You might have heard your colleagues or seniors talking about being silent in wage and hour disputes! Why do they say that? Isn’t remaining silent further encourage your employer to violate your rights and the law?
Wage and hour disputes are complicated and sensitive matters which should be handled with care, or else things can backfire.
Are you planning to raise a wage and hour dispute over a violation? Here’s how you can hold your tongue in such matters and still get the justice you deserve. This article has everything you need to know about these disputes and how to handle them in a subtle manner.
What are Wage and Hour Disputes?
Wage and hour disputes refer to any disagreement between employees and employers over issues related to pay and working hours. Such disputes often arise when the employees think that they are not paid properly, or the employer is not allowing the leaves they are entitled to receive. And when employees raise these issues, it is known as a wage and hour dispute.
Below are some examples of wage and hour disputes to help you delve deeper into the concept. When you know what these disputes are, you can handle them proactively by talking to your manager or HR.
Examples of Wage Disputes
The non-exempt employees in New York are entitled to overtime wages for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Employers must pay time and a half for any overtime hours.
Some disputes arise when employers fail to pay employees for overtime hours they have worked or mis-classify employees as exempt from York State minimum wage.
Failure to Pay a Minimum Wage
All employers operating in NY are required to pay their employees at least the state’s minimum wage, which is currently $14.20 per hour. The reason behind most disputes is that employers fail to pay employees the minimum wage.
Not Providing Proper Pay for Commissioned Salespeople
According to employment and labor laws such as the federal fair labor standards act, salespeople who are paid on commission must be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked, including time spent on tasks such as training, paperwork, and other non-sales activities.
Generally, employers violate laws and exploit salespeople treating them as independent contractors, which is another reason behind wage disputes.
Examples of Hour Disputes
Unpaid Break Time
The state law required employers to provide their employees with a certain amount of paid or unpaid break time during the workday.
When employers deliberately do not provide employees with the required break time or do not pay them for the break time they provide, hour issues arise.
Mis-classifying Employees as Exempt from Overtime Pay
Sometimes employers mis-classify employees as exempt from overtime pay in order to avoid paying them time and a half for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. This is illegal and can lead to disputes.
Miscalculating Regular Rate of Pay for Non-Exempt Employees
Hour disputes also arise when employers fail to calculate the regular rate of pay for non-exempt employees, which is used to determine the amount of overtime pay they are entitled to.
Docking Pay for Small Amounts of Time Off
The New York labor laws prohibit employers from docking pay of employees for small amounts of time off, such as a few minutes or hours. Wage and hour issues may also arise in such cases.
These are only a handful of examples of why wage and hour disputes arise in organizations. No matter the reason behind the dispute, it’s important to handle everything properly with the help of a reputable New York attorney.
Call Levine & Blit at 866-351-0116 for any type of wage and hour-related disputes. We understand the sensitivity of such cases and can help you negotiate with your manager or HR. You can even file a lawsuit with us if things don’t get settled during negotiation.
Why Wage and Hour Disputes Often Get Heated
Wage and hour disputes often involve issues of fairness and financial stability for the employees involved. When you feel you are not being paid fairly or are not receiving the benefits and compensation you are entitled to, it is natural to feel frustrated and angry.
These disputes can also be financially consequential, as you may depend on your wages and benefits for your livelihoods.
Additionally, disputes over working hours can be particularly heated because, at a certain stage, you may feel that you are being taken advantage of or mistreated by the employer.
Furthermore, the legal process of resolving wage and hour disputes can also be stressful and time-consuming for both you and the employer. This can lead to a sense of urgency and frustration on both sides.
Such disputes can be emotionally draining, which can contribute to the heat of the dispute. So it’s essential to take things gently when raising a wage and hour dispute.
Why is it Important to Watch What You Say When Disputing Your Wages and Hours with Your Employer?
Your first point of contact or POC should be your manager or HR, as they should know about the wage and hour violations going around in the company. When you speak in a calm, professional, and respectful manner, it can help maintain a positive relationship with your employer and increase the chances of reaching a mutually beneficial resolution.
Here are a few reasons why it’s important to be mindful of how you communicate:
- Accusations or aggressive language can put your employer on the defensive and make it less likely that they will be willing to listen and understand your concerns and work towards a resolution.
- The use of profanity or abusive language can damage your professional reputation and make it difficult for you to maintain a positive professional reputation.
- Whatever you say can be used against you if you chose to take your concerns to a lawyer and seek a case.
- The more heated and escalated a dispute gets, usually means the more costly it becomes for both parties involved.
Additionally, when disputing your wages and hours, it is important to have a clear understanding of the laws and regulations that apply to your situation, as well as any relevant company policies or procedures.
This knowledge will help you to present your concerns in a clear and logical manner, which in turn can increase the chances of a successful resolution.
It’s also important to be aware that anything you say can be used against you in a legal proceeding. So it’s always best to be as specific and factual as possible and avoid making statements that can’t be supported by evidence.
Check Your Contract! What Have You Signed Up To?
According to labor laws, a contract is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of your employment, including the pay and benefits you are entitled to and the working hours you are expected to comply with.
By reviewing your contract, you can clearly understand what you have agreed to and what your rights and obligations are. A general employment contract includes the following things:
Pay and Benefits
Your contract specifies your base salary or hourly wage, as well as any commission, bonuses, or other forms of compensation you are eligible for. It also includes any benefits you are entitled to, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.
