Wage and hour laws are written to protect employees and employees have become increasingly aware of their rights. In large part, the increase in employee knowledge has been due to an increase in the plaintiff’s bar that specializes in prosecuting wage and hour claims. The majority of wage and hour claims that are brought are brought against small to medium sized employers who typically do not have an in house staff of legal counsel to monitor wage and hour compliance. Of particular importance is the fact that these wage and hour lawsuits are brought as class actions typically started by one or two employees. However, once the claims are filed the plaintiffs will usually immediately file a motion to “certify” a class action (typically under New York Labor Laws) or to “certify” a collective action (under the Fair Labor Standards Act). If the motion is granted, it allows the plaintiff to obtain a list of all potential employees in the claim that may have not been paid proper wages and send them a notice essentially offering to allow them to join in the lawsuit (or in some cases they are automatically members unless they “opt-out”). Class and collective wage and hour litigation can then quickly swell from a single plaintiff to tens or even hundreds of plaintiffs. As a result, wage and hour litigation quickly can become overwhelming to small and mid-sized employers forcing them to choose between spending money to continue to operate the business or continue spending money to defend the lawsuit.
Our attorneys understand the realities of operating a small business and can help employers develop a litigation strategy that is right for them. Some of the types of claims that KP defends against include:
- Overtime compliance
- Compliance with New York’s “spread of hours” rules
- Minimum wage compliance
- Illegal wage deductions
- Prevailing wage classification disputes
- Illegal tip deductions
The attorneys at Kushnick Pallaci PLLC represent employers in litigation involving claims of current or former employees for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Minimum Wage and Hours Act. If you are an employer and face a claim for violating these statutes, it is imperative that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Inaction can lead to crippling results, including an award of attorneys’ fees and liquidated damages on top of the wages found due.
We are mindful that complex and lengthy litigation can have a devastating impact on employers, especially small businesses, and we therefore strive to develop a cost effective plan, in conjunction with our clients, to vigorously defend these claims and bring about a swift resolution. If your business is faced with a wage and hour claim, contact us now to discuss how we can help you protect your business.