unpaid overtime, just call us for a fee wage evaluation. In a quick phone call, we can generally tell you if have not been paid correctly.  There is no need to spend hours searching websites to figure things out on your own when we would be happy to teach you for free. Many times, our clients come to us because they think they are only owed one or two weeks of pay, but when we analyze their pay history, they learn that they are owed thousands of dollars that their employer stole.

El-Hag & Associates, P.C can help you recover stolen wages and stolen overtime

If your boss has not paid you the wages you are owed or has not paid you overtime, El-Hag & Associates, P.C can help recovery your money. We haves helped employees recover over one million dollars on behalf of individuals working men and women in the last two years alone. This amounts to tens of thousands of dollars recovered per each client we have represented in their unpaid wage lawsuits.  Here are a few of the industries in which we have helped our clients recover stolen wages and unpaid overtime:

  • Restaurant workers who have had their tips stolen;
  • Restaurant worker who were victims of illegal tip pools and illegal tip share arrangements;
  • Construction workers who have not been paid travel time for the time they report to the company headquarters in the morning to the time they arrive at their first work site of the day;
  • Construction workers who have not been paid travel time for the time they report to the company headquarters in the morning to the time they arrive at their first work site of the day;
  • Day laborers who were not paid their weekly wages;
  • Hotel housekeeping staff who were not paid for hours worked before they clocked in at the beginning of the day and after they clocked out at the end of the day;
  • Day care staff who were paid a salary but not paid an overtime premium for the hours worked over 40 in a work week;
  • Warehouse employees who worked off the clock;
  • Grocery store employees;
  • Deli cooks;
  • Undocumented employees who have been mistreated on the job by their employers;
  • Landscape employees;
  • Pizza delivery drivers who were paid off the books and paid less than the New York State minimum wage;
  • Local delivery drivers;
  • Ambulette drivers who were paid by for each day worked and were not paid an overtime premium for hours worked over 40 in a workweek;
  • Dry cleaning employees who were paid for each article of clothing cleaned, but not paid an overtime premium;
  • Clerical employees who were paid a salary but no overtime;
  • And more.

El-Hag & Associates, P.C educates and empowers employees to create stronger communities

Westchester New York Labor & Employment Lawyer

El-Hag & Associates, P.C regularly educates many community based organizations on how they can help the community members they serve about how they can prevent being victims of wage theft (when your boss doesn’t pay you the money you are legally owed).  Jordan El-Hag has hosted and taught numerous seminars on unpaid wage lawsuits and unpaid overtime lawsuits to employees from all walks of life.

What is wage theft?

Wage theft is when your employer does not pay you what you are legally entitled to receive. Generally, you are entitled to be paid overtime and the minimum wage. Overtime means that your boss must pay you 1.5 times your regular hourly rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Check out our blog post to learn more- Press here

Are you entitled to overtime?

You are most likely entitled to overtime. Some people are not entitled to overtime, but most people are. Generally:

  • Manual labor and non-management employees ARE entitled to overtime.
  • Management employees ARE NOT entitled to overtime.

Check out our blog post to learn more about exemptions- here

Are you a victim of wage theft?

Westchester New York Labor & Employment Lawyer – How Employers Steal Overtime

How do you know if you have been a victim of wage theft?

There are six main ways employer’s steal wages:

(1)  Not paying an overtime premium. An employer will just pay you your regular rate of pay for all hours worked. Some employers will tell employees that the company does not pay overtime, and many times employees are too scared or too desperate for work to challenge the boss. Other times, employees are just not aware of their rights under the law.

(2) Being paid by the day or by salary. If you are paid for the day, by piece, or a weekly salary you still might be entitled to overtime. But many employers take advantage of employees by telling them they are getting a good deal by being paid a salary because they earn more money when the work is slow. The reality is that employees who are paid a salary usually work a lot of hours, which is why employers will pay you a salary. No employer wants to pay you more than they have to. You can learn all about your right to overtime pay when you are paid a salary by checking out our blog post here-

(3) Not pay minimum wage. Your boss will pay you a weekly salary or by the day, but when you divide your weekly income by all the hours worked, you have been paid less than the minimum wage. Employees fall victim to this because their pay stub usually only shows the pay received but not the hours worked,  or they have been paid off the books and do not have the information available to compute their hourly wage rate.