Go through the contract and ensure you are receiving all benefits as promised by the employer. Note down anything you think is not paid to you to highlight issues like minimum wage violations.
If the dispute is over working hours, then you will find your regular working hours, as well as any overtime or flexible working arrangements you have agreed to in the contract. The contract also outlines any overtime rules or policies regarding breaks and meal periods.
Termination and Severability
Your contract covers information about how your employment can be terminated and whether there are any severability provisions that may affect your rights. If you have been laid off, pay attention to this section before you talk to HR, and raise a dispute.
Your contract may include information about how disputes will be resolved, including the use of arbitration or mediation. If your contract outlines that you can opt for mediation, speak to your HR about the same, and hire an attorney to represent you in court.
By going through your contract, you can understand what you have agreed to, and if the employer is offering the benefits you are entitled to receive. In some cases, the wage and hour disputes come to a resolution after the employees review their employment agreement and discuss the confusion with the employer.
Finding it difficult to understand the terms of your contract? Have you signed an NDA (non-disclosure agreement)? Contact Levine & Blit to understand your contract better. We’ll even help you determine if there is a violation of the contract and the action you can take to protect your rights.
Do You Have Evidence to Support Your Claims?
When disputing your wage and hour claims with your manager or HR, it is important to have evidence to support claims. Since the burden of proof is on you, it’s a must to provide ample and relevant evidence to prove how the violation occurred and how it affected you.
With evidence, you can also demonstrate that you have a valid concern and that you have taken the appropriate steps to address it. Without evidence, it can be difficult for your employer to take your concerns seriously.
The evidence that you can gather and present includes the following:
- Timesheets or other records of the hours you have worked, including any overtime hours.
- Pay stubs or other records of the pay you have received.
- Emails, text messages, or other forms of communication with your employer regarding your pay and hours. (in New York, it is illegal to record someone’s conversation without their consent, so you should let your employer know about it).
- Copies of company policies or procedures regarding pay and hours.
- Testimony from other employees or witnesses who can support your claims.
- Video or image evidence of you at work with time stamps.
- Evidence of any damages you have suffered as a result of the dispute.
Why You Should Hire a New York Lawyer for Wage and Hour Disputes
Now that you know, wage and hour disputes are sensitive and can get heated up quickly if not dealt with appropriately. And when it comes to dealing with such disputes, you can rely on attorneys. Here are some reasons why appointing a labor law attorney is essential when raising such disputes:
They have Legal Expertise in Such Matters
Employment lawyers specializing in labor laws, such as federal minimum wage laws, have a thorough understanding of the regulations that apply to wage and hour disputes. An attorney can provide you guidance on the specific laws and regulations that apply to your situation, as well as help you to understand your rights and obligations as an employee.
They Represent You in Court
If the dispute escalates to a legal proceeding, a lawyer can represent you in court and help you to build a strong case. They can help you to gather and present evidence, cross-examine witnesses and make legal arguments on your behalf.
They Negotiate with Your Employer
Lawyers aren’t just limited to court; they also help negotiate with your employer to reach a mutually beneficial resolution. They present your concerns in a clear and logical manner and can also help you to understand your employer’s perspective and negotiate a resolution that is fair to both parties.
They Protect Your Rights
When you have employment lawyers by your side, you can rest assured that your rights as an employee are protected throughout the dispute process. Lawyers also tell you about the legal limits of what your employer can do in response to your dispute and advise you on how to protect yourself from retaliation.
Overall, having a labor law attorney in New York is indispensable when raising wage and hour disputes. At Levine & Blit, we help you gather the evidence and present your case in court. Our attorneys ensure that you receive fair compensation for the damages and that the employer stops the unethical practices against you.
What Can You Expect from a Wage and Hour Dispute When You Handle it Subtly?
When you handle wage claim disputes subtly and with the help of a legal professional, you can expect a positive outcome. After proving your claims, you can expect to recover the following things from your employer:
If your employer has failed to pay you the wages or overtime pay you are entitled to, you may be able to recover unpaid wages for the unpaid hours.
If the violation has caused any damages, such as loss of pay, you can claim them for any losses you have suffered. This may include but is not limited to lost wages, benefits, or other forms of compensation.
When your attorney proves a violation of law in court, you are awarded back pay or damages, you may also be able to claim interest on the award. However, it may vary depending on where the dispute is. For example, you might not receive the interest if the dispute ends in the negotiation stage.
If you were terminated or laid off as a result of the dispute, then you may be entitled to reinstatement. Again, this is subject to the type of dispute you have raised. If you had problems with the lost pay, and the termination was due to other reasons, you can get the damages, but reinstatement might not be possible. (Lost your job recently? Here’s how Levine and Blit can Help)
Injunctive relief is a court order that requires the employer to take a specific action. The order can require the employer to pay you, stop illegal conduct, or comply with the law.
Want to Raise a Wage and Hour Dispute? Contact Levine & Blit Today!
Do you believe you have suffered wage and hour violations in your workplace? Handle them the way we’ve explained in this article!
Levine & Blit is here to help you throughout the process of negotiating with the employer and filing a complaint. We also advise you on how to speak to HR and what evidence can help support your claims.
Hiring an attorney sooner after you’ve raised the dispute is essential, so call us at 866-351-0116 for a free case evaluation and more details about your case.