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Articles Posted in Wage and Hour Violations

State and federal wage laws protect many employees from unjust wage practices. For example, employers must pay certain employees overtime for any hours worked in excess of forty hours per week, unless the employees fall under an exemption. While in some cases, it is clear that a plaintiff seeking overtime wages falls under an exemption, in other instances, it is disputed. This was evidenced in a recent case in which a New York appellate court was called upon to rule on whether an assistant basketball coach fell under the federal wage law exemptions. If you believe your employer unjustly denied you overtime, it is in your best interest to consult a New York wage and hour attorney to discuss your rights.

Factual Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked as the coach of the women’s basketball team for the defendant community college, and as the assistant to the associate dean of physical education and athletics. The plaintiff typically worked thirty-five hours per week as the assistant to the associate dean, and during the basketball season spent thirty-five hours per week coaching as well. As the coach, he was also tasked with recruiting players and overseeing all practices and games. The plaintiff began working in both positions in 2010 but did not receive any overtime pay until 2018, during which he received overtime wages meant to compensate for overtime worked in 2017.

Reportedly, in February 2018, it was alleged that the plaintiff made a loan to a student that violated NCAA rules. The plaintiff was ultimately terminated, after which he filed a lawsuit against the defendant setting forth various claims, including claims that the defendant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing, in part, that the plaintiff fell under the FLSA overtime exemptions.

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Under state and federal law, certain employees are entitled to overtime pay. Thus, if an employer fails to pay an employee wages he or she is owed, the employee may not only be able to recover past wages but may be awarded additional damages as well. In a recent ruling, a federal district court analyzed what a plaintiff alleging her employer denied her overtime wages must prove to set forth a successful claim. If you work in New York and you believe your employer unjustly denied you wages you are owed, you should speak with a trusted New York wage and hour attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Employment

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked for the defendant company as a billing assistant. When the plaintiff was hired, she received a pay notice that listed her hourly rate. The area of the notice that listed the overtime rate was blank, however. The defendant employer calculated each employee’s weekly hours via records created by a timekeeping machine. The plaintiff was involved in a dispute with her supervisor and was ultimately fired. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting numerous claims, including the allegations that the defendant did not pay her overtime wages. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment with regards to the plaintiff’s wage and overtime claim.

Proving Wage and Hour Violations

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees are entitled to at least one and a half times their regular wage for hours worked over forty hours per week. Further, New York incorporates the FLSA’s standards into its overtime compensation scheme. Thus, in many cases, the courts will analyze allegations regarding unpaid overtime in violation of the FLSA and New York law jointly.

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Although employment in New York is generally at will, people who are members of a union may be subject to contractual agreements. Specifically, union members are often bound by collective bargaining agreements that dictate not only the terms of their employment but how any disputes must be handled. Recently, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York discussed when plaintiffs may be forced to arbitrate a wage claim pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. If you are a member of a union and your employer failed to pay you the compensation you are owed, it is advisable to speak with a dedicated New York wage and hour attorney to determine what recourse is available for your damages.

Facts Regarding the Collective Bargaining Agreement

Allegedly, the plaintiffs were employed by the defendant waste management company prior to 2015. While the plaintiffs were employed by the defendant, they were members of a union that signed a collective bargaining agreement with the defendant, with a term period of January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2015. In early December 2015, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging eight causes of action arising out of the defendant’s failure to pay the plaintiffs wages they were owed.

Reportedly, in December 2015, after the plaintiffs had terminated their agreement with the defendant, the union executed a memorandum extending the previous collective bargaining agreement until December 31, 2015. In December 2016, a second memorandum agreement was signed that modified the grievance procedure of the agreement by including an arbitration clause. The defendant then filed a motion to compel arbitration based on the terms of the second memorandum. The plaintiffs opposed the motion on the grounds they were no longer employees and therefore were no longer subject to the agreement.

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In New York, state and federal laws protect employees from unfair wage practices, such as inadequate pay, and require employers to provide employees with hour and wage notices and wage statements. Similarly, the laws protect employees from retaliation for reporting wage violations. Thus, employees harmed by their employers’ inappropriate wage practices may be able to seek recourse in the civil courts. Recently, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York discussed what a plaintiff alleging retaliation for reporting unfair wage practices must show to recover damages in a wage violation case.  If your employer denied you the compensation you are owed, you should meet with a skillful New York wage and hour attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Employment

Allegedly, the plaintiff was employed as a maintenance repair worker by the defendant employer, from July 2013 through February 2018. He was paid a fixed salary throughout the duration of his employment. The plaintiff worked sixty-two hours per week and was required to work without lunch breaks. He also worked ten or more hours a day without receiving spread of hours compensation on the days he was on call and was not provided wage statements or hour and wage notices. He complained regarding the fact that he was underpaid on several occasions, including to his direct supervisor, but no remedial actions were taken. The plaintiff was subsequently terminated. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging violations of the New York Labor Law (NYLL) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and asserting retaliation claims. In response, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to plead retaliation adequately.

Retaliation Claims Under the FLSA and NYLL

Pursuant to the FLSA, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee due to the fact that the employee filed a complaint under the FLSA. A plaintiff that alleges retaliation under the FLSA must show that he or she engaged in a protected activity, like filing an FLSA complaint, that the employer then took action that harmed the plaintiff, and a causal connection between the harmful action and the protected activity.

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