What is wage theft, and what can you do if you’re a victim of it?

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2022 | Wage Theft

Employees in New York and other areas have certain rights. One is to be paid the wages they are due for the work they put in. Although illegal, wage theft still occurs. If it happens to you, there are steps you can take.

Forms of wage theft

Employers are prohibited from committing wage theft. It’s not always clear to workers what this entails. One of the most common is when an employee is asked to perform work before or after they are officially on the clock.

When employers refuse to pay workers an amount they agreed on, it’s considered wage theft. Not paying overtime is another very common form of wage theft. Employees who are eligible for overtime must be paid one and a half times their normal wage for every hour they work over eight hours in a day or over 40 hours in a week.

Another common example of wage theft is when an employer pays workers less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. However, in New York, the state minimum wage is $15 per hour for most workers. Those who earn tips usually get $10 per hour plus their tips. Wage theft occurs when your employer does not pay you the minimum wage that you are legally due.

Steps to take when you’re a victim of wage theft

If you have discovered that you’ve been a victim of wage theft and your employer still owes you pay that you’re legally due, you have the right to file a complaint. You can file with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) or go a step further and file with the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Be sure to file your complaint within two years of the incident of the wage theft.

You have the right to be paid fairly for all hours you have worked and can hold your employer accountable if necessary.