- Has your employer given you your written notice informing you of your wage and overtime rate? The New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act requires that employers fully inform their workers, in writing, of their wage rate, their rate of overtime pay, the regular payday, and any meal or other deductions being taken by the employer. You must receive this notice before February 1st.
Have you made a complaint about unfair wage and hour practices where you work? If so, it is important to know that it is against the law for your employer to discharge or discriminate or otherwise retaliate against you for making that complaint. Even if your complaint was not in writing, but was an oral complaint only, your right to protection for that oral complaint about unfair wage and hour practices at work is protected under the law.
- The New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act
Effective on April 9, 2011, this law mandates that New York State employers give written notice of wage rates to all employees by February 1 of each year. The notice must include the rate(s) of pay, including overtime rate of pay (if applicable); how the employee is paid; the regular payday, and any allowances, such as meal deductions the employer is taking.
Any employers who are not in compliance with this new requirement face strict penalties for non-compliance.
- Changes to the Hospitality Wage Order
New York State made significant changes to the wage order governing the restaurant industry. Chief among the changes include permit restaurants to mandate tip pooling amongst employees, which previously had to be an employee-initiated decision. The wage order also seeks to clarify rules governing service charges for banquets and large parties, by making employers disclose to its customers if these charges are not going to their employees as a gratuity.
The wage order also expanded Spread of Hours pay to all non-exempt employees, not just those paid at or near the minimum wage. Under New York state law, employers must pay employees a “spread of hours” pay of one additional hour of pay at the New York State minimum wage (currently $7.25) for all workdays that exceed 10 hours in length.
- Oral Complaints Are Protected Activity Under the FLSA
The United States Department of Labor has issued a fact sheet stating that oral complaints are protected activity under the Fair Labor Standards Act anti-retaliation provisions. This follows the decision of the US Supreme Court in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., which held that an oral complaint regarding pay practices was considered protected activity under the FLSA. Section 15(a)(3) of the FLSA states that it is a violation for any employer to discharge or discriminate against any employee for filing any complaint or participating in any proceeding related to possible violations of the FLSA. As a result, employee complaints do not just need to be in writing to be considered protected activity-oral complaints are protected too.