Companies like Uber and GrubHub have made life easier for many New York residents, and they have put money in the pocket of many workers as well. However, it has led to a question as to the classification of these workers, and a California federal district court is the scene of a trial on this very matter.
Some New Yorkers continue to do work for their employers after they have gotten off of work and returned home. This may include responding to emails, returning calls and other tasks. If these employees are considered to be non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, their off-duty emails, phone calls and texts may be compensable under the labor laws.
New York employees in tipped occupations such as waiting on tables should be aware of the 80/20 rule, which requires minimum wage payment for certain activities by tipped workers. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, if an employee performs two jobs, one that is tipped and one that isn't, the employer is in many cases required to pay minimum wage for the non-tipped work.
Companies in New York and around the country are required to provide proper break periods and wage statements to their employees. If they fail to comply, they could leave themselves vulnerable to a lawsuit.
New York employees expect to get paid fairly for their work, especially if they have been employed by a particular company for several years. However, there are cases when employees discover that newer hires earn significantly more than they do. These cases can be difficult for human resource departments to address, especially if there are legal issues involved.
Imagine starting a new job in a restaurant. You get your first paycheck two weeks later and it is much lower than you anticipated. You only had two days off during the pay period and you were working doubles the majority of the time. It is as if you are missing entire days of pay on your paycheck.
Many full-time employees in New York companies are allowed to take a meal break each day. A meal break typically lasts about 30 minutes to an hour, and it may or may not be paid for. When facing the question of whether or not an employee should be compensated for a meal break, courts look at each case on an individual basis.
Many residents of New York City and the state of New York may start their professional careers working as servers in restaurants. For some it's a part-time job to pay the bills during college. For others, it's a career decision by someone who wants to manage or own a restaurant later in life.
Federal law protects workers who make wage complaints to and cooperate with U.S. Department of Labor investigations. If an employer finds out that a complaint was made, it is not allowed to retaliate or take other action against the employee who made it. Employers that do retaliate based on a wage complaint could face a variety of penalties including paying liquidated damages or lost wages.
There's no question that the restaurant industry is one of the most challenging sectors in which to earn a living here in the U.S. That's because employees are not only among the lowest paid in the our nation's economy, but also because their employers routinely skim or pool tips, or otherwise engage in illegal tactics designed to deprive them of their hard-earned wages.