When you get hired for a job, the terms of your employment are supposed to be laid out for you before you agree to be hired. This includes your benefits, your hours, your vacation and sick days, and of course, your wages. However, not every employer will stick to their end of the bargain. Some will choose not to pay overtime or will refuse to pay for all the hours you worked, or they’ll deny you sick days or vacation days that you’re entitled to. Some will refuse to pay you your last paycheck when you leave, and some may “forget” to pay you at all.
Collectively, this phenomenon is called “wage theft,” and according to a 2014 article in Deseret National News, it costs workers anywhere between $40 billion and $60 billion every year. On average, wage theft costs about 15% of each affected employee’s income, resulting in economic hardship for those victimized by their employers, especially for those who may already be struggling to meet the cost of living. Meanwhile, employers who engage in these unethical and illegal practices reap the benefits, stealing from their own employees to pad their bottom line.
The problem is particularly bad for low wage workers (and especially undocumented laborers), who often lack alternative employment opportunities and have a high risk of suffering retaliation for complaining about wage theft. Nevertheless, this is money and benefits that workers are legally entitled to, and employers are breaking the law by refusing to pay what they should. Also, it’s worth remembering that if you have personally been the victim of wage theft, your fellow employees may have also been affected as well, so you do not need to be alone in your fight for fair pay.
If you are seeking to file an employee wage and hour dispute against your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf during the legal process. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer who has considerable experience in handling the many aspects of employee wage and hour disputes, including overtime, tips and gratuities, minimum wage, unemployment benefits, and disability matters. To schedule a consultation with New York City employment lawyer Steve Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.