(4) Working “off the clock”– Your boss tells you that you must perform some work before the workday starts or after the workday ends, they must pay you for the time you perform work. But often, employees are not paid because the employer says that the work is not part of their job. For example, in the construction industry, it is common for employees to arrive at the company headquarters to load trucks and then drive the company trucks to the work-site. But many times, employers won’t pay for this travel time. But if the work you perform at the company headquarters is necessary to perform your primary job duties, then this travel time generally must be paid.

(5) Misclassification. Your boss tells you that you are not entitled to overtime because you are exempt from the overtime laws. This happens most often when an employer tells an employee that they are an independent contractor. But it is not the employer who gets to make that decision. The law specifically sets out different tests that must be applied to determine if an employee is exempt from overtime.

(6) Unlawful deductions from your wages. Your employer will deduct time from your pay check for time like lunch, but did not give you a proper lunch break Generally, if you are not provided with a full thirty minute period of time where you perform no work at all, you must be paid for the break time.  An example of this is in the restaurant industry. Waiters, bus people and food runners typically are not given a lunch break. They must eat between serving the customers food. But many times, at the end of the week, the employer will deduct 30 minutes from each work day for a lunch period. So the employer steals 2.5 hours of the employee’s wages every week.

What are you entitled to if your boss stole your wages or didn’t pay you overtime?

When an employer does not pay you your wages or overtime, you are generally entitled to the following if you win a lawsuit:

  • All the money you were not paid;
  • Liquidated damages- a “penalty” for your boss to pay you that equals the amount of money you were not paid. For example, if you were not paid $100.00 you would be entitled to recover the $100.00 plus an additional $100.00 as liquidated damages;
  • Attorney fees- An employer is liable to pay your reasonable attorney fees;
  • Costs- the money that was paid as part of processing the lawsuit;
  • Interest- the interest on the money that you were not paid.

Are you afraid to file a lawsuit because your boss might retaliate against you?

Westchester Labor & Employment Lawyer- Panel Answers Question on Retaliation

Fear is the number one reason employees do not stand up for their rights. We understand that. Its uncomfortable to work somewhere when you have filed a lawsuit against your employer. The most common thought is that if I file a lawsuit against my boss, my boss will find a way fire me. But guess what, most employers won’t do that because it is so apparently obvious that they are retaliating against you for filing a lawsuit.

Some statistics show that retaliation lawsuits have the highest probability of success in employment jury trials because people believe in fairness and don’t like bullies. Think about if you were on a jury and you heard a case where an employee filed a lawsuit for unpaid wages, and shortly after was fired for some minor infraction. You would most likely see through the employer’s story.

The law protects employees who have been retaliated against. Both the federal and New York State labor laws protect employees who have been victims of retaliation. The law provides that victims of retaliation are entitled to be put back to work, made whole for all pay and benefits lost, recover the costs of the lawsuit and attorney fees, recover the costs of finding alternative employment, and under the federal law- punitive damages.

It is counter intuitive, but you have the most protection if you stand up for your rights. So do not be afraid to take the steps to improve your economic well being.

Take the next step if you are not sure

Small amounts of unpaid wages add up fast. If you are owed $100 for each week of work, that’s $5,200 a year. If you lost that every year for ten years that $52,000 and its more than $150,000 over a 30 year career. The law in NY only allows you to recover unpaid wages for the last 6 years, so you cannot wait forever to stand up for your rights.

If you have questions, call us. We will be happy to provide you with the proper guidance so you can best decide how you want to handle your problems in the work place. You can also check out our video page to learn more about your rights in the workplace.


(914) 218-6190


Westchester New York Labor & Employment Lawyer