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New York City has a notably business-centric culture. It's well known for its sprawling city streets teeming with commerce and opportunity, the financial prowess of Wall Street and restaurants and diners filled with service workers trying to make an honest living.
New York City highlights the many employment and labor law issues that plague the rest of the state. In fact, the Empire State has the fourth-highest number of Fair Labor Standards Act wage and hour violations in the nation, notably concerning tipped workers' rights to wages and tips.
Employment law covers a multitude of topics, including worker's compensation, workplace discrimination, vacation and overtime, unemployment benefits and more. Your employment dispute is often affected by federal, state and local laws simultaneously. New York employment law attorneys are experienced with the delicacy and complexity of work-related cases and can help protect your rights as a worker or employer.
A notable New York employment law issue involves discrimination via an applicant's criminal history. Despite being illegal under New York law, employers still attempt to dismiss applicants due to a criminal record.
Several states are taking steps to close this legal loophole, including passing legislation known as "Ban the Box" bills that penalize employers. ("Ban the Box" refers to the check box on job applications that asks if an applicant was convicted of a felony.) Most "Ban the Box" legislation aims to require employers to inquire about an applicant's criminal history later in the application or interview process.
While New York hasn't adopted a statewide "Ban the Box" law yet, Buffalo, Rochester and New York City have passed such laws.
New York doesn't have a statewide minimum wage. Rather, it has four different minimum wages dependent upon where you work and the size of the employer. As of January 2017, these are the minimum wages in New York:
A new state law that was approved in March 2016 will steadily raise the statewide minimum wage to $15.00/hour by 2021. Different areas will experience different rates of annual wage increase, as evident in the wage disparity above.
Workers who earn tips as a source of income from their jobs typically earn a lower minimum wage from their employer than other workers, which is then compensated by tips.
In New York, employers in any industry (except for building services) can meet the minimum wage by paying their employees a cash wage plus a tip credit or allowance. For instance, a diner waitress in Long Island can be paid a $7.50/hour cash wage and may earn a minimum of $2.50/hour in tips for an employer to meet Long Island's $10.00/hour minimum wage.
The minimum cash wages and tip allowances/credits employers must account for differ per industry, area and company size. Use New York's Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers Fact Sheet to find out how much your employer should be paying you and how much you can make in tips where you work.
If you or a loved one is involved in an employment law dispute, it's in your best interests to consult with an attorney. Employment law is a broad, complicated legal area with federal and state laws at play. An experienced employment law attorney can help protect your legal rights.
Have you been discriminated against by a potential or current employer -- as a job applicant or current employee? To best protect your legal rights you should discuss your situation with an employment lawyer. Meet with a local employment attorney sooner rather than later to protect your rights.