Wage and hour attorneys in New Jersey help employees who have been shorted pay, misclassified as an independent contractor or exempt employee, or otherwise experienced an issue with their paychecks that violated wage and hour laws. It is illegal to try to use employee pay as a method to save money on taxes or other expenses. For the past 25 years, the experienced attorney at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped victims of wage and hour violations receive the compensation they deserve.
Wage and hour violations in New Jersey exist when an employer is not paying an employee minimum wage, misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor, denying payment of overtime to employees working over 40 hours per week, and finding other ways to cut employee pay and expenses to save money. These actions are illegal and should never be tolerated.
Both federal and state laws protect New Jersey employees from wage and hour violations. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees must be paid for all time worked, paid overtime rates, receive no less than minimum wage, and receive proper recordkeeping of all their hours worked and pay.
New Jersey has a state law known as the Wage & Hour Law. This law provides the same protections as the FSLA and sets New Jersey’s minimum wage at $10 per hour for most employees as of July 2019.
Wage and hour violations can include several issues that relate to employee pay and benefits eligibility. Some examples of these violations may include:
- Not paying a tipped employee the difference between the tip minimum wage and the actual minimum wage if their tips do not cover the difference
- Not paying a tipped employee their base pay of the tip minimum wage
- Forcing tipped employees to pool their tips with non-tipped employees
- Deducting fees from an employees pay without legal authorization to do so
- Paying an employee under the table
- Classifying an employee as an independent contractor
- Paying an employee less than $913 per week and denying them overtime pay
- Refusing to pay overtime to a non-exempt employee
- Paying an employee less than New Jersey’s minimum wage
- Refusing to pay an employee for putting on or taking off essential hazard equipment
- Forcing an employee to finish a task or assignment off the clock
- Offering to provide compensation that is not overtime pay for time worked over 40 hours per week
- Refusing to provide an employee a final paycheck for hours he or she worked prior to his or her last day on the job
- Forcing an employee to buy his or her own uniform
- Refusal to pay commissions as promised
- Failure to pay an employee for his or her time in employer-mandated meetings or training
- Forcing an employee under 18 years of age to work overtime hours
- Shaving time off an employee’s hours worked within the week
- Refusing to provide an employee with an accurate paystub
- Retaliation for filing a wage and hour claim
Not everyone is entitled to protections under wage and hour laws. In New Jersey, there are several categories of employees that are not provided minimum wage or overtime protections. These include:
- Full-time students employed by the college or university at which they are enrolled
- Learned Professionals
- Outside salespersons
- Persons working as companions for the elderly or sick individuals
- Persons under age 18, with some exceptions
- Volunteers or apprentices for charitable, religious, or educational organizations
- Members of religious orders (e.g. priests, nuns, monks, rabbis)
- Student learners enrolled in a School-To-Work program
- Employees of a summer camp
- Seasonal amusement and boardwalk employees
- Library employees
If you are filing a claim under New Jersey’s Wage & Hour Law, you have a time limit of 6 years to file a complaint with the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL). The NJDOL will investigate to determine that the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance has the right to proceed over the case.
Under the FSLA, you have 2 years to file a complaint with eth Department of Labor or 3 years if it can be proved that the employer acted intentionally.
When you are the victim of wage and hour violations in New Jersey, you want to receive relief for working for less than what you rightfully are owed. Here are some remedies available through the courts for wage and hour violations:
- Reinstatement of your position and benefits
- Reimbursement of benefit premiums
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
In addition, if the NJDOL does not think you have a case for the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance, you will still be able to receive owed wages up to $30,000. Anything over $30,000 in these cases is forfeited.
Wage and hour cases in New Jersey can take anywhere from 30 days to a few months or even a year. If the case is filed with the NJCOL, the case may take 30 days to 6 months or more to investigate, depending on the details of the case and the evidence available.
If the lawsuit is filed in court, the employer may be willing to negotiate a fair settlement before it reaches trial. If this is the case, the lawsuit will be over within 4 to 6 months. If the employer insists on going to trial, the case may not settle for a year or more, depending on the complexity of the case.
If you have been the victim of wage and hour violations, you may be wondering how to proceed and whether you want to go through the process. This is understandable and can be a big decision. However, here are some things you can do immediately while you make your decision.
- Contact a New Jersey wage and hour attorney immediately.
- If you have not been terminated do not quit your job.
- Report your wage and hour concern to HR in writing
- Gather evidence to help your case. Keep track of emails, paystubs, text messages. Document when you arrived at work and when you left work. Take pictures of the time clock as you punch in and out. Take screenshots of your computer as you start and end the day. Anything that can give a date and time you started and ended work would be great evidence.
- Do not waste time. Yes, you have time to make your decision, but that time goes quickly. Make sure you do not wait too long before you decide to make a claim.
Employees work hard and are entitled to proper compensation for their efforts. No employee should need to worry if their paycheck is going to be shorted because their employer is trying to save money wherever he can. And no employee should be denied benefits because he or she is incorrectly classified. If you are the victim of wage and hour violation in New Jersey, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (973) 388-8625 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.