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Showing posts with label employer wage theft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label employer wage theft. Show all posts

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Will NY Governor Hochul End the Employer Wage Theft Loophole?

One of the first decisions that Governor Hochul will likely have when she is sworn in should be relatively simple. 


The new Governor should sign S858, which was delivered to the Governor on August 9, 2021, and which amends Labor Law 193 to stop employers from utilizing a narrow definition of deductions to steal wages. The amendment states "THERE IS NO EXCEPTION TO LIABILITY UNDER THIS SECTION FOR THE UNAUTHORIZED FAILURE TO PAY WAGES, BENEFITS OR WAGE SUPPLEMENTS."


As background, the Labor Law authorizes employees to sue to recover "unpaid wages, attorney's fees, and in many cases liquidated damages" for violations of Article 6 of the Labor Law. However, oddly enough, Article 6 does not contain any express obligation to pay wages. Rather, the Labor Law requires timely payment of minimum wage overtime, etc. Employees have used Section 193 ("Deductions from Wages") to try to recover for an employer's complete failure to pay wages with mixed results because Section 193 applies to unlawful deductions from wages, not a failure to pay full wages or an employer, for example, unilaterally reducing an employee's wages for a given pay period for poor performance (not technically considered a "deduction"). Employees, thus, are often left to proceed under a cause of action for breach of contract, which does not permit recovery of liquidated damages and attorneys fees. This new proposed law, which the new Governor should sign, clears up any confusion by clarifying that any non-payment is a deduction and damages are recoverable, including attorneys' fees.


According to the Bill's justification, "employees must be paid what they are owed, no matter what."


If you haven't been paid, you have 6 years under the Labor Law to pursue your wages.


Have you been paid everything that you are owed? If not, you should contact an employment attorney.