According to a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, employers can average hours worked throughout the week in an effort to comply with minimum wage rules. Similar rulings have been issued by the 2nd Circuit, which covers New York state. The ruling was issued in a case involving two Xerox employees who performed varying tasks with no set pay rate for some tasks.
A decision that will apply to New York employers found that cumulative liquidated damages may not be awarded to plaintiffs when the same conduct violates several wage and hour laws. This means that employers will not face the potential for being assessed triple damages for wage and hour violations. However, it is best for companies to take steps to ensure that they are complying with the wage and hour laws so that they can protect themselves.
As a business owner or entrepreneur in New York, you may benefit from assigning work to independent contractors. These self-employed individuals could save you money on payroll taxes and act flexibly as the workflow rises and falls. Care must be taken, however, to avoid treating someone as an independent contractor when the relationship might actually meet the definition of an employer and employee. That status could trigger additional labor laws and financial obligations. The legal determination of the work relationship depends in large part on the amount of control that you exert over the person's job.
If employees exceed the weekly hour limit imposed by the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers may be responsible for providing workers with overtime pay. It is important to point out that independent contractors in New York state are not eligible for overtime time. Farm workers, taxi cab drivers and those who work on commission may also be exempt from receiving such pay. Finally, salaried workers who make more than $455 a week are generally not entitled to overtime.
Employers in New York must take care to observe the Fair Labor Standards Act. Failing to do so can be an expensive error. In 2017, Walgreens, TGI Fridays and MetLife paid out millions of dollars in claims related to failing to pay wages properly. Their violations included misclassifying employees and overtime violations.
The restaurant industry has to regularly deal with legal action involving the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, there has been an uptick in litigation related to the 80/20 rule as it applies to how job duties are defined. The FLSA states that employers in New York and other states must pay tipped employees minimum wage for non-tipped work they do that can be counted as another job in addition to their normal duties.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has rules that New York and other employers must follow when hiring workers who are under the age of 18. For the most part, minors are entitled to a minimum wage and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers are also limited in the types of work that they can have minors do. For instance, those who are 16 or 17-years-old cannot work as coal miners or firefighters.
The Fair Labor Standards Act says that New York employers must generally pay nonexempt workers for time spent traveling. For example, if someone travels overnight to another city for business purposes, that person may be entitled to be paid for work done on the trip. Employers may also need to pay a worker for time spent waiting at an airport. However, employers don't need to pay workers for time spent on the plane unless work is being done.
According to Justice Neil Gorsuch, the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act takes precedence over the National Labor Relations Act. This was part of a majority Supreme Court decision that could impact companies in New York and throughout the country. What the opinion means is that employers can't face class-action lawsuits if they require employees to sign arbitration agreements. Instead, employees must pursue wage and hour law violation claims on their own.
Employers are generally not required to pay overtime to exempt employees or required to pay them a minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. However, employers must pay an exempt worker a full weekly salary in any week in which work is performed. This is true regardless of how many hours or days this person puts in, but workers could be docked pay if they miss work for personal reasons